Re­turn of Costello should buoy Car­di­nal

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - SPORTS - By Tom FitzGer­ald Tom FitzGer­ald is a San Fran­cisco Chron­i­cle staff writer. Email: tfitzger­[email protected] sfchron­i­cle.com Twit­ter: @tomg fitzger­ald

K.J. Costello’s de­ci­sion to forgo the NFL draft was wel­come news for the Stan­ford foot­ball team, which faces one of the na­tion’s tough­est sched­ules next sea­son.

Just how se­ri­ously the red­shirt sopho­more quar­ter­back con­sid­ered turn­ing pro after just one full sea­son un­der his belt re­mains a mys­tery.

All he said in a tweet Wed­nes­day night was: “I look for­ward to con­tin­u­ing my ath­letic and aca­demic ca­reer at Stan­ford Uni­ver­sity. Stan­ford is a special place. I’m ex­cited to get after it with my brothers in 2019.”

He might have been tempted to go pro. By most ac­counts, this year’s draft is light on quar­ter­back tal­ent — even if Ok­la­homa’s Kyler Mur­ray, the Heis­man Tro­phy win­ner, turns pro as ex­pected. Ohio State’s Dwayne Hask­ins, a red­shirt sopho­more, is likely to be the first quar­ter­back drafted, with Mis­souri’s Drew Lock and Duke’s Daniel Jones possible first- or sec­on­dround picks.

In his first full sea­son as the starter, Costello threw for 3,540 yards and 29 touch­downs. Only Steve Sten­strom has thrown for more yards in a sea­son at Stan­ford (3,627 in 1993). An­drew Luck holds the school record for TD passes in a sea­son with 37 in 2011; he also had 32 in 2010.

Stan­ford is al­ready los­ing tail­back Bryce Love, wide re­ceivers Trent Ir­win and JJ Arcega-White­side, tight end Kaden Smith and most of its of­fen­sive line, as well as its leading tack­ler, in­side line­backer Bobby Ok­ereke.

Had Costello turned pro, the leading can­di­date at quar­ter­back would have been red­shirt fresh­man Davis Mills, who has a his­tory of knee in­juries. The only other schol­ar­ship quar­ter­backs are fresh­man Jack West and ju­nior Jack Richard­son.

Tan­ner McKee, who signed last year, is on an LDS mis­sion and won’t ar­rive un­til 2020. Stan­ford didn’t sign a quar­ter­back as part of its 2019 class.

The over­hauled of­fense will be sternly tested by one of the tough­est sched­ules in the coun­try. In ad­di­tion to ex­pected Pac-12 North con­tenders Wash­ing­ton and Ore­gon, the Car­di­nal will face heavy­weights Notre Dame, North­west­ern and Cen­tral Florida. Notre Dame made the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off semi­fi­nals; North­west­ern reached the Big Ten ti­tle game, and UCF has gone un­de­feated in the past two reg­u­lar sea­sons.

Here’s an early look at how the rest of the 2019 Stan­ford ros­ter shapes up:

Run­ning backs: Cameron Scar­lett is ex­pected to start, although he’ll get stiff com­pe­ti­tion from Trevor Speights and Do­rian Mad­dox. Austin Jones (Bishop O’DowdOak­land) very well might join the mix as a fresh­man. Hous­ton Heimuli is the most ex­pe­ri­enced full­back.

Wide re­ceivers: At this point, the likely starters are Michael Wil­son and Con­nor Wed­ing­ton, who red­shirted in 2018 be­cause an in­jury lim­ited him to four games. Osiris St. Brown and 6-foot-4 Simi Fe­hoko will see plenty of ac­tion, and Eli­jah Hig­gins and Colby Bow­man might play as fresh­men.

Tight ends: Colby Parkin­son should be an All-Amer­ica can­di­date and Scooter Har­ring­ton and Tucker Fisk will be back, mainly as block­ers. Taeveon Le, a red­shirt fresh­man, and in­com­ing Bradley Archer (Liver­more) will pro­vide depth.

Of­fen­sive line: Start­ing left tackle Walker Lit­tle re­turns, along with Foster Sarell (lim­ited to three games in an in­jury­ham­pered sea­son) and Dev­ery Hamil­ton, both of whom can play guard or tackle. Cen­ter Drew Dal­man and guard Dy­lan Pow­ell are also in the mix to start, and in­com­ing tackle Wal­ter Rouse also could be in the run­ning.

De­fen­sive line: Thomas Booker, named the top line­man as a fresh­man in last month’s Sun Bowl, will lead a pack that in­cludes Michael Wil­liams, Jo­van Swann and an­other fresh­man, An­dres Fox. In­com­ing Stephen Her­ron Jr. and Joshua Pakola (St. Fran­cis) might play im­me­di­ately.

Lineback­ers: With­out Ok­ereke and pos­si­bly Sean Bar­ton, who might

Be­sides K.J. Costello’s re­turn, there was more good news for Stan­ford this week: Five-star of­fen­sive tackle Myles Hin­ton an­nounced he ver­bally com­mit­ted to join the 2020 in­com­ing class.

He missed most of his ju­nior sea­son at Greater At­lanta Chris­tian High School in Nor­cross, Ga., be­cause of a shoul­der in­jury. He started as a 14-year-old fresh­man, when he pro­tected the blind side of quar­ter­back Davis Mills, now a red­shirt fresh­man at Stan­ford.

In the fu­ture, Hin­ton (6-foot-6, 310 pounds) might be block­ing for Mills again. Hin­ton is ex­pected to com­pete for a start­ing job soon after he ar­rives.

His older brother, Christo­pher, is a five-star de­fen­sive tackle who has signed with Michi­gan for next fall. The Wolver­ines were Myles’ other fi­nal­ist. He also had of­fers from Alabama, Ge­or­gia, Florida, Mi­ami, Ohio State, Ok­la­homa and USC, among many oth­ers.

Their fa­ther, Chris Hin­ton, played 13 years in the NFL as an of­fen­sive line­man, mainly with In­di­anapo­lis. He was drafted by Den­ver with the fourth over­all pick in 1983 and quickly was traded to the Colts as part of a deal for Stan­ford QB John El­way.

“Myles’ potential is un­lim­ited,” his high school coach, Tim Hardy, told The Chron­i­cle. “He’s a clas­sic of­fen­sive tackle: long arms, huge frame, out­stand­ing feet, a lot of room for growth. He was a state cham­pion in the dis­cus, and he’s just fig­ur­ing it out.

“He’s re­ally a re­nais­sance man. He’s an ac­com­plished artist. His sketches and draw­ings are on dis­play at the civil rights mu­seum in At­lanta. He’s an avid fish­er­man. He’s a young man with a va­ri­ety of in­ter­ests. He wants to ma­jor in hu­man bi­ol­ogy. He’s a perfect fit for Stan­ford.” not come back, the starters on the in­side fig­ure to be red­shirt fresh­men Ja­cob Mangum-Far­rar and Ricky Miezan, with con­verted safety An­drew Pryts as a backup. The out­side group is in much bet­ter shape with Casey Toohill, Jordan Fox and Gabe Reid re­turn­ing and Cur­tis Robin­son and maybe Tris­tan Sin­clair (San Ra­mon Val­ley-Danville) pro­vid­ing depth.

Sec­ondary: Cor­ner­back Paul­son Adebo made the FWAA All-Amer­ica sec­ond team as a fresh­man. The other start­ing cor­ner is likely to be Obi Eboh, although Ethan Bon­ner, Ken­dall Wil­liamson and Treyjohn But­ler will be con­tenders there, unless some­body is moved to safety. In­com­ing

— Tom FitzGer­ald Salim Turner-Muham­mad could be the next Adebo. Safeties Frank Bun­com and Ma­lik An­toine are back, along with pos­si­bly Ben Ed­wards, who played just three games be­cause of in­juries.

Kicker/punter: Jake Bai­ley, the lead-footed punter and kick­off man ex­traor­di­naire, will be gone. Jet Toner, an ac­cu­rate field-goal kicker, might add kick­off du­ties, although new­comer Ryan San­born could be an­other Bai­ley as a punter and touch­back-ma­chine on kick­offs.

Tony Ave­lar / As­so­ci­ated Press 2018

K.J. Costello threw for 3,540 yards and 29 touch­downs in his first full sea­son as Stan­ford’s start­ing quar­ter­back.

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