The East Bay native played prep ball with Stanford unanimous All-American tight end Zach Ertz at Danville's Monte Vista High School. He was Luck's primary back-up last season in a year Josh Nunes missed because of injury. About a week before the kick-off of the 2012 campaign, Stanford head coach David Shaw announced that Nunes had beaten Nottingham for the starting quarterback spot.
That move came as a surprise to many, particularly after Nottingham had out-performed Nunes statistically in open exhibitions at Stanford's spring game and in the final preseason scrimmage. But Shaw said his decision was rooted in Nunes' ability to better avoid negative plays and manage Stanford's offense, and not on Nottingham's superior arm strength and athleticism.
Despite Nunes' subsequent struggles and the Stanford attack's severe drop in production, Nottingham did not see significant playing time. He was relegated to mop-up duty against Duke and at Colorado while Kevin Hogan's role steadily grew throughout the season. Hogan made his first start on November 10 and performed well in a win over Oregon State, all but extinguishing Nottingham's prospects of attaining considerable playing time.
Among the Stanford fan base, there's a lingering curiosity as to what could have been had Nottingham gotten his chance while Hogan was developing, especially during Nunes' worst performances at Washington and Notre Dame. Those games represented the Cardinal's only 2012 losses, both coming after the Farm Boys' starter missed several easy throws. During Nunes' struggles in Seattle, ESPN cameras hovered near Nottingham on the sideline, anticipating a quarterback change that never came. Once Hogan had developed into adequate starter's form, of course, this anticipation vanished.
After losing the initial 2012 quarterback battle, Nottingham never publicly addressed his scarce playing time. Shaw said that he continued working hard at practice, ready to step in for Nunes -- and later Hogan -- in case of injury.
Stanford's Fall academic term ended this week. In theory, Nottingham can enroll elsewhere immediately and potentially satisfy the curiosity of onlookers who have long wished to see him in game action. If he transfers to a lower-level FCS, Division II, or Division III school, Nottingham will not be forced to miss a season due to NCAA transfer rules. This may be an intriguing possibility for him, given the fact an athlete's eligibility ends five years after first enrollment. Since Nottingham redshirted his freshman season in 2010, he has two more years of potential eligibility and only one if he transfers to another FBS school, in which case a season off would be required.
The Bootleg will continue to break any new developments.
David Lombardi covers Stanford sports for The Bootleg and FOX Sports Next. He can also be heard on San Francisco's 95.7 The Game. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @davidmlombardi.
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