We asked the members of the recruiting coverage staff which school's class surprised them the most this year. Here are their responses.
Jeremy Crabtree's answer: There isn't much debate for me: Stanford. The Cardinal's average national recruiting ranking the past three years was 51st, but coach Jim Harbaugh reeled in the school's first top-25 class since 2003. The Cardinal did a tremendous job in California and nationally. You could make a case for Michigan State, but the Spartans are a winning program. Stanford isn't - yet - but that might change after a recruiting class like this.
Mike Farrell's answer: To me, the biggest surprise has to be Stanford. For Jim Harbaugh and his staff to put together a national top-20 class with all of the academic restrictions they face is remarkable. The last time Stanford finished in the top 25 was in 2003, and to finish just behind UCLA for the No. 3 slot in the Pac-10 this year is outstanding. Stanford has more academic hurdles than any "Big Six" program, and it's not even close - and Harbaugh still pulled in a top-20 class.
Barton Simmons' answer: Mississippi State had plenty of excuses this year. The Bulldogs went 4-8 and the season was characterized by a complete absence of offense. A charismatic head coach was fired before the recruiting homestretch, and that coincided with a resurgence from archrival Ole Miss. Despite that, Mississippi State added its best quarterback prospect in years (Tyler Russell), more defensive standouts (Fletcher Cox and Josh Boyd) and a perfect candidate - Chad Bumphis - to play the role of Percy Harvin in new coach Dan Mullen's offense. The Bulldogs finished in the top 25 in recruiting and signed 14 of the top 30 recruits in Mississippi.