STANFORD -- Stanford has filled several holes in its starting lineup entering the second half of training camp. At other spots, the situation remains muddled.

Coach David Shaw said Thursday that he won't name a starting center (Khalil Wilkes or Conor McFadden) or outside linebacker (James Vaughters or Blake Lueders) until early next week.

The rotation at tailback, where five players are competing for carries, also lacks clarity.

But the No. 4 Cardinal, which opens the season Sept. 7 against San Jose State, has identified its starting receivers and settled on a tight end to replace All-American Zach Ertz.

The receivers are veteran Ty Montgomery, who is healthy after an injury-marred 2012 season, and sophomore Devon Cajuste, who has one career reception.

Stanford Cardinal’s Ty Montgomery (88) runs with the ball against the San Jose State University Spartans in the third quarter at Stanford Stadium in
Stanford Cardinal's Ty Montgomery (88) runs with the ball against the San Jose State University Spartans in the third quarter at Stanford Stadium in Stanford, Calif. on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. (Nhat V. Meyer/Staff)

The tight end, sophomore Luke Kaumatule, also has one career catch. The fact that it came in high school -- or that Kaumatule was primarily a defensive end at the Punahou School in Honolulu -- matters not to the Cardinal.

"When we get kids in training camp, we look at them as unmolded clay,'' said assistant coach Mike Sanford, who serves as the recruiting coordinator.

"A lot of times we like guys as football players, then figure out where to put them. Luke had the look, the athleticism and the mean streak for tight end."

Stanford certainly has the need. The departure of Ertz and Levine Toilolo, who combined for 93 catches and 10 touchdowns last season, leaves a void at what has been one of the Cardinal's most productive positions in recent years.


Advertisement

The 6-foot-7, 260-pound Kaumatule used the most of limited opportunities last season to show off his blocking skills. This season, he must prove he can catch, too.

Four words once uttered by Ertz seem particularly relevant.

"One of the quotes I take from him is, 'Give me the ball,' " Kaumatule recalled.

  • Kaumatule is one of 37 players on the preseason Watch List for the Mackey Award, given to the nation's top tight end.

    Ertz was a finalist for the Mackey last season.

    "It's a credit to the tight ends who came before me," Kaumatule said of his position on the Mackey list despite his limited experience.

  • Cajuste isn't the only young receiver to have earned playing time. Freshman Michael Rector has secured a spot in the rotation, as well.

    "Two guys with serious speed,'' Shaw said of Rector and Montgomery. "That's what we have been missing in the offense."'

  • Montgomery and receiver Kelsey Young are expected to handle kickoff returns while three players are competing to return punts: Kodi Whitfield, the son of former Stanford great Bob Whitfield, is the frontrunner; Montgomery and Barry Sanders are also being considered.

  • Stanford's only public workout of training camp will take place Saturday at 10 a.m. on the practice field. (Admission is free.)

    The controlled scrimmage is part of the annual Open House, which includes an autograph session at 1:30 p.m. at Stanford Stadium.

    For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5716.