With some uncertainty about the pecking order in the backfield, the Stanford Cardinal figure to call on quarterback Kevin Hogan to throw the ball a bit more in 2014. Luckily for him, he has a true star at wide receiver in Ty Montgomery, who will challenge for the mantle of best receiver in the Pac-12 this season. But as good as Montgomery can be, he can’t do it alone and will need receivers like Devon Cajuste to step up and emerge as a reliable secondary pass-catching option this fall.
Cajuste is a converted tight end who brings a unique blend of size, speed, and pass-catching ability to the outside. At 6-foot-4, 229 pounds, the senior can push smaller defenders around at the line of scrimmage and sky for contested passes in traffic while still maintaining the athleticism to be virtually unguardable for opposing linebackers. Cajuste was the only Stanford player other than Montgomery last season to record more than 16 receptions as he tallied 28 catches for 642 yards and five touchdowns.
His development will be even more important for Stanford in 2014 as the team eases Montgomery back up to full speed following a reported arm injury that has kept him sidelined since the spring. Head coach David Shaw has said the team will ease Montgomery into the offense during fall camp and could keep him inactive for the season opener as a precaution. While the Cardinal likely won’t need Montgomery to deal with FCS UC Davis August 30, the need for caution when it comes to their star receiver’s health raises some questions about his durability in 2014.
That makes Cajuste all the more important, especially early in the season. If Montgomery does sit out in the opener, his first action of the season will be coming against the USC Trojans, who will boast a very good secondary. If the Trojans are able to key on a possibly rusty Montgomery and the Stanford running game is still finding its footing, Hogan will need someone he can rely on in the passing game to get open. Devon Cajuste has the ability to be a huge difference-maker in the Stanford offense this season and could be the key to the Cardinal defending their conference title.