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Friday, March 21, 2014
Stanford's recruiting classes impact -- No. 1

By Kyle Bonagura

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

No. 1: 2008

Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck was the clear headliner of Stanford's 2008 recruiting class.
It doesn't compare with the class of 2009 in terms of overall contributors, but in 2008 Stanford signed the most important class in recent memory.

With a full year to put it together, Jim Harbaugh's staff signed an 18-man class following a 4-8 season. Of the group, 10 have spent time with NFL teams including the 2012 draft's No. 1 overall pick, QB Andrew Luck.

Along with Luck, OG David DeCastro (first round) and OT Jonathan Martin (second round) both left with a year of eligibility remaining after the Cardinal qualified for back-to-back BCS bowls.

S Michael Thomas (Dolphins), S Delano Howell (Colts), CB Johnson Bademosi (Browns) and WR Chris Owusu (Buccaneers) were among eight true freshmen that played in 2008.

In 2009, Owusu, as a kick returner, became the first member of the class to earn first-team all-conference honors. DeCastro, Howell, Luck, Martin received honorable mention recognition that season.

The following year, when Stanford won the Orange Bowl, Luck was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting. DeCastro and Martin were both first-team all-conference selections and Howell was a second-team pick.

In 2011, the final season for the majority of the class, Luck, DeCastro, Martin, Howell and LB Chase Thomas were all first-team all-conference picks.

Thomas, who is now with the Packers, finished his career with 27.5 sacks, which ranks fourth in school history. Thomas, C Sam Schwartzstein and P Daniel Zychlinski were the only remaining members from the class that held significant roles as fifth-year seniors in 2012.

The class also included TE Konrad Reuland, who transferred from Notre Dame and is now with the Jets.

Countdown

No. 2: 2009

No. 3: 2007

No. 4: 2010

No. 5: 2006