A.J. Tarpley is a fifth-year senior who is entering 2014 on the Bednarik Award and Nagurski Award watch lists after earning All-Pac-12 honorable mention as a Stanford Cardinal in 2013. Tarpley, a 6-2, 238-pound bundle of physicality, recorded 93 tackles (52 solo) during the season in 14 games and became one of the leaders of the Stanford defense. With important losses on the defensive side of the ball the last two years, Tarpley’s stout run defense and leadership will be needed greatly by the Cardinal defense in 2014.
Was a three year letter winner at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, Minn., and was ranked the 62nd best outside linebacker as a senior. Put up 85 tackles, 15 for loss, as a senior and tallied 168 tackles and 36 for loss in his career. Earned first-team all-state recognition as a senior and was tabbed the Minneapolis Star Tribune Player of the Year.
After sitting during his freshman year in 2010, Tarpley played in all 13 games in 2011, starting seven of the last eight games at inside linebacker. Finished the season as the team’s third-leading tackler with 57. In 2012, he started 11 of 14 games for the Cardinal and recorded 66 tackles, including seven for loss and two sacks. Had a game-high nine tackles against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 selection for his work in 2013, which included five tackles for loss, a sack, interception and three passes broken up.
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