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Writes Fremeau: The Cardinal lead all teams in victories (29 wins since 2007) over the last five seasons in games in which they had a recruiting disadvantage. Of those 29 wins, 22 have come in the last three seasons with quarterback Andrew Luck at the helm. Luck was a highly touted quarterback coming out of high school (he ranked seventh among QBs nationally and 61st overall in the ESPNU 150), and he's the most significant reason for Stanford's meteoric rise over the last few years.
But former coach Jim Harbaugh also developed unheralded talent to build the program, and current head coach David Shaw kept that train rolling this past season. The recent success has helped Stanford produce several of its strongest recruiting classes in the last few seasons, but once Luck departs, will that overachieving tradition depart, too? Stanford will continue to play annual games against the Oregon Ducks, USC Trojans and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, along with several other Pac-12 foes, in which it will have a decided disadvantage in terms of recruiting ratings.