Stanford continues our 12-part series where we are ranking the best recruits to sign with each Pac-12 school since the advent of serious recruiting coverage on the Internet (2002 serving as the furthest year back that you can find rankings for players online). Our rankings are put together by combining players' rankings from recruiting sites, offers and the amount of hype that surrounded their singings.
Please note that these are taking only into account how highly-rated players were coming out of high school, not their college careers. So please, no angry, insult-laden comments about how only a child murderer wouldn't realize that LaMichael James (Or any player who had a great college career, but was an under-the-radar recruit) should be number three on the list.
1. Trent Edwards Class of 2002 QB Los Gatos, CA
A rangy quarterback with great accuracy and arm strength, Edwards was a smart player that was rated as one of the top quarterbacks in the country in 2002. Unlike top quarterbacks now, Edwards stretched out his recruitment before selecting Stanford over UCLA and Michigan. Edwards was a solid, but not great quarterback at Stanford, so it was a bit of surprise when he started having a good NFL career that is still going.
2. Andrew Luck Class of 2008 QB Houston, TX - Stratford
Despite seeming like he was made in an ideal quarterback lab, Luck actually wasn't one of the absolute top-rated quarterbacks coming out of high school but was still seen as a very good prospect. Luck turned down a lot of top schools in his region to end up signing with the Cardinal and was crowned as being the guy who could turn the program around from the moment he signed. As we all know, Luck became an All-American and a first overall draft pick by the Colts.
3. Shayne Skov Class of 2009 LB Pawling, NY - Trinity-Pawling
A big, prototypical linebacker with great athleticism and energy, Skov was maybe the top inside linebacker in his class. Skov settled on the Cardinal early and shut his recruitment down with just a visit to Palo Alto. Skov has been great at Stanford and is a potential All-American heading into his senior season.
4. Alex Fletcher Class of 2004 C Melville, NY - St. Anthony's
Probably the top center in his class, Fletcher looked like a beat in high school and was just a big, stout guy that was great at blowing open holes. Even thought the Cardinal were terrible at the time, Fletcher ended up committing to Stanford very early. Fletcher ended up being a very good starter for the Cardinal before going to the NFL where he would eventually retire early due to kidney problems.
5. Kyle Murphy Class of 2012 T San Clemente, CA
A long, 6'7 left tackle type, Murphy was a dream offensive lineman that drew attention from all over the country. The Cardindal recruited Murphy very hard and he became the crown jewel of their epic 2012 offensive line class when he chose them over USC and Oregon. Murphy played as a true freshman and is expected to become a starter soon.
6. Joshua Garnett Class of 2012 G Puyallup, WA
Like Murphy at guard, Garnett is almost perfect for the position with his strength, balance and smarts. Garnett drug out his recruitment and considered Michigan and Notre Dame, but ended up signing with the Cardinal who were his leader all along. Garnett played a bit in 2012 as a true freshman and is expected to keep developing into a starter.
7. Julian Jenkins Class of 2002 DE College Park, GA - Woodward Academy
One of the best players in the South in the Class of 2002, Jenkins was a five-star prospect that was a great athlete with outstanding athleticism for a defensive lineman. Jenkins entertained a bevy of elite programs and ended up choosing the Cardinal over Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame and Penn State. Jenkins ended up being a standout for the Cardinal and was drafted in the fifth round by the Buccaneers before a short NFL career.
8. Andrus Peat Class of 2012 T Tempe, AZ - Corona Del Sol
Another perfect tackle prospect, Peat was tall at 6'7, long, lean and athletic with a massive ceiling. Peat had an intense recruitment and considered following his brother to Nebraska or going to USC before signing with Stanford. Peat got some time in 2012 as a true freshman and should get even more in 2013.
9. Ekom Udofia Class of 2005 DT Scottsdale, AZ - Chaparral
Udofia was a freak as he ran a 4.9 40 at 320 pounds and was one of the most coveted players out West in 2005. Another guy who chose the Cardinal over elite schools when they were really bad, Udofia signed with Stanford over Miami, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and USC. Like a lot of guys on this list, Udofia ended up having a good, not great career with the Cardinal and had a short NFL career.
10. James Vaughters Class of 2011 LB Tucker, GA
A massive inside linebacker, Vaughters had an NFL body in college and athleticism that made him one of the top linebackers in the country. Vaughters only visited the Cardinal and chose them over every big time school in the South. Vaughters has quickly become one of the better players on a loaded Stanford defense.
Kevin Hogan Class of 2011 QB Washington, DC - Gonzaga College
Peter Kalambayi Class of 2013 LB Matthews, NC - Butler
Wayne Lyons Class of 2011 S Fort Lauderdale, FL - Dillard
Brett Nottingham Class of 2010 QB Danville, CA - Monte Vista
T.C. Ostrander Class of 2003 QB Atherton, CA - Menlo-Atherton