With players he inherited from predecessor
Despite high admission standards that have hamstrung even excellent recruiters, Harbaugh has beaten teams with more recent football success for players. The first sign that Harbaugh had something special going was the June 2007 commitment of Houston quarterback
In building the class of 2009, though, Harbaugh has beaten traditional football powers head-to-head. He beat Florida to get commitments from Helix (San Diego) tight end
So how does Harbaugh do it? "The way Stanford recruited me was a lot different from everybody else," said Toilolo, a 6-foot-8, 239-pounder from the same high school that produced former USC tailback
That personal touch is only the beginning. While high academic standards can handicap schools such as Stanford, Notre Dame, Duke and Vanderbilt in recruiting, Harbaugh and his staff have managed to turn those standards into an advantage when pursuing the 100-150 players a year who are good enough to compete at the Pac-10 level and capable of competing in the classroom at Stanford. "He really showed me that Stanford presents the best of both worlds," Toilolo said.
Harbaugh does have an advantage over his counterparts in South Bend, Durham and Nashville. While those schools offer exceptional academic programs, Stanford can boast the top academic program in all of Division I-A. "You're talking about a universe of one at Stanford," Harbaugh told
With such a limited talent pool to choose from, Harbaugh and his staff have done well identifying players early and building a relationship before the power schools pick up the scent. Remember, the football factories want academically focused players, too. They listen, they lead and they're less likely to wind up on the police blotter. But if Harbaugh can reach them as sophomores and juniors and ensure they keep their grades at a level that would allow them to get into Stanford, he can nullify the built-in advantage the factories enjoy.
Of course, Harbaugh's success on the field and on the recruiting trail raises a thorny question. How long will he remain in Palo Alto? All it takes is one good season to draw interest from schools looking to upgrade their staff. According to Toilolo, Harbaugh doesn't seem interested in making that jump.
"That's something you look at before you commit, how long the coach is going to be there," Toilolo said. "But Coach Harbaugh seems pretty comfortable at Stanford."
"I had no intention to commit," Forcier said. "I was of the mindset that I was going to take all five official visits. Somehow, [Michigan] managed to pull it off."
Forcier said Michigan's loss to Utah on Saturday didn't deter him. If anything, it showed him that he'll have a chance to compete for the starting job when he enrolls in January. He said the notion to commit hit him Sunday after a meeting with Rodriguez. Just to make sure, Forcier called his brother,
Forcier's commitment came less than a month after Chesapeake, Va., quarterback
Recruitniks will get two chances this week to watch high-profile prospects play on national television. Tonight at 9 on ESPN2, USC-bound quarterback
Friday at 8 on ESPNU, a showdown for supremacy in the Tampa Bay area will feature several prospects. Plant (Tampa), with Georgia-bound quarterback
I'm taking part in an online panel discussion of
In my first post, I imagined what might have happened to fullback