College football linemen tend to have thighs the size of tree trunks. Not too many have calves that wide.
Meet Andrus Peat, and if you’re a defensive end or an outside linebacker in the Pac-12, you’re probably going to get your chance – and it’s probably going to make an impact on you.
He’s listed as 6-foot-7, 312 pounds, but the sophomore is still growing. He can also run, and that means trouble for would-be tacklers.
He’s undoubtedly going to be Stanford’s next great blind-side offensive tackle, a probable first-round draft pick following the likes of Gordon King, Brian Holloway, Bob Whitfield and, yes, Kwame Harris – who might not have been a great pro with the 49ers and Raiders but was a force on the Farm.
Peat is part of the latest incarnation of the Tunnel Workers, the hard-hatted creation of former Stanford tackle Chris Marinelli. For the past several years, the offensive line has banded together under that blue-collar sobriquet and given out a distinctive “Woo-woo” group cheer after every practice.
The line is back intact this week. Guard David Yankey, who missed the Washington State game because he was needed in Georgia to attend to a family matter, is back for Saturday night’s game against No. 15 Washington (4-0, 1-0). That’s a big lift for the line, especially for Peat, who plays next to Yankey.
“Dave is a great leader,” he said. “It’s always great to have an All-American back in the lineup, a guy who’s got experience like him playing next to me.”
Yankey played mainly at left tackle last season. With Peat now a fixture, Yankey is back at his natural guard position. Khalil Wilkes, who played left guard in 2012, is at center. Guard Kevin Danser and tackle Cameron Fleming are experienced hands on the right side.
Stanford still loves that bone-rattling ground game, but this year it has given its offensive linemen more pass-blocking responsibilities as Kevin Hogan is looking to throw deep far more than he did last year.
That’s fine with Peat, who wants to be known for his versatility as well as for the forearm punch he likes to deliver to the chests of his adversaries. “There are a lot of left tackles who are known for their pass blocking,” he said. “I try to do both.”
The punch was something his father taught him. When your dad is Todd Peat, who played six years in the NFL with the Cardinals and Raiders, you tend to listen when it comes to the fine points of offensive line play.
When Andrus started playing for Corona del Sol High in Tempe, Ariz., his father “started emphasizing that,” he said. “Especially with a speed rusher coming off the edge, he always said, ‘Punch him, try to redirect him, stop his first move.’ That’s what I really try to do.”
Father and son went over some of Todd’s old NFL films this summer so Andrus could pick up a few more pointers.
“Having a dad who played in the NFL, you get to know the little parts of the game,” he said.
The Cardinal have 10 players with that paternal advantage, including Barry Sanders, whose father is a Hall of Famer.
They might have inherited their size, speed or talent from their fathers. Peat might have gotten all three from his.
“People ask me, ‘Why are your legs so big?’ ” he said. “I guess it’s just genetics.”
Andrus Peat, Stanford’s All-America offensive lineman, said Tuesday he’ll forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.
The 6-foot-7, 312-pound left tackle called it “a long and hard decision,’’ but he’ll follow his father, Todd, a former Cardinals and Raiders offensive lineman, into the NFL.
Peat is expected to be drafted in the first round. Most mock drafts have him going in the middle of the round or higher.
“I would like to thank all of my Stanford teammates, coaches and the faculty for helping me grow and enjoy an amazing experience at Stanford University,’’ he said in a statement released by the school. “I’m excited and ready to take the next big step of my life.”
Peat anchored the Cardinal’s offensive line in 2014 as the only returning starter from the 2013 Rose Bowl team. He teamed with four classmates from Stanford’s heralded 2012 recruiting class. The Chandler, Ariz., native was one of the most highly rated recruits in program history. He was listed as the nation’s top recruit by the Sporting News as a senior at Corona del Sol High School.
This season, the offensive line struggled at times but helped the Cardinal average 158.8 yards per game on the ground and allowed only 23 sacks. Peat was an Outland Trophy quarterfinalist and member of the All-Pac-12 first team.
He became the starting left tackle at the beginning of the 2013 season and started the next 27 games.
Todd Peat played played six seasons with the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals (1987-89) and the Los Angeles Raiders (1990, 1992-93).
Another Stanford junior, cornerback Alex Carter, announced moments after the Foster Farms Bowl victory over Maryland that he would enter the draft. His father, too, played in the NFL. Wide receiver Devon Cajuste said he would return for his senior year. Still mulling a possible pro move are quarterback Kevin Hogan and cornerback Wayne Lyons.
Next season, Stanford right tackle Kyle Murphy might switch to the left side to replace Peat, although freshman Casey Tucker is also a candidate for the key position on the offensive line.