Stanford is losing one more key offensive player early to the NFL this offseason. Joining running back Bryce Love as an early entrant to the 2019 NFL Draft will be wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who officially made himself eligible for the draft process Friday. Arcega-Whiteside announced his decision as so many college football players do these days with a statement shared on his Twitter account.
“It has been a dream to play in the NFL, and I have decided to officially declare for the 2019 NFL Draft,” Arcega-Whiteside said in a post share don his Twitter account Friday afternoon. “Thank you to all who have been part of my journey.”
Arcega-Whiteside led the Cardinal with 1,059 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns this season. Arcega-Whiteside was a senior for Stanford this past season but he had another year of eligibility at his disposal after not appearing in a game during his freshman season in 2015. The Biletnikoff Award semifinalist was named All-Pac-12 Second Team and was a team captain for the Cardinal in 2018.
Cal may be heading in a positive direction and they may have beaten Washington and USC this season, but getting over the Stanford hurdle is still too tough a task for the Golden Bears at this time. Stanford once again topped Cal in The Big Game, winning this year’s delayed edition of the game by a score of 23-13.
Stanford nearly shutout Cal in the second half and closed out the game with 10 points in the fourth quarter. Cal scored a late touchdown with the game essentially decided in every facet except for the final score with 10 seconds remaining. Bryce Love, perhaps playing in his final game for Stanford, carried the football 22 times for 74 yards. Cameron Scarlett scored a touchdown on the ground in the fourth quarter, and quarterback K.J. Costello completed 18 of 29 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown. JJ Arcega-Whiteside led all players with 109 receiving yards on five receptions. Turnovers were crucial in the game, with Cal turning the football over three times to just one turnover by Stanford.
Stanford’s current nine-game winning streak in the rivalry remains the longest winning streak for either team in the series. Cal’s last win came in 2009 with a team that included Shane Vereen topped a Cardinal team with Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart. Jim Harbaugh was the head coach of the Cardinal. Harbaugh and Luck would get the Stanford winning streak against Cal started up the next season, and David Shaw has continued to keep Stanford on top of the classic rivalry. Shaw is 8-0 in the series.
Both Stanford and Cal should be heading to the postseason to play in a bowl game, so the season is not over yet for either program. Stanford and Cal could land in a number of different bowl games including the Sun Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl and Cheez-It Bowl as the most likely destinations from which to choose.
College football’s award season is coming soon, which means various individual awards are trimming down their massive watch lists to much smaller lists of semifinalists, and soon finalists. The Biletnikoff Award, which honors the nation’s best receiver regardless of position, released its list of 11 semifinalists for its award this season. As expected, some of the nation’s leading receivers managed to make the cut midway through November.
The list of semifinalists includes some of the top receivers from the Big 12 with Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown, West Virginia’s David Sills V, Oklahoma State’s Tylan Wallace, and Texas Tech’s Antoine Wesley are among the 11 semifinalists for the award. Wesley leads the nation in average receiving yards per game with 134.7 ypg. Wallace is not far behind with 128.2 ypg. Those two are among the seven receivers who have already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark this season.
UMass receiver Andy Isabella, who leads the nation with 1,479 receiving yards was also named a semifinalist for the award. Hawaii’s John Ursua, the nation’s leader in receiving touchdowns (15) also made the cut.
The SEC’s top two receivers, A.J. Brown of Ole Miss (SEC-leading 1,047 receiving yards) and Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy (SEC-leading 10 touchdowns and second-most receiving yards, 925 yards). Arizona State’s N'Keal Harry, among the Pac-12 leaders in receiving yards and touchdowns, is joined by Stanford’s JJ Arcega-Whiteside as the Pac-12’s semifinalists.
Freshman star Rondale Moore of Purdue is the only player from a Big Ten school named a semifinalist for the award. Among the power conferences, the Big Ten has the longest drought of Biletnikoff Award winners with Braylon Edwards of Michigan being the last Big Ten player to win the award in 2004. The Big 12 has dominated the award over the past decade with seven Biletnikoff Award winners since 2007 including the last three years (Corey Coleman of Baylor in 2015, Dede Westbrook of Oklahoma in 2016, and James Washington of Oklahoma State in 2017) and two back-to-back winners (Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech in 2007-2008 and Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State in 2010 and 2011).
This list of 11 semifinalists will be trimmed down to three finalists on Nov. 19. The 2018 Biletnikoff Award will be presented on Dec. 6 at The Home Depot College Football Awards Presentation on ESPN.
Times have been tough for Stanford this season, and they could be a bit tougher than anticipated this weekend against Oregon State. Stanford will play this weekend’s game against the Beavers without one of its top wide receivers. JJ Arcega-Whiteside has been ruled out of action this week due to a right ankle injury.
Stanford head coach David Shaw told reporters Arcega-Whiteside will take the week off “Barring a miracle.”
“It’s not terrible. No broken bones. Everybody heals differently,” Shaw said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’ll see what happens early next week.”
Arcega-Whiteside suffered the right ankle injury in last week’s game against Washington, and he had to be carted off the field as a result. Although Stanford is taking on one of the Pac-12’s least intimidating passing offenses, the loss of the Cardinal’s top wide receiver still hurts Stanford’s second-ranked passing offense in the conference.
Arcega-Whiteside is Stanford’s leading receiver this season with 48 receptions for 754 yards and 11 touchdowns. The rest of the team has accounted for eight touchdowns in the passing game. With the senior out of action this weekend, Stanford will rely on tight end Kaden Smith and senior receiver Trenton Smith to carry the load as the top targets. Against the Beavers, Stanford should be able to survive this week, but how long the injury lingers for Arcega-Whiteside will be monitored closely.