2012 captains announced

Linebacker Chase Thomas, running back Stepfan Taylor and center Sam Schwartzstein will serve as Stanford's captains in 2012, the school announced over the weekend.

The trio was selected by a vote from teammates.

All three are seniors and are considered premier playmakers at their positions around the conference and nationally.

Thomas led the Pac-12 in tackles for a loss in 2011 and is considered by many to be the top senior outside linebacker in the country.

Taylor is a back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher and will likely be the centerpiece of the offense while the Cardinal continue to break in a new quarterback.

Schwartzstein, who is on the Rimington Trophy watchlist for the nation's top center, is widely regarded by his teammates as having the best knowledge of the playbook.

The Cardinal open 2012 ranked No. 21 in the AP Top 25 and No. 18 in the coaches' poll. They kickoff the season on Aug. 31 -- the first ever Friday night game for the school -- at 7 p.m. vs. San Jose State in the Bill Walsh Legacy Game.