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A look at quarterback recruiting under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford

With word that Jim Harbaugh is possibly visiting with a 2015 quarterback out of Texas, we take a look at how Harbaugh recruited the quarterback position at Stanford.

Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

With the Jim Harbaugh era officially underway at Michigan, so is the race towards the finish line of National Signing Day 2015.

Michigan currently has two in-state players in Alex Malzone (quarterback) and Brian Cole (ATH) early enrolled and ready to participate in winter conditioning. The rest of the 2015 class only has four other commits. With a relatively small class to work with, Harbaugh is going to need a final push to try to somewhat salvage this class.

The first bit of interesting news trickled out on Sunday via Twitter:

McLane Carter is a 2015 pro-style quarterback from Gilmer, Texas. Currently not ranked in any of the major recruiting website databases, the only piece of information that can be found from him is his game film. It's clear that Carter is potentially a "sleeper" pick for Harbaugh.

Which got us to thinking, if Harbaugh already has one committed quarterback enrolled now in Malzone, is securing multiple quarterbacks in a recruiting class a recruiting trend for him? Or is this something out of pure necessity for the depth chart?

We broke down Harbaugh's time at Stanford (2007-2010) to find the answers.

2007 Recruiting Class

Name 247Composite Star Rating
Kellen Kiilsgaard ✭✭✭
L.D. Crow ✭✭✭

The 2007 Stanford recruiting class saw Harbaugh (or whatever he had to salvage with this class) taking two quarterbacks. However, when searching for the Stanford careers of both Kiilsgaard and Crow yielded little results. In fact, Kiilsgaard was a two-sport player coming out of high school and wound up having a successful baseball career with the Cardinal. He was drafted in the 30th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros and a 2009 All-Pac Ten selection in baseball.

For the football side of things, Kiilsgaard switched, with the approval of Harbaugh, to safety in 2007.

For Crow, he redshirted with Stanford in 2007 and did not see playing time in 2008. He would later transfer to Central Florida and would play in four games in 2010. For the last year of eligibility, Crow would play for the West Liberty Hilltoppers of the WVIAC and would see game action in all 11 games that season.

2008 Recruiting Class

Name 247Composite Star Rating
Andrew Luck

This recruiting class does not need much introduction as we are all well aware how Luck turned out in college.

The 2008 recruiting class is the only class under Harbaugh that features only one signed quarterback and this one particular was a good one. Arguably the number one overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Luck stayed for his redshirt junior season and would later go on to be the number one pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts and replace legendary quarterback Peyton Manning.

During his time at Stanford, he left the Cardinal holding eight Stanford career records in passing, six single season Stanford records, two Pac-12 career records and one single season Pac-12 records. He also finished as the runner up of the Heisman Trophy in consecutive seasons.

Although Harbaugh did not see the end of Luck's career, he did have a major impact of the development of his collegiate career.

2009 Recruiting Class

Name 247Composite Star Rating
Josh Nunes ✭✭✭✭
Taysom Hill

Although Taysom Hill is listed in the 247Sports database as signing his LOI, Hill actually never made it Stanford. It's explained in this Salt Lake Tribune article from 2012:Hill said the primary reason he didn't return to Stanford had nothing to do with Harbaugh at all, or his replacement, David Shaw.

Rather, Hill said he learned on his mission that Stanford does not allow incoming freshmen to join the team until June each year. Hill returned home after two years in Australia last December, enrolled at BYU in January, and immediately received a scholarship.

"Stanford wanted me to come home four or five months early from my mission, and be home for last football season," Hill said. "And I didn't want to do that. So they said I could come home when I did, but would [have to] be at home [in Pocatello, Idaho] for four or five months before I could get into school. I didn't want to do either of those options."

With that, Hill would later move on to BYU and start at quarterback. In a funny twist of fate, Hill will be facing Harbaugh this season as BYU and Michigan are scheduled to meet on Sept., 26.

Nunes is famously known for an unfortunate and tragic weight lifting accident that forced him to retire from college football. Nunes was named the starting quarterback for Stanford in 2012 and even led the Cardinal to an upset to then number-two USC at the time. Shortly after, Nunes would see himself start to struggle and was later replaced by redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan that season.

2010 Recruiting Class

Name 247Composite Star Rating
Brett Nottingham ✭✭✭✭
Dallas Lloyd ✭✭✭
Darren Daniel ✭✭✭
David Olson N/A

For arguments sake, Harbaugh accepted the San Francisco head coach position in January of 2011. Considering he had the majority of the time to recruit, the 2010 recruiting class can technically be considered his.

This class saw a considerable number of quarterbacks taken... and also saw a considerable amount of transfers.

Out of all four quarterbacks that were taken in the 2010 recruiting class, two of them remained on roster and only one of them was a quarterback.

Nottingham saw himself lost on the quarterback depth chart and announced that he was transferring from Stanford after Hogan was announced as the starting quarterback when Nunes struggled. Nottingham ended up at Columbia and was benched after throwing three interceptions against Monmouth in 2014. Nottingham left the team after the benching.

Lloyd was one of the two quarterbacks who stayed at Stanford throughout his career. However, he would be transferred to the strong safety position as a junior in 2014 after seeing minimal playing time throughout his career.

Daniel was another quarterback who did not see game action and would later transfer from Stanford. He would end up at Itawamba Community College where he would struggle to perform. Daniel would find himself transferring again to Alabama State where he has not seen playing time.

Olson, who is widely not ranked in the databases, stayed all four years at Stanford at the quarterback position. He did not see game action until his senior year in 2013, where it appears he saw game action against Washington State. Olson was named Stanford's Defensive Scout Team Player of the Week for the week of Sept. 28.


Though it appears that Harbaugh could be looking at more than one quarterback in the 2015 class, it doesn't necessarily mean he will follow the same trends as he did at Stanford. However, with some of the same staff with relatively similar philosophies, we could see more of the same at Michigan.