Sep 6, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Joshua Stanford (5) tries to pull away from Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Steve Miller (88) at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
Entering the season, Joshua Stanford was set to be the number 1 wide receiver for the Hokies this season after having 40 catches in 2013 and finishing the end of last season at the top of the depth chart. Unsurprisingly, Stanford was one of the starting wide receivers for the Hokies to start the season.
However, Stanford had to leave the team for a few weeks after the game against East Carolina to deal with some off the field issues that we will not speculate about out of respect to Stanford. Stanford returned a few weeks later and worked his way to back to being one of the two backup wide receivers, but his playing time has proven that he is the number 4 wide receiver behind Willie Byrn.
Stanford’s 2014 season was down due to dealing with off the field issues and not with a decline his play. Stanford will not be a starter for the Hokies next season, but he will take over the number 3 receiver spot and bounce back in 2015.
Joshua Stanford has a skill set that fits a guy who can be very productive out of the slot as he is very productive finding space over the middle of the field. Stanford has good speed and can make some quick cuts which is very valuable for a receiver to be able to do lots of damage on quick slants and post routes.
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Stanford has a fairly good vertical which can be valuable in allowing him to make plays on certain passes that he couldn’t make otherwise. Stanford is not a tremendous athlete but he is fairly well built at 200 pounds, and he knows how to use that size to his advantage to box out defenders and make the catch.
Stanford’s hands aren’t perfect but he is fairly reliable outside of his struggles against East Carolina, but those struggles may have been due to those off the field issues being on his mind and causing him not to be able to completely focus on the game. That game is clearly an outlier on the ability of Stanford, and that game should not be used as reason for concern with Stanford’s hands.
The Hokies still have one more game against Cincinnati, and Joshua Stanford will have a role against the Bearcats.
Stanford is still listed as one of the two backup receivers and it would not surprise me if Stanford plays at least 15 to 20 snaps in this game. Stanford will not get anywhere near the attention that he received early in the season from the Cincinnati pass defense and might get a catch or two in this game.
However, Joshua Stanford is ready to have a bounce back season in 2014 with at least 30 catches which would be a solid bounce back season for the Ontario native. Stanford also will be able to be a quality starting receiver if Isaiah Ford or Cam Phillips were to get injured in one of these games.