In this series leading up to next month's National Signing Day, I'll examine the state of each position, including discussion about players who won't be back, players who are returning, and players you might not know yet. I'll also use a simple four-point system to give my assessment of the pulse of the position: Racing, Steady, Faint, or Flatlining.
Leaving: Yet to be seen.
Returning: Kevin Hogan, Evan Crower, Ryan Burns, Keller Chryst. Maybe.
When quarterback Kevin Hogan announced this week that he'd be returning to Stanford for another year, bypassing the NFL draft and putting to rest those groundless transfer rumors, everything changed for the Cardinal.
Remember the offensive display Stanford put on to close out the 2014 season? In a three-game stretch against Cal, UCLA, and Maryland the Cardinal scored 114 points and averaged 422 yards per game, but most importantly, it looked like the old Cardinal again. Now that Hogan has decided to stay, we know that the offensive group that finally gelled at the end of 2014 will return almost intact in 2015. (Remember, departing senior wide receiver Ty Montgomery was injured early in the Cal game and didn't play again.)
But this is supposed to be about the quarterbacks, so let's focus on Hogan. Because of when Hogan ascended to the starting position -- immediately after Andrew Luck and immediately before Keller Chryst, the player some assume will be next great Stanford quarterback -- he will likely never get the appreciation he deserves. He'll never eclipse Luck, and it's impossible to compete with someone who hasn't yet stepped on the field, but Hogan has already done enough to merit consideration as one of the best quarterbacks in Stanford history.