Jim Harbaugh's attempts to recruit East Coast talent is paying off for Stanford in a big way this recruiting cycle as the Cardinal are stockpiling talent from the other side of the country, a move that can only help them get other top players in the future.
The latest to commit is three-star quarterback Kevin Hogan from Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga who picked Stanford over offers from Boston College, Clemson, Maryland, New Mexico, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, Virginia and others.
"Hogan has a lot of upside because he's big and he can make all the throws," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said. "He has some mechanical issues with his delivery and he's raw, but he has good footwork, throws on balance and is accurate. Once he fixes his release, he could be a big-time quarterback."
There's a lot of upside for Hogan but two East Coast linebackers - James Vaughters and Anthony Sarao - have already proven to be big-time players.
Vaughters, from Tucker, Ga., is rated as the fifth-best inside linebacker nationally and Sarao, out of Absecon (N.J.) Holy Spirit, is seventh on the outside linebacker list by Rivals.com.
Both had multiple offers, some from schools much closer to home, but both decided on Stanford, a credit to Harbaugh and his coaching staff's reach across the country. Rivals.com recruiting analyst Barry Every said Vaughters is a natural leader and Farrell was complimentary of Sarao, too.
"Sarao is a homerun if they can hang onto him," Farrell said. "He is a sideline to sideline
menace who plays with quick twitch ability and always at top speed. He's a hitter, he can cover and he has the hips of a defensive back. He's not the biggest linebacker out there, but he plays bigger and size will not be an issue as a weak-side or middle."
One of the most impressive recruiting jobs done this cycle has been on Devon Cajuste, from Flushing (N.Y.) Holy Cross, who had offers from Penn State, Boston College, Connecticut, Maryland, Purdue, Rutgers and Syracuse.
Despite all the local attention, Cajuste visited Palo Alto in recent weeks and fell in love - so much so that he decided to commit, saying it was an honor to play Stanford football.
Prior to his visit, it was make-or-break for Stanford because it was the only West Coast school recruiting Cajuste but the coaching staff convinced the kid from right outside New York City that Palo Alto was the place for him. Plus, he's a pretty good football player, too.
"Cajuste is a big, athletic kid who could be a huge wide receiver or a tight end," Farrell said. "He reminds me a little of Jim Dray who was successful at Stanford and he's a steal from the East Coast because of his versatility. He was highly coveted by many East Coast schools."
Another prospect that decided to head west is 6-foot-3, 275-pound offensive guard Kevin Reihner out of Scranton (Pa.) Scranton Prep. He's rated No. 13 in the Pennsylvania state rankings by Rivals.com and Farrell said he has lots of potential.
"Reihner is the son of a former Penn State offensive lineman who will play with a chip on his shoulder because he was slighted by his dad's school," Farrell said. "He is athletic
with room to fill out and he reaches the second level well so I can see him as a successful pulling guard at Stanford or even a center."
The Cardinal have also received a commitment from Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic defensive back Shutang Mungwa and are still after some top East Coast talent. With Harbaugh's recruiting acumen, it wouldn't be a surprise if some other top prospects decide to travel across the country to play their college football.