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Stanford's recruiting classes impact -- No. 3

3/19/2014

We continue our look at Stanford's top-5 impactful recruiting classes of the past decade.

No. 3: 2007

Credit for the 2007 signing class should be spread around. Walt Harris and his staff laid the groundwork for what eventually became Jim Harbaugh's first class, but the baton was first passed to former athletic director Bob Bowlsby in the interim.

The weekend after Harris was fired, Stanford hosted a group of recruits that helped change the program's direction. TE Coby Fleener, WR Doug Baldwin, OLB Thomas Keiser and DL Matt Masifilo -- all of whom are now in the NFL -- were part of that group and later committed after Harbaugh was hired.

Two other players from the class also ended up in the NFL -- FB Owen Marecic and RB Jeremy Stewart, both of whom were unheralded recruits. Of the 10 players that verbally committed after Harbaugh was hired, five went on to the NFL. The only NFL player from the class that committed to Harris was Keiser.

As Harbaugh's first class, the group gets a lot of credit for changing the culture of the program. Marecic, in particular, is a player who embodied the physical brand of football the Cardinal is now know for.

There were two losing seasons after the group arrived, but the Cardinal turned the corner in 2009 with an 8-5 season -- the program's first winning season since 2001. In their fourth year, the class helped Stanford to a 12-1 record, a No. 4 national ranking and a win in the Orange Bowl. For Fleener, Masifilo, Stewart and others who played a fifth year, an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl followed the next season.

Countdown

No. 4: 2010

No. 5: 2006