December 19, 2012

Position Review: Wide Receiver

Stanford's receiving corps didn't have a banner year in 2012, but one wideout made perhaps the most important play of the Cardinal's Pac-12 championship season. Senior Drew Terrell hauled in a 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kevin Hogan on 3rd and 15 in the fourth quarter to tie the Pac-12 title game against UCLA. Stanford would later win on a Jordan Williamson field goal, but it would have been a different game if Terrell didn't find a hole in the Bruins' secondary and catch the tipped pass.

The reception capped off a career year for the Arizona native, who was clearly Stanford's best receiver in 2012. Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton said that Terrell's breakout season was the result of "tireless" effort in the offseason.

"He worked tirelessly in the offseason just to improve on his speed and quickness and it paid dividends over the course of our season," Hamilton said. "Each year we've been fortunate to have that senior wideout really step up and become an integral part of our offense. Starting in 2010 with Doug Baldwin, he kind of came out of nowhere and really stepped up and because a big-time playmaker for us in our Orange Bowl season and then last year of course Griff Whalen, he surprised a lot of folks with his production and he really was Andrew's go-to guy when it was all said and done.

"And now Drew has emerged. He's been persistent. He's one of the best receivers in the Pac-12 and arguably the best punt returner in the Pac-12."

Indeed, Terrell's consistency and productivity in the punt return game was another source of immense value for Stanford. Terrell returned one punt for a touchdown and averaged 12.6 yards a return. He also never fumbled as a returner - or came close to putting the ball on the ground.

"I think in the past three years his production has been up there with the best in the country," Hamilton said. "We've gotten to the point this season where there have been a lot of directional punts in an effort to slow his production. So he's been very effective as a punt returner and I think that you can say the special teams coordinator in our conference respect him as such."

Though Terrell (and fellow senior starter Jamal-Rashad Patterson) won't be back next year, a talented, yet unproven group of young receivers will be. The group will be led by Ty Montgomery, who didn't live up to lofty expectations in an injury-riddled sophomore season.

"He couldn't find his rhythm with the injuries," Hamilton said. "It really slowed down his progress. I would have liked to see him have an opportunity to bounce back from the Washington game. He's really been working hard to get back healthy. I expect him to be as close to full speed as he's been all year in the Rose Bowl."

Assuming health, Montgomery figures to be in line to earn a starting spot in 2013. It's a good bet that one of Stanford's current true freshman receivers will join him.

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