When Ty Montgomery arrived on campus in the summer of 2011, he joined a team that was only just beginning to breathe the rare air at the top of the college football mountain. Fresh off a thrashing of Virginia Tech in the 2011 Orange Bowl but transitioning from Jim Harbaugh to David Shaw, the program was at something of a crossroads. Most observers fully expected a regression following Harbaugh's departure, but Montgomery was a key member of a recruiting class that built on the former coach's success and established Stanford football as a national brand.
Montgomery was unlike any Stanford recruit in recent memory. He was physically imposing, big enough to dwarf most opposing cornerbacks but still fast enough to beat them off the line of scrimmage. Even before he had caught a single pass, the expectation was that he would eventually develop into one of most complete players in Stanford history. He did not disappoint.