Stanford's recruiting classes impact -- No. 5

We begin a look at Stanford's top-5 impactful recruiting classes of the past decade.

No. 5: 2006

Bring up the name Walt Harris on the Stanford campus, and there's a decent chance it will elicit a blank stare.

His stint as the Cardinal's head coach was about as memorable as The Sandlot 2 and, for those who remember him, his name still carries a He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named vibe. It can be argued that the most positive part of Harris' tenure was that he was so bad so quickly that it allowed former athletic director Bob Bowlsby to fire him after just two seasons and bring in Jim Harbaugh.

That's not to say Harris didn't leave some lasting positive contributions. His final recruiting class checks in at No. 5, and the 2007 class, which he laid the groundwork for, will appear later this week.

As far as star power goes, few classes will ever rival the two names that headline the Class of 2006: Toby Gerhart and Richard Sherman.

Gerhart finished second in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 2009 and led the Cardinal to its first winning season since 2001. Perhaps more than any other player, he helped develop the program's current reputation for toughness.

Sherman's impact at Stanford doesn't match what it has been in the NFL, but the one-time receiver's association with the program is still paying dividends. He's a regular at Stanford games during Seahawks bye weeks and a frequent visitor in the offseason.

Gerhart wasn't around for a fifth year in 2010, but his remaining classmates were a part of one of the best Stanford teams of all time. The Cardinal finished 12-1 and routed Virginia Tech 40-12 in the Orange Bowl, which began a string of four straight appearances in BCS bowls.

Other notable players from the class include DT Sione Fua, a second-round NFL draft pick in 2011, DE Brian Bulcke, now in the Canadian Football League and OL Derek Hall, who spent a year on the 49ers practice squad.