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2014 Stanford Recruiting Class Analysis

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 7, 2014


Stanford Cardinal 2014 ... Head Coach: David Shaw


Stanford Cardinal

2013 Record: 11-3
8/31 OPEN DATE
9/7 San Jose St W 34-13
9/14 at Army W 34-20
9/21 Arizona State W 42-28
9/28 at Washington St W 55-17
10/5 Washington W 31-28
10/12 at Utah L 27-21
10/19 UCLA W 24-10
10/26 at Oregon State W 20-12
11/2 OPEN DATE
11/7 Oregon W 26-20
11/16 at USC L 20-17
11/23 California W 63-13
11/30 Notre Dame W 27-20
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP
12/7 at Arizona St 38-14
Rose Bowl
1/1 Michigan State L 24-20


Stanford | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Coaching up the next generation of defensive players. While defense has been the capstone of the Cardinal’s recent success, the 2014 unit needs to be rebuilt, especially in the front seven. Just one regular, LB James Vaughters, returns from the first two levels of the D, and successful coordinator Derek Mason is now the Vanderbilt head coach. Fortunately, Mason’s successor, Lance Anderson, has been on staff since 2007, and he knows the personnel within the program.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive line. It’s not a big overall class, but getting the nation’s second-best OT Casey Tucker is a huge coup, and Reilly Gibbons, Austin Hall and Jesse Burkett helped to keep Stanford as a factory for offensive linemen. No. 4 DE Solomon Thomas was a massive Signing Day get that boosted up the entire class, and tight end Dalton Schultz is the nation’s best tight end prospect. The secondary also got a big boost with safety Brandon Simmons leading the way and a good group of corners all talented. Outside linebackers Joey Alfieri and Bobby Okereke will eventually be among the team’s leading tacklers after adding more weight.

2013 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 55. That Class Was Heavy On ... Linebacker. It's not a superior class compared to recent hauls, but the Cardinal came up with some nice gets led by receiver Francis Owusu and guard Dave Bright for the offense. However, with the recent run of great tight ends, the program hasn't had a problem getting its share of good prospects, bringing in Greg Taboada, Austin Hooper and Eric Cotton. The best overall recruits are on defense with Peter Kalambayi out of North Carolina and Kevin Palma two tough guys for the interior, and Sean Barton a nice option for the outside.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 10. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Stanford was terrific over the last few years partly because the lines were strong, partly because Andrew Luck was Andrew Luck, and partly because Jim Harbaugh did a terrific job of recruiting. David Shaw brought in a nice class last year, especially for the defensive front, but he has to upgrade the athleticism and speed at receiver. He’s getting enough variety for the receiving corps to come up with a few instant options to help keep the Luck-less passing attack rolling. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 25. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. The big splash will be about Kevin Hogan, with the hope that he’ll be ready to challenge for the starting job next year if and when Mr. Luck is done with his architecture career, and Remound Wright and Kelsey Young are dangerous backs who should add more flash than the Cardinal backfield has had in a while. David Shaw’s first class focused mostly on defensive linemen with two big, talented tackles in Lance Callihan and Anthony Hayes, and three good-looking defensive ends led by 6-6 Charlie Hopkins. The star of the defense, though, will either be middle linebacker James Vaughters or safety Wayne Lyons.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 25. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. Talk about being a salesman, not only did Jim Harbaugh successfully pitch top quarterbacks Brett Nottingham and Dallas Lloyd away from UCLA and Miami, respectively, but he also was able to sell them on Stanford even though Andrew Luck is the unquestioned starting quarterback for the next three years. Throw in the almost certain departure of Harbaugh to bigger and better things some time in the next five years, and it'll be interesting to see how this class progresses. The defense got the bulk with Blake Lueders a special end and Devon Carrington a safety who'll end up starring in the secondary sooner than later.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 21. That Class Was Heavy On ... pass-catchers. If the Cardinal is going to continue this forward push that started when Jim Harbaugh was hired, it needs to improve offensively. Like, now. This class provides some exciting weapons for whenever QB Andrew Luck takes over the offense. Stanford bagged a pair of four-star wideouts, Jamal Patterson and Jemari Roberts, to go along with easily the best collection of tight ends in the country. Both Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo are massive targets, who could have gone just about anywhere.

Rose Bowl
Michigan State 24, Stanford 20
Basically … Michigan State overcame early mistakes, including a bad interception thrown by Connor Cook into the hands of Kevin Anderson for a 40-yard score, and a 17-7 deficit to take over the game with 17 straight points on tough, pounding drives ending the first half on a two-yard Trevon Pendleton touchdown catch with 28 seconds to play, and getting a 25-yard Tony Lippett touchdown catch early in the fourth for a 24-17 lead. The Spartans came up with several stops, and held the Cardinal to a 39-yard Jordan Williamson field goal with just over four minutes to play. Stanford had one final shot, but its 4th-and-1 play from its own 24 was stuffed when MSU’s Kyler Elsworth flew over the top to stuff Ryan Hewitt. The Cardinal got up early on a 16-yard Tyler Gaffney touchdown run on a tough early drive and a 34-yard Williamson field goal, but the Spartans stayed around with a good drive and a two-yard Jeremy Langford touchdown run before Cook’s big mistake. The Spartan quarterback bounced back to finish with 332 yards.

- Rushing Yards: Stanford 162 – Michigan State 65
- Tackles For Loss: Stanford 11 – Michigan State 10
- Michigan State QB Connor Cook completed 22-of-36 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns with a pick for an interception.
- Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford ran 23 times for 84 yards and a touchdown.
- Stanford QB Kevin Hogan completed 10-of-18 passes for 143 yards and a pick, and ran eight times for 41 yards.
- Stanford LB Shayne Skov made nine tackles with a sack, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble.
- Stanford RB Tyler Gaffney ran 24 times for 91 yards and a touchdown.
- Stanford S Ed Reynolds made a game-high ten tackles.

Stanford 38, at Arizona State 14
Basically … Tyler Gaffney took off for a tight-roped 69-yard touchdown run just over a minute into the game, and he ran for two one-yard scores as Stanford ripped through Arizona State for the Pac-12 title. D.J. Foster ran for a 51-yard touchdown to tie the game at seven, and he pulled Arizona State within 14 on a 65-yard touchdown catch, but it was all Cardinal in the second half, helped by a missed ASU field goal and a key goal line stand.
- Stanford RB Tyler Gaffney ran 22 times for 133 yards and three scores.
- Arizona State RB D.J. Foster ran eight times for 62 yards and a score, and caught four passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.
- Stanford QB Kevin Hogan completed 12-of-18 passes for 277 yards and a score
- Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly completed 17-of-25 passes for 173 yards and a score, and ran 21 times for 36 yards.

at Stanford 27, Notre Dame 20
Basically … Stanford pulled ahead 21-6 in the second half on a 20-yard Anthony Wilkerson touchdown run after getting a one-yard Tyler Gaffney scoring run and a Devon Cajuste 16-yard scoring catch in the first half, but the Irish fought back with Tommy Rees touchdown passes to TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels to pull within four. Jordan Williamson helped push the Cardinal ahead with a 28-yard field goal and the D held up. Wayne Lyons picked off two Rees passes.
- Stanford RB Tyler Gaffney ran 33 times for 189 yards and a score.
- Notre Dame QB Tommy Rees completed 16-of-34 passes for 199 yards and two scores with two picks.
- Stanford outrushed the Irish 261 yards to 64.
- Notre Dame WR DaVaris Daniels caught five passes for 79 yards and a score.

at Stanford 63, California 13
Basically … Kevin Hogan threw five touchdown passes and Ty Montgomery went off scoring on a 31-yard run and catching touchdown passes from 50, 12, 72 and nine yards out in the first half. Tyler Gaffney ran for a 58-yard score and Kelsey Young ran for a 27-yard score as the Cardinal pulled away with 28 unanswered points. Cal tied it at seven on a 15-yard Maurice Harris touchdown catch, but it only managed two Vincenzo D’Amato field goals the rest of the way.
- Stanford WR Ty Montgomery caught five passes for 160 yards and four scores, and he ran twice for 31 yards and a touchdown.
- Stanford QB Kevin Hogan completed 17-of-26 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns.
- Cal QB Jared Goff completed 10-of-19 passes for 194 yards and a score.
- Stanford converted 11-of-17 third down chances, and Cal converted 2-of-13 tries.

at USC 20, Stanford 17
Basically … Helped by a daring fourth down call, and a completion to Marqise Lee to keep the drive alive, USC capped it off with a 47-yard Andre Heidari field goal with 19 seconds to play for the win. Heidari also hit a 23-yarder in the second for a 17-7 USC lead, helped by one-yard touchdown runs from Soma Vainuku and Javorius Allen, but Stanford stayed in the game with Tyler Gaffney touchdown runs from 35 and 18 yards out. Three turnovers turned out to be a killer for the Cardinal.
- USC QB Cody Kessler completed 25-of-37 passes for 288 yards and a touchdown.
- Stanford RB Tyler Gaffney ran 24 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns.
- USC LB Anthony Sarao made 12 tackles with a forced fumble.
- Stanford LB Tyler Murphy made eight tackles with two sacks and four tackles for loss.

at Stanford 26 … Oregon 20
Basically … Stanford physically beat up and manhandled Oregon for 49 minutes on the way to a 26-0 lead, but it the Duck offense finally showed up in the final minutes to make it scary. The Cardinal ran for 274 yards with Tyler Gaffney and Kevin Hogan running for scores, but the offense settled for four Jordan Williamson field goals and wasn’t able to put the game away. Oregon got hot late with Marcus Mariota overcoming a horrible first three quarters to find Daryle Hawkins for a 23-yard touchdown, but it was a blocked field goal for a score from Rodney Hardirck that set the tone for a wild final few minutes. The Ducks recovered the onside kick, marched down the field, and on fourth down got a Mariota touchdown pass to Pharoh Brown to make it a six-point game with just over two minutes to play. However, the Ducks had to use all of their timeouts, and Stanford ran out the clock after recovering the onside kick.
- Tyler Gaffney set a Stanford school record with 45 carries for 157 yards and a score.
- Marcus Mariota completed 20-of-34 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns, but he lost a key fumble. The Duck running game was held to 62 yards on 24 carries.
- Stanford had the ball for 42:34, while the defense held firm time and again in the first three quarters led by LB Shayne Skov’s nine tackles and two forced fumbles.
- Oregon committed ten penalties for 81 yards. Stanford committed two for ten yards.

Stanford 20, at Oregon State 12
Basically … Stanford appeared to have a tough win well in hand, but Oregon State made it tough late with a 39-yard Trevor Romaine field goal making it an eight-point game with three minutes to play, and with a final throw into the end zone getting batted away to finish. Stanford got three touchdown runs from Tyler Gaffney from four, nine and 32 yards, but the passing game sputtered and the defense had to hang on after a great start. Oregon State’s lone touchdown came on an eight-yard Brandin Cooks catch.
- It might not have been impressive overall, but Stanford managed to keep the Oregon State passing game under wraps and brought the heat on Sean Mannion all game long. The problem was on the other side – the passing game didn’t produce. Kevin Hogan struggled, misfiring time and again, completing 8-of-18 passes for 88 yards. Tyler Gaffney saved the day by pounding away, and even though there were fumbling issues, he came up with 145 yards and three scores.
- That’s one Oregon team, and now comes the other with the date against Oregon up in 12 days. With a road game at USC and home games against Cal and Notre Dame, the Cardinal will be tested, but the rest of the games after dealing with the Ducks are winnable.

at Stanford 24, UCLA 10
Basically … Stanford got a brilliant one-handed 30-yard touchdown catch from Kodi Whitfield, and Tyler Gaffney ran for scores from one and four yards out on the way to a bruising win. Shaq Evans caught a three-yard touchdown pass to pull UCLA within seven in the fourth quarter, but the offense stalled late while Gaffney’s second touchdown run put it away.
- That’s the Stanford we’ve all been waiting for. It was tough, physical, and effective with Tyler Gaffney rumbling for 171 yards and two scores and the defense holding UCLA to just 74 rushing yards. It was tough on both sides of the ball and looked far different than it did in the Washington close call and the loss to Utah. The Cardinal was in total control.
- Brett Hundley didn’t play like himself. He was too tentative at times and didn’t have his normal command completing 24-of-39 passes for 192 yards and a score with two picks. He was under constant pressure, but he also didn’t hit on enough big throws.
- It was a tough game, and Stanford might have controlled the UCLA defense, but there were some nice performances from the Bruins – along with a scare, losing Eric Kendricks to a kidney injury. Safety Randall Goforth came up with 19 tackles and fellow safety Anthony Jefferson came up with 14.
- The Cardinal defense was all over the UCLA offense with strong safety Jordan Richards coming up with the key plays. He led the team with ten tackles with two picks – with one going for a touchdown negated by a holding penalty. The linebackers were fantastic – Shayne Skov made seven stops with a sack, but Richards was the key.

at Utah 27, Stanford 21
Basically … Utah came up with a goal line stand, pressuring Stanford QB Kevin Hogan into a misfire on fourth down from the six in the final moments. The Cardinal had a 14-7 first quarter lead on a Tyler Gaffney one-yard run and a Ty Montgomery kickoff return for a score following a four-yard touchdown catch from Utah’s Karl Williams, and then the Utes took over with Dres Anderson scoring on a 51-yard touchdown catch and a three-yard scoring run in the first half. Two Andy Phillips field goals in the second half closed out Utah’s 20-point run, and then Stanford went to work with a seven-yard Devon Cajuste touchdown catch with under ten minutes to play to pull within six, but couldn’t close.
- Utah has been so, so close to doing something special. The loss to UCLA was tough, and now it has the really big win needed to turnaround a rough Pac-12 start. The Utes won’t win the South after this, but they showed they could play with, and beat, anyone. After last year’s debacle, this is important.
- It’s not like Stanford wasn’t playing well, but it was outplayed by Washington last week and it wasn’t exactly razor-sharp at times. With UCLA, at Oregon State, Oregon, and at USC coming up next, this was devastating. Now there’s absolutely no margin for error, however, on the plus side, the loss came to the South – win out in the Pac-12, and the championship is there for the taking.
- Ty Montgomery almost saved the Cardinal for a second straight week. Kevin Hogan was okay, throwing for 246 yards, and Tyler Gaffney’s 108 yards paced the ground game, but if was Montgomery who kickstarted things with the kickoff return for a score, and he caught eight passes for 131 yards as the only real offensive weapon other than Gaffney.
- There wasn’t anything pretty about what Utah did. It came up with the tough defensive stands when needed, and held stopped Stanford drive after Stanford drive. It was a hard-nosed performance from an offensive line that pushed around the Cardinal defensive front for 176 rumbling rushing yards.

at Stanford 31, Washington 28
Basically … Ty Montgomery returned the opening kickoff for a score and caught a 39-yard, perfectly thrown touchdown pass from Kevin Hogan at the end of the first half to give Stanford control, but that wouldn’t last. The Cardinal never trailed, but Washington wouldn’t go away with Bishop Sankey running for two scores and Jaydon Mickens catching Keith Price’s second touchdown pass of the game with just under three minutes to play. The UW defense held and gave Price one final shot, but the offense turned the ball over on downs when a fourth down catch was overturned by replay.
- Stanford had an answer for just about everything Washington was able to do. The offense didn’t work all that hot, and Kevin Hogan struggled outside of his brilliant scoring pass to Ty Montgomery at the end of the first half, but when Washington scored, the offense responded.
- Washington might have lost, but it gained a major measure of respect in a tough fight. QB Keith Price fought through an injured thumb to throw for 350 yards and two scores, and Bishop Sankey was Bishop Sankey with 125 yards and two scores, but it was a fight to play catch-up all game long after giving up the opening kickoff for a score.
- The ultra-aggressive Stanford defense came up with five sacks and 11 tackles for loss, and Shayne Skov kept the UW running game in check with 14 tackles, but it struggled under duress. The Cardinal won, but it was a fight. Hogan and the passing game have to be better.
- With ten penalties and the breakdowns on special teams – allowing 204 yards on kickoff returns to Ty Montgomery and the key opening play score – Washington had to fight and press. There were a few too many mistakes, but the Dawgs proved they could hang with the big boys.

Stanford 55, at Washington State 17
Basically … With the score tied at 3-3 late in the first quarter, Stanford turned it on with 45 straight points before the Cougars finally got into the end zone on a 47-yard Gabe Marks touchdown catch. Kevin Hogan threw three touchdown passes with strikes of 57 and 33 yards out to Devon Cajuste, and the defense came up big in the second quarter on interception returns for scores from Jordan Richards and Trent Murphy in the third quarter.
- The Stanford offense is hitting its stride and just the right time. Explosive, balanced and diverse, the Cardinal did whatever it wanted after the floodgates opened up. Washington State didn’t have any answers defensively.
- Wazzu tried to keep on fighting and throwing, but the yards didn’t turn into points until too late. Connor Halliday completed 24-of-36 passes, but they didn’t go anywhere. His pick six thrown was a disaster, but Austin Apodaca didn’t do much more, completing 15-of-29 passes for 138 yards with two scores late, but his own interception thrown for a score wasn’t a plus.
- The Cougars didn’t generate a lick of pressure on Kevin Hogan. The Cardinal passing attack had time to relax and let the downfield plays to develop.
- Stanford did what it was supposed to do by putting its foot on Wazzu’s throat. When the Cardinal had the Cougars down, it kept on pushing. This was never allowed to become a dangerous upset threat.

at Stanford 42, Arizona State 28
Basically … The Cardinal made a big statement, coming out roaring with a 29-0 first half lead helped by two Ty Montgomery touchdown catches, an Anthony Wilkerson 12-yard touchdown run and a safety. Arizona State tried to fight back, but it was down 39-7 after Tyler Gaffney’s second touchdown run for the Cardinal. The Sun Devils put up 21 fourth quarter points with three Taylor Kelly touchdown passes to pull within 11 with just over six minutes to play, but Jordan Williams hit a 24-yard field goal in the final seconds to end it.
- Don’t let the final score fool you. Stanford controlled the game early and came up with a total team effort, but let up off the gas late. Kevin Hogan threw an interception, but for the most part he was flawless, completing 11-of-17 passes for 151 yards and two scores. The Cardinal O line won its battle with the great Arizona State D line.
- Taylor Kelly overcame a rocky start and was terrific late. After bombing away on Wisconsin, he pressed and forced the ball down the field for 367 yards and three scores. Jaelen Strong lit up the Cardinal for 168 yards and a score on 12 catches.
- The Sun Devil pass rush was neutralized. There as just one Carl Bradford sack and not enough pressure on Kevin Hogan. Will Sutton made six tackles, but he wasn’t effective enough.
- Stanford doesn’t do anything fancy, but the defense gets behind the line making three sacks with ten tackles for loss. The defense came from all sides to bother Kelly.

Stanford 34, at Army 20, Sept. 14
Basically … Stanford gave up 284 yards of Army rushing offense, but Kevin Hogan and the passing game took control with three touchdown passes including a 46-yarder to Ty Montgomery. Tyler Gaffney caught a 23-yard touchdown pass in the third and ran for a one-yard score in the fourth as part of a 34-7 run. The Knights got into the end zone on a 15-yard Larry Dixon run in the second, and scored with 17 seconds left on a six-yard Edgar Poe catch.
- Stanford was able to contain the Army running game for the most part, but it had a few problems with the Knights on the outside. The Cardinal took over the interior and didn’t let the fullback get established.
- Terry Baggett ran for 96 yards on nine carries for Army, but QB Angel Santiago was bottled up outside of a few runs. He finished second on the team with 54 yards on 17 carries, but he couldn’t shake free. A.J. Schurr took over the passing game late.
- Kevin Hogan threw a pick and took a few sacks against a team that doesn’t have much of a pass rush, but he completed 11-of-18 passes for 188 yards and three scores. It was a calm, cool performance.
- The two teams combined for just three penalties in a tight, clean game. Army just couldn’t come up with enough big breaks to make it a battle once Stanford got on a run.

at Stanford 34, San Jose State 13, Sept. 7
Basically … Stanford took control early with a 17-3 lead helped by a 40-yard Devon Cajuste touchdown catch and a 16-yard Tyler Gaffney scoring run. San Jose State hung around, and pulled within 14 late in the third on a 13-yard Noel Grigsby catch, but the Cardinal pulled away in the fourth on Gaffney’s second short scoring run.
- David Fales was better. After a mediocre performance in the opener, hitting just 50% of his passes, he kept everything short and underneath on the way to a 29-of-43 day for 216 yards and a score. There wasn’t any running game to help him out; Stanford stuffed everything.
- The key to the game was third down. Stanford didn’t dominate the time of possession, but it managed to convert just about every key play, making good on 12-of-15 chances. San Jose State only converted 3-of-12 tries, but Fales was better on fourth downs converting 3-of-4.
- Tyler Gaffney appears ready to be able to handle the load. He only ran 20 times for 104 yards and two touchdowns, and he was effective working behind the terrific Cardinal line.
- Keith Smith has started out the season on fire. The San Jose State veteran linebacker made 12 tackles with a tackle for loss. He was all over the field for the second game in a row.

Spring Analysis Why To Get Excited … the Cardinal proved last season that it has staying power, capping an unexpected Pac-12 championship run by beating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. The program is soaring under head coach David Shaw, both on Saturdays and on Signing Day. While there are roster gaps that need to be filled during the offseason, Stanford possesses the confidence and the right mix of veteran personnel to repeat as the league champ.

Why To Be Grouchy … yeah, the blueprint is working on the Farm, but not necessarily because of the potency of the offense. RB Stepfan Taylor leaves behind enormous shoes to fill, and the team has a dearth of quality targets in the passing game after tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo opted for the NFL Draft. Oh, and as terrific as QB Kevin Hogan was down the stretch in 2012, he still has a lot to prove as a pure dropback passer who can convert on third-and long.

The Number One Thing To Work On Is … the passing attack. There’s a sense that Stanford will continue to run the ball with authority, while standing tall on defense. And why not? The team will again be terrific at the point of attack. Still, now that the target on its chest has doubled in size, the Cardinal can help its chances of repeating by improving through the air. Hogan must evolve as a passer, and a few receivers have to emerge now that last year’s top four pass-catchers are gone.

Non-Conference Games: San Jose State, at Army, Notre Dame
Games Against The South: Arizona State, UCLA, at USC, at Utah
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 6-6
Likely Finish: 8-4

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: San Jose State, at Army, Arizona State, at Washington State, Washington, at Utah, UCLA, California

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Oregon State, Oregon, at USC, Notre Dame

Schedule Analysis: San Jose State isn’t a pushover – the Cardinal found that out to open up the 2012 season – but a 2-0 start is likely with a trip to Army to follow. The Pac-12 schedule starts up with a good test hosting Arizona State, and things aren’t that bad over the first half of the season going on the road to play winnable games against Washington State and Utah wrapped around a home game against Washington. Beat the Huskies and get by UCLA at home in a Pac-12 championship rematch, and Stanford should be 7-0 before going to Oregon State.

The second half of the season is a bear starting with the trip to Corvallis. There’s a week off to rest up and get ready for the back-to-back showdowns hosting Oregon and going to USC. The Cal game is the one break, but that’s always an emotional rivalry, and then comes what should be another epic battle against Notre Dame.

Team Concerns For 2013: For all the great results and for all the production, there were several soft areas on the 2012 Cardinal that need improving. Kevin Hogan might be a great-looking young quarterback, but the passing game has to be more efficient and more effective despite losing several of the main targets including tight end Zach Ertz. The running game needs some of the young stars to rise up like last year's star recruit, Barry Sanders Jr., but losing Stepfan Taylor will still sting. The secondary needs to be a bit tighter despite the loss of corner Terrence Brown, and it would be nice to cut down a bit on penalties after getting tagged 85 times.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebacker. It's not a superior class compared to recent hauls, but the Cardinal came up with some nice gets led by receiver Francis Owusu and guard Dave Bright for the offense. However, with the recent run of great tight ends, the program hasn't had a problem getting its share of good prospects, bringing in Greg Taboada, Austin Hooper and Eric Cotton. The best overall recruits are on defense with Peter Kalambayi out of North Carolina and Kevin Palma two tough guys for the interior, and Sean Barton a nice option for the outside.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 10. That Class Was Heavy On ... Receivers. Stanford was terrific over the last few years partly because the lines were strong, partly because Andrew Luck was Andrew Luck, and partly because Jim Harbaugh did a terrific job of recruiting. David Shaw brought in a nice class last year, especially for the defensive front, but he has to upgrade the athleticism and speed at receiver. He’s getting enough variety for the receiving corps to come up with a few instant options to help keep the Luck-less passing attack rolling. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 25. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. The big splash will be about Kevin Hogan, with the hope that he’ll be ready to challenge for the starting job next year if and when Mr. Luck is done with his architecture career, and Remound Wright and Kelsey Young are dangerous backs who should add more flash than the Cardinal backfield has had in a while. David Shaw’s first class focused mostly on defensive linemen with two big, talented tackles in Lance Callihan and Anthony Hayes, and three good-looking defensive ends led by 6-6 Charlie Hopkins. The star of the defense, though, will either be middle linebacker James Vaughters or safety Wayne Lyons.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 25. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. Talk about being a salesman, not only did Jim Harbaugh successfully pitch top quarterbacks Brett Nottingham and Dallas Lloyd away from UCLA and Miami, respectively, but he also was able to sell them on Stanford even though Andrew Luck is the unquestioned starting quarterback for the next three years. Throw in the almost certain departure of Harbaugh to bigger and better things some time in the next five years, and it'll be interesting to see how this class progresses. The defense got the bulk with Blake Lueders a special end and Devon Carrington a safety who'll end up starring in the secondary sooner than later.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 21. That Class Was Heavy On ... pass-catchers. If the Cardinal is going to continue this forward push that started when Jim Harbaugh was hired, it needs to improve offensively. Like, now. This class provides some exciting weapons for whenever QB Andrew Luck takes over the offense. Stanford bagged a pair of four-star wideouts, Jamal Patterson and Jemari Roberts, to go along with easily the best collection of tight ends in the country. Both Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo are massive targets, who could have gone just about anywhere.


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