PALO ALTO, Calif. -- On the surface, Stanford's 2015 recruiting class is impressive enough. It's a group that finished No. 27 in the nation, included five ESPN 300 prospects and hit needs all over the board, including four standout defensive backs and five offensive linemen.
But the most impressive thing about the effort head coach David Shaw and his staff turned in with the 2015 class is that at the end of the cycle, all 22 recruits went through the Stanford admissions process and were admitted to the school. Every one of that group of 22 signed with Stanford.
Signing 100 percent of the recruits in your available pool is virtually unheard of in college football recruiting, but Stanford has turned into an overwhelming favorite for any recruit who makes it through its difficult admissions gauntlet.
"We will not always bat one thousand," said Mike Eubanks, Stanford's Associate Athletics Director and Director of Recruiting and Football Relations. "But we are going to hit a much higher percentage than I can imagine any other program in college football because they don't have part of their process built in that already selects who should get to the end of the game. It is a very self-selecting process."
Because of that, Stanford has been one of the programs to dominate the close toward signing day in three of the past four years -- the exception being the small, 12-member 2013 class.
In 2012, Stanford grabbed commitments from Andrus Peat, Kyle Murphy, Joshua Garnett, Barry Sanders Jr., Aziz Shittu, Zach Hoffpauir and Michael Rector between Jan. 7 and signing day on Feb. 1. In 2014, ESPN 300 prospects Solomon Thomas, Casey Tucker, Dalton Schultz and Reilly Gibbons, as well as Jesse Burkett and Terrence Alexander, all committed between Jan. 16 and signing day.
While rival Pac-12 programs have fared just fine on the recruiting trail -- Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA and USC all finished higher in the 2015 class rankings than Stanford, with the Trojans all the way up at No. 3 -- those waiting for the Cardinal to fall off the pace of the regular recruiting giants might be waiting for some time. With Stanford already proving how it can close a class, the Cardinal are off to a red-hot start on the 2016 group, with three ESPN 300 prospects committing. The Cardinal got commitments from tight end Kaden Smith and quarterback K.J. Costello -- both No. 3 nationally at their position -- and No. 13 offensive tackle Clark Yarbrough, who announced his commitment Tuesday. The defensive side of the ball is off to a terrific start as well, with potential additions at each position group in defensive tackle Bo Peek, outside linebacker Curtis Robinson and cornerbacks Nygel Edmonds and Malik Antoine.