Corey Gatewood is a fifth-year senior cornerback. At least, that is where he played during Stanford’s gauntlet of November games against Oregon, Cal and Notre Dame.
Until then, the 5-foot-11, 182-pound human biology major had been listed as a backup wide receiver. He was pressed into service after the Cardinal secondary was decimated by injuries to three of the four starters.
Gatewood came to The Farm as a defensive back but saw limited action during the Jim Harbaugh era. He had four tackles as a freshman in 2007, appeared in only one game as a sophomore in 2008 (which allowed him a fifth year of eligibility) and started six games as a junior.
In 2010, Gatewood was dropped from the starting lineup, made one tackle in spot duty in nine games, and ended the year as a reserve wideout.
Coach Shaw had Gatewood on the receivers depth chart for 2011. Gatewood made one reception all season. As Stanford headed into November, it seemed that Gatewood was destined to mostly watch from the sidelines, as frosh wide receiver Ty Montgomery worked himself into the rotation.
Then the injuries began to mount in the secondary, and Gatewood answered the bell to return to his old cornerback position.
Fast (10.6 for the 100 m in high school) and athletic (22-foot long jumper in high school), he appeared against Oregon, and a week later played a vital role in the 31-28 win over archrival Cal in the Big Game, helping shut down the Bears' star receiver Keenan Allen in the second half, with three tackles and a forced fumble.
In the season finale win over Notre Dame, Gatewood made a key second-quarter interception that led to a Stanford touchdown. He was often in single coverage on Irish wideout Michael Floyd, who had only three first-half catches as Stanford built a 21-0 lead.
With one exception, the Cardinal secondary should be back at full strength in the Fiesta Bowl against Oklahoma State, which features the nation’s best wide receiver in Justin Blackmon. Don’t be surprised to see Gatewood’s number 2 jersey across the line of scrimmage against Blackmon.