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Stanford's recruiting classes impact -- No. 1

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

No. 1: 2008

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