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Finally, it's Taylor's time in Stanford spotlight

FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2011 file photo, Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor (33) drives against Oregon in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif.  Taylor's teammates call him the quietest back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher in
FILE - In this Nov. 12, 2011 file photo, Stanford running back Stepfan Taylor (33) drives against Oregon in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game in Stanford, Calif. Taylor's teammates call him the quietest back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher in the country. Overshadowed, underappreciated and overlooked might work, too.
Paul Sakuma, File, Associated Press

STANFORD, Calif. — Stepfan Taylor's teammates call him the quietest 1,000-yard rusher in the country. Overshadowed and underappreciated might fit just as well, too.

Of course, that tends to happen when someone is playing in the same backfield as the last three Heisman Trophy runners-up.

With Andrew Luck and Toby Gerhart gone, Taylor's time in the Stanford spotlight starts this spring. The senior, aiming for his third straight year with at least 1,000 yards rushing, could be one of the keys to holding together a reconstructed Cardinal offense that — in case everybody forgot while No. 12 was tossing passes — prides itself on being a physical, run-first team.

Taylor also has a chance to join Darrin Nelson as the only Stanford running back with three seasons of at least 1,000 yards rushing.