Under the radar: Stanford

We're continuing with our under the radar series.

The idea is to pick out a player who is not a big name but who may be underrated. Or, at least, a guy who will need to step up and play a critical role in 2012.

We're going in reverse alphabetical order.

Stanford: RB Ricky Seale

2011 production: Carried the ball six times for 23 yards and caught one ball for 3 yards. Not a wealth of on-field time.

Making the case for Seale: Fun fact: In 2008, Seale set the San Diego County single-season record for rushing yards in the last game of the season (San Diego's Division I title game). A week later, Tyler Gaffney broke Seale’s record because his team qualified for a state bowl game. In other words two of the state’s best backs that year ended up at Stanford. One has found a niche as a change-of-pace/Wildcat back. That would be Gaffney. Seale hasn’t found his place yet -- until, maybe, now.

Head coach David Shaw has been pumping up Seale for having an outstanding spring session. His exact words describing Seale: "We found out that our fourth back is good enough to start at a lot of places." Obviously, no one expects him to unseat Stepfan Taylor as the Cardinal’s primary back. Taylor is a back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher and the catalyst for Stanford’s power-run, pro-style offense. But Seale could start to steal more and more carries if he performs like he did during the spring. We saw last year that Gaffney performed well and supplanted Anthony Wilkerson as first back off the bench. There is no reason to believe that if Seale is performing, he could work his way up the food chain and be the third -- or maybe even second -- back in a very talented rotation. Seale brings explosiveness and vision. He’s a more slippery back than the others. Who knows? He could get six carries all year. Or 60. That’s what makes him under the radar.