It's difficult to talk about Stanford football without acknowledging the perceptions and stereotypes that surround the program even to this day. A decade ago most people felt the admissions requirements were too severe to allow the football program to be competitive on a consistent basis. Sure, you could get lucky and get a quarterback once in a while, but beyond that?
When Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw arrived in 2007 they wanted to change these perceptions, but first they had to change the reality of what was happening on the field. Firm in their belief that a powerful offensive line is the foundation of any successful team (and aware that there tend to be a fair amount of academically-minded offensive linemen available), they started there. They found a valedictorian from Texas to play quarterback, they found receivers who were great route runners, they found huge tight ends who were matchup nightmares, and they signed intelligent linebackers and safeties who could captain the defense.
What they couldn't quite do, however, was convince any of the best high school cornerbacks to come to Stanford. And then Richard Sherman happened.