The Stanford Cardinal make an appearance at number 23 in the Franchise Top 25 Countdown.
There will be a lot of fresh faces in the starting lineup for David Shaw this season, as his team returns just nine starters from last year’s team.
The offense will lean on quarterback KJ Costello, who is entering his second season as the full time starter.
Costello had a solid season last year, passing for 3,540 yards and completing 65.1 percent of his passes, despite offensive linchpin Bryce Love being banged up a majority of the year in 2018.
After Costello, the offense will have a lot of growing to do during the season.
Stanford lost their three most productive wide receivers from last season, and will likely look toward a slew of underclassmen to replace their production.
Tight end Colby Parkinson returns and will likely be Costello’s most reliable weapon this season.
The Stanford Cardinal take the 23 spot in the the Franchise Top 25 countdown. https://t.co/TUl3oPTdYf
— The Franchise Sports (@FranchiseOK) July 24, 2019
The Cardinal will have to replace three starters up front, but they return their first team all Pac 12 tackle Walker Little, who will protect Costello’s blind side.
Three starters on the defensive line return this season, and will likely anchor the defense early in the season while players at the other two levels gain game experience.
Two starting defensive backs will also return from last season, centered around second team All-American corner selection Paulson Adebo.
There is reason to be optimistic for this young Stanford squad, as David Shaw has continued to recruit at a high level to replace the outgoing production.
A major roadblock for Stanford will be the Cardinal’s schedule. On paper, it will be one of the most difficult schedules in the country.
The non-conference schedule features contests against Northwestern and Notre Dame, as well as a trip to UCF. All three of Stanford’s non-conference opponents make an appearance in the Franchise Top 25.
Stanford also will travel to Los Angeles to visit USC in the second week of the season.
The bright spot in the Cardinal schedule is they will host both Oregon and Washington, who look to be Stanford’s biggest competition in the Pac 12 North.
Regardless, the first six games for the Cardinal shape up to be a brutal stretch. They will play Northwestern, USC, UCF, Oregon and Washington all before their week seven bye.
Catch up on the rest of the Franchise Top 25: