Stanford’s Football Future Looks Bright

![New Stanford head football coach Jim Harbaugh smiles during a news conference, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2006, in Stanford, Calif. Harbaugh, who spent the last three years as head coach at the University of San Diego, replaces Walt Harris. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)](/content/uploads/AP061219018258.jpg)
New Stanford head football coach Jim Harbaugh smiles during a news conference, Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2006, in Stanford, Calif. Harbaugh, who spent the last three years as head coach at the University of San Diego, replaces Walt Harris. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
From a record of 1-11 to 4-8 to 5-7, the Stanford football team has done nothing but improve over the last few years. After two years under head coach Jim Harbaugh, the Cardinal look as competitive as they’ve been since former head coach Tyrone Willingham left at the end of the 2001 season. And the future only looks brighter as the team returns many of its top players next year—including star running back Toby Gerhart. Perhaps the biggest excitement for Cardinal football fans is the outstanding 2009 recruiting class Coach Harbaugh has put together.

High school recruits are graded on a five-star system, with a five-star ranking reserved for a small number of the country’s most elite prospects, four stars given to the rest of the nation’s best players, and three-star prospects rounding out the top tier. Thus far, 22 recruits have committed to Stanford, including eight four-star recruits and twelve three-stars. Rivals.com currently has Stanford’s 2009 recruiting class ranked sixteenth in the nation, while Scout.com has them ranked ninth. Both sites have Stanford ranked third in the Pac-10 behind juggernaut USC and the UCLA Bruins, who jumped ahead after a big signing day on February 4th. Nevertheless, the promise of this year’s recruiting class is impressive. Top players who have committed so far include middle linebacker Shayne Skov (ranked third in the nation at his position), fullback Tyler Gaffney (also ranked third at his position), and tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo (ranked fourth and six, respectively).

Harbaugh has also received commitments from several top running backs, wide receivers, defensive linemen, and quarterbacks. Ultimately, the Stanford football future is very bright, and students and fans have a lot to look forward to next season.

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