When Jim Harbaugh left the program he had built to join the San Francisco 49ers on January 7, 2011, Stanford football stood at a crossroads. Most observers believed the program would crumble and that the assembled recruiting class would splinter in the four weeks that remained before National Signing Day, but that didn't happen. This series will take a closer look at some of the players from that landmark class who are poised for greatness in 2013.
According to most of the recruiting experts, James Vaughters was the jewel of Stanford's 2011 recruiting class. Boasting offers from all the big schools -- Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, and a dozen more -- he was one of the most hotly pursued prospects in America. He committed to Jim Harbaugh and the Cardinal in June before his senior season at Georgia's Tucker High School, but during the week before signing day speculation swirled that he was having second thoughts.
In the end he chose to stick with Stanford, providing further proof that the program had become more than just Harbaugh.