STANFORD -- Leading receiver Ty Montgomery has made a rapid recovery from shoulder surgery and is expected to start Saturday when No. 11 Stanford opens its season against UC Davis.

Cardinal coach David Shaw said Tuesday team doctors cleared Montgomery this week, and the All-American kick returner will have no limitations in the 1 p.m. game against the Aggies.

Montgomery had right-shoulder surgery in February, resulting from an injury he suffered last season. He also had a knee injury during the Rose Bowl, but Montgomery has dismissed it as nothing serious.

The Texan was expected to miss the first two games but vowed a month ago that he would recover sooner than projected.

"It hasn't been a surprise based on how he has practiced," Shaw said of the speedy recovery. "Everything is pointing toward the fact he is as healthy as he can be. He is healed." Montgomery is expected to share kickoff and punt return duties with Kelsey Young and Barry Sanders.

With USC coming up Sept. 6, the Cardinal welcomed Montgomery's return. As a junior, he led Stanford with 61 catches, 958 receiving yards and 10 touchdown receptions. Montgomery also had 1,091 return yards and returned two kicks for touchdowns.

  • Montgomery wasn't the only starter announced Tuesday. Shaw said Young, a 5-foot-10, 191-pound senior from Norco, earned the start among five running backs expected to play this season. Young got the nod over the others because of his consistency since last season. Sanders is listed as the primary backup.


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    On defense, inside linebacker Blake Martinez, cornerback Ronnie Harris and safety Kyle Olugbode earned starting spots in heated competitions. Shaw downplayed the emphasis on starters, particularly at cornerback where Harris is ahead of Alex Carter.

    Carter is expected to be one of the Cardinal's best secondary players but was cleared to play only 11/2 weeks ago after missing the spring camp because of a hip injury. Shaw said Carter, a junior from Ashburn, Virginia, is expected to play as much as Harris against the Aggies.

    One of the biggest defensive surprises is Olugbode, a Bellarmine Prep alum from San Jose. The fifth-year senior has not had much of an impact in his first four years.

  • The offense could look different after consecutive seasons with running backs Stepfan Taylor and then Tyler Gaffney being the primary ballcarriers. Shaw talked about running backs by committee with Ricky Seale, Remound Wright and freshman Christian McCaffrey also expected to see snaps.

    "They say I am No. 1, but that can change at any moment," said Young, who switched to running back from receiver. "As soon as I relax and think the competition is won, that can change."

    Young, who played under Toby Gerhart's dad at Norco High, welcomed the option to return to running back before spring camp opened. "I had a lot better feel for things in the backfield," he said.

  • Stanford has sold 31,850 season tickets for the upcoming football season, a school official said Tuesday. The figure represents a 25 percent increase over the 2012 season-ticket sales and is believed to be a school record for an even-year home schedule. Stanford sold out its season ticket allotment last year (approximately 34,000 tickets) for the first time in school history. The even-year schedule features only one marquee home opponent, USC.

    Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.

    Saturday's opener

    UC Davis at Stanford, 1 p.m., Pac-12 Networks