NCAA Football Stanford Cardinal

Stanford Football: 5 Players Headed For Breakout 2014 Seasons

5 Stanford Football Players Headed For Breakout 2014 Season

Jordan Richards Stanford Cardinal
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The Stanford Cardinal have won the last two Pac-12 titles and finished the BCS era with four consecutive BCS bowl berths. However, in 2014 the Cardinal are only returning a total of 12 returning starters. What this means is there will be ample opportunity for new starters to shine. Here are five players on the Cardinal headed for a breakout season.

5. SS Jordan Richards

Jordan Richards Stanford Football
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5. SS Jordan Richards

Jordan Richards Stanford Football
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In 2013 Richards received honorable mention All Pac-12 honors and was the Cardinal’s fourth leading tackler with 69 tackles. He also had three interceptions and three pass breakups. In 2014 Richards will be the undisputed leader of this unit and the anchor in the secondary. Look for him to make first Team All Pac-12 this season and to really make a name for himself.

4. LB AJ Tarpley

AJ Tarpley Stanford Cardinal
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4. LB AJ Tarpley

AJ Tarpley Stanford Cardinal
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The Stanford Cardinal lost a first Team All-American linebacker in Trent Murphy and a second Team All-American linebacker in Shayne Skov. Senior linebacker AJ Tarpley will look to pick up the slack this season and make the jump from third Team All-Pac-12 to 1st or 2nd Team All-American. He certainly has the tools to do so.

3. LG Joshua Garnett

Joshua Garnett Stanford Cardinal
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3. LG Joshua Garnett

Joshua Garnett Stanford Cardinal
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The offensive line for the Cardinal only return one starter from their 2013 campaign. While that’s a lot of talent to lose, new left guard Joshua Garnett won’t have much of a problem acclimating to his new role as starter. As a junior, he has plenty of playing experience and has more than enough size to clear the way for Stanford’s vaunted running attack.

2. DE Henry Anderson

Henry Anderson Stanford Cardinal
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2. DE Henry Anderson

Henry Anderson Stanford Cardinal
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Anderson missed a lot of time last season due to injury but will be asked to do a lot this season on the defensive line. Anderson looks to boost his NFL stock in 2014 and wreak havoc on the quarterbacks of the Pac-12. When asked about Anderson, head coach David Shaw said, “Henry has been borderline unblockable for us this spring. Although we're not ready for the season, I really can't wait to turn him loose on someone else other than us.”

1. RB Barry Sanders Jr.

Barry Sanders Jr. Stanford Cardinal
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1. RB Barry Sanders Jr.

Barry Sanders Jr. Stanford Cardinal
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Barry Sanders Jr. only had five carries last season for the Stanford Cardinal. He will be their starter at the beginning of the season, and he won’t look back. Sanders is extremely elusive (not quite as elusive as his all-time great father) and shows a great deal of power at the same time. It is now Sanders Jr.'s time to show the world how good he really is. I fully expect Sanders Jr. to finish 2014 with more than 1,000 yards.

Brian Cox is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bacox87, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.