Luck headlines impressive Stanford combine class


Luck headlines impressive Stanford combine class

This week, NFL hopefuls will take the field in Indianapolis to prove there mettle amongst some of the best college football players in the nation in the 2012 NFL scouting combine.
RELATED: 2012 NFL scouting combine invitees

Stanford University will be well represented with six invitees.

RELATED: Six Bears take center stage at NFL combine

Andrew LuckHometown: Houston, TX
High School: Stratford HS
Height Weight: 6-4 235
Position: QB
Age: 22

Andrew Luck is the two-time Heisman Trophy runner up, and he is the consensus No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

His storied Stanford career places him high on the list of great Cardinal quarterbacks. He is the author of many school records, including most touchdown passes (82), most total offense (10,387 yards), most wins by a QB (31), highest winning percentage (.816) to name a few.

Luck's long list of personal awards is higlighted by twice being named to the College All-America Team. Other accolades include the 2011 Maxwell Award as Player of the Year, the 2011 Walter Camp Player of the Year Award, the 2011 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, 2011 Academic All-America of the Year, two-time Pac 1012 Offensive Player of the Year, three-time All Pac 1012 Team.

Last year, Luck led Stanford with career-highs in completions (288), passing yards (3,517), completion percentage (71.3), and touchdowns (37).

Chris OwusuHometown: Westlake Village, CA
High School: Oaks Christian School
Height Weight: 6-2 200
Position: WR

Chris Owusu is an athlete and talented wide receiver, but the return man has been plagued with injuries.

He was limited to seven games in 2010, and played in 10 games last year after suffering multiple concussions.

Owusu has 10 career receiving touchdowns and three career return touchdowns.

Coby FleenerHometown: Lemont, IL
High School: Joliet Catholic Academy
Height Weight: 6-6 244
Position: TE

Coby Fleener's combination of size, speed, strength and athleticism make him an attractive option at the tight end position.

Fleener is coming off his best collegiate season, snagging career-highs with 34 receptions, 667 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has 18 career scores.

Fleener missed the Senior Bowl with an injured foot, and is expected to miss the combine workouts. He will still participate in the medical testing and interview process.
REPORT: Stanford's Fleener will miss drills at combine

Jonathan MartinHometown: Los Angeles, CA
High School: Harvard-Westlake School
Height Weight: 6-6 304
Position: OT

Jonathan Martin is one of the top offensive tackles in the nation and is foregoing his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

He was an Associated Press second-team All-American after last year -- his junior year of eligibility -- and a first-team All-Pac-10 selection his sophomore season.

Martin is nicknamed "The Moose," and has been since he was too big to play Pop Warner football in California back in the fifth grade.

REWIND: Stanford's 'Moose' clearing lanes
David DeCastroHometown: Bellevue, WA
High School: Bellevue HS
Height Weight: 6-5 310
Position: OG

David DeCastro was one of two returning starting lineman for the impressive Cardinal front (the other was Martin).

DeCastro is lauded as a smart and dependable player and he helped open holes for two of the highest single-season rushing totals in Stanford school history.

Delano HowellHometown: Newhall, CA
High School: Hart HS
Height Weight: 5-11 198
Position: SS

Howell began his career with Stanford as a running back in 2008, but shortly after was converted to strong safety, where he made 33 starts over the past three seasons.

Howell recorded 52 tackles in 10 games last season, but it wasn't his best year at Stanford.

In 2010, he tackled 60 ball carriers, recorded one sack, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, defended five passes and snagged five interceptions.

In his four-year career, Howell has 196 tackles, four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, 12 passes defended and seven interceptions.

Memory of the late Bob Murphy will live on the heads of those who heard him


Memory of the late Bob Murphy will live on the heads of those who heard him

Bob Murphy, who was the voice of Stanford athletics when such titles truly mattered in the Bay Area, died Tuesday after a long fight with Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 86.

Murphy was viscerally connected to the university in ways that were once in vogue across the nation but are now reserved only to the Midwest and Southeast. He was a walking ambassador for the school’s athletic history, a familiar face to the army of alums who linked to his voice and presence early and ultimately grew old with him, even when coaches and players and athletic directors came and went with unsettling frequency.

And while his time as the alternate face to Hoover Tower eventually faded, he was still Murph – to be honored and respected by all generations, even the ones who never heard him or saw him. If anyone below the age of 25 asked about him, he was spoken of with the reverence reserved for architectural structures or hundred-year-old trees. He belonged to the place, and the place belonged to him.

He mattered at Stanford, because Stanford is an insular community, watching the world outside with a palpable sense of “Thank God we’re safe in here.” He attended the school, he worked as its sports information director, and he was the radio voice who fought for Stanford when only a few people were listening. He had proven his devotion decades ago, until his devotion became part of the background noise and scenery.

And he didn’t even leave after he became ill, and then absent. Only the most successful coaches and athletes get to attain that omnipresent aura in college athletics, and in truth, Murphy reached more people in the community than any coach or player the school has ever had, simply by being at the place, and of the place, longer and more happily than anyone.

Sometime soon, we suspect, he will be remembered with a statue, either near the football stadium or near Maples Pavilion. He will be bronzed, wearing a polo shirt with the S-with-the-interlocking-tree and glasses wedged against the bridge of his nose. He will be seated, with a desk before him and microphone perched atop it, and there will be a plaque with a Wikipedia-ized list of his contributions.

But without the voice, it will be incomplete. That will have to be recreated inside the heads of those who heard it most often, and cared most what words it carried. It is there where Bob Murphy’s memory will thrive – as someone who defined Stanford in ways that no marketing campaign ever could.

David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area


David Shaw is quietly the second-best coach in the Bay Area

Steve Kerr has been the standard by which all other coaches have been measured in these parts since he arrived in Oakland – rescued as it was from the nine hells of the New York Knickerbockers. He is indeed so good that he is still getting credit for the 50 wins he actually didn’t fully merit – the 39 that belong to Luke Walton and the 11 that are Mike Brown’s.

But this is not to slag Kerr’s record – which even if you eliminate the 55 games he hasn’t coached in his three years because of his back issue is still the best in NBA history – but to remind you that David Shaw still exists, he still is supervising the golden age of Stanford football, and he is just as unavailable to pro teams as he ever was.

Shaw, whose team opens its season on Saturday night in Australia against Rice, has been beneath the radar since the day he arrived, for no better reasons than (a) the Bay Area doesn’t hold much stock in college football and (b) he likes it that way. His excellence is indisputable, but he is also in the perfect place to do his job without any of the irritants that surround most college coaches – media, embittered alumni, NCAA investigators, the late night call from the cops about your outside linebacker overturning a minivan, that kind of thing.

He has worn down all attempts to question him on his next job because, while he could get one at the snap of a finger, he was not infected with the standard coach’s ambition to see and be seen. He has seen the sport’s many excesses and has decided to ward off the ones that directly touch him.

He still believes in the game’s virtues, and can probably be considered a fairly doctrinaire figure on most issues confronting the sport and its practitioners, but does not have to pretend that he is too focused on the job to be interested in mundane things like eclipses, political turmoil, social justice and all the other noxious things that happen outside the cocoon.

But be not fooled. He likes the cocoon that is Stanford, and he has the sense to understand that the chance of a better job existing is almost infinitesimal. He may someday want something more public and lucrative, but until money and fame get a long winning streak going at his house, he’ll sit quietly, the second-best coach in the Bay Area and the first-best at making you not remember that he is just that.