Ashton Daniels stands shoulders above the rest at football showcase

After three consecutive 3-9 seasons, the Stanford football team is determined to return to the college football spotlight once more. All eyes are directed to the quarterback position, which head coach Troy Taylor declared was up for grabs with an open competition. But at Saturday’s Spring Showcase, one quarterback stood head and shoulders above the rest. 

Coming off a season where he threw for 2,247 yards and completed 58.8% of his passes, Ashton Daniels still had to prove a lot to secure a starting position in 2024. 

On Saturday, Daniels displayed numerous positive traits at quarterback: making quick reads, showing comfort in the pocket and threading the needle on several throws with press coverage. While Taylor didn’t provide a clear update on the competition after the showcase, Daniels’ play was clearly a notch above the others and he will be the likely starter for the Cardinal next season.

Moreover, Daniels was without his two top targets for next year. Ben Parker, publisher of CardinalSportsReport, reported that freshman receiver Tiger Bachmeier and sophomore receiver Elic Ayomanor both recently underwent surgeries. Bachmeier had a knee operation, while Ayomanor had a procedure for a sports hernia. Both will likely be back in time for fall camp.

Despite the absence of Aymonanor and Bachmeier, early enrollee wide receiver Emmett Mosley has caught the attention of the coaches in practice, and was a favorite target for the quarterbacks in the Spring Showcase.

“He’s made plays and catches, seems like six or seven every day,” Taylor said. “He’s very dependable and very smart. He’s gonna be special.”

During the one-on-one drills between receivers and cornerbacks, Stanford receivers were able to generate space in off man coverage, but struggled more against press coverage. Additionally the quarterbacks were unable to hit throws against press.

“Against press, a lot of it is gonna be the receivers ability,” Taylor said. “That’s why you got to recruit great wide receivers, because at some point they will try to lock you down on the outside.”

There’s also been a shakeup in the trenches, as offensive guard Trevor Mayberry has transitioned to the defensive line. 

“We’re just trying to get a little bit more depth on the defensive line with a couple of guys linked up,” Taylor said. “Trevor’s a big guy that can play a little bit of offense and if we need defense, he’s got the ability to do that.”

While Mayberry’s move is a loss for the offensive line, Taylor believes that the line play will be much improved this season.

“Last year a lot of those guys, who had not played at all, got a ton of reps under fire,” Taylor said. “We still got a ways to go but they definitely are light years away from where they’ve been.”

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