Best Stanford football players: Modern-era Mount Rushmore – From John Elway to Andrew Luck

Christian McCaffrey, Stanford Cardinal. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Christian McCaffrey, Stanford Cardinal. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Best Stanford football players, Stanford Mount Rushmore
Toby Gerhart, Stanford Cardinal. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. RB. Toby Gerhart. player. (2006-09). 7. 871

Prior to Jim Harbaugh’s arrival in Palo Alto, Stanford football was not a good program. The Cardinal hadn’t been to a bowl game in eight seasons up until 2009. That’s when everything started to change for Stanford football. Their star player that season was running back Toby Gerhart.

Gerhart committed to Stanford football in 2006 and played a little bit as a freshman. He only appeared in one game as a sophomore in 2007, as he suffered a season-ending injury. But by the time Gerhart was an upperclassman, he became an absolute bruiser of a running back in the Pac-10. Gerhart had back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons with the Cardinal to close out his college career.

Though his 1,136 rushing yards on 210 carries for 15 touchdowns as a junior in 2008 was excellent, Gerhart’s unforgettable 2009 campaign nearly won him a Heisman Trophy. Stanford achieved bowl eligibility that season, as Gerhart rushed for 1,871 yards on 343 carries for 28 touchdowns. He was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and a unanimous All-American.

Gerhart took home the Doak Walker but came up 28 points short of beating out Mark Ingram Jr. of the Alabama Crimson Tide for the Heisman Trophy. After four years, Gerhart would be a second-round pick by the Minnesota Vikings in 2010. He played four seasons with the Vikings and two with the Jacksonville Jaguars before retiring.