STANFORD -- Stanford's 2013 recruiting class didn't impress the recruiting services, but it did wonders for coach David Shaw's blood pressure.

The 12-player class was sealed weeks ago, allowing Shaw to spend the morning of national signing day watching film and listening to Jack Johnson on Pandora.

"There was no suspense in our day," he said Wednesday, after the class became official, "so, I had a relaxing morning."

The situation stood in stark contrast to last year's experience, when a tension-filled signing day ultimately produced the highest-ranked class in Stanford history.

The major recruiting services weren't so kind to the Cardinal this time around.

Scout ranked Stanford's class No. 59 nationally, while Rivals slotted it four spots lower. Both services ranked the group 11th in the Pac-12, ahead of only Colorado.

But the rankings are based partly on class size, and Stanford was limited in numbers because it has so few seniors on the 2013 roster.

Eliminate quantity from the equation, and Stanford's class ranks fifth in the conference, with an average rating of 3.17 stars (out of 5) per player.

"When you combine this class with last year's haul, they did an amazing job and filled all their needs," said Greg Biggins, a national recruiting analyst for Scout and FOX Sports.

The '13 group includes one quarterback, Ryan Burns, of Leesburg, Va., and is heavy on linebackers and tight ends.


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There is one familiar last name -- receiver Francis Owusu is the brother of former Cardinal wideout Chris Owusu -- and one player from the Bay Area: tight end Austin Hooper, from De La Salle High in Concord.

"He can play on either side of the ball, but we love the possibilities at tight end," Shaw said.

Burns, the quarterback, has no experience in a prostyle offense but attended Stanford's summer camp two years ago and "blew us away," Shaw said. "He picked things up very quickly."

Because Stanford's class was small in size and devoid of last-minute drama, the coaches were able to get an early start on the 2014 recruiting class, which will be larger in size and, most likely, greater in stature.

"When our coaches flew somewhere, they could see one guy in this class and five guys in next year's class," Shaw said. "We're further ahead. We know where guys are, and we're already building relationships."

  • If you're looking for a sleeper in Stanford's incoming class, consider tight end Eric Cotton, a three-star prospect who reportedly had scholarship offers from Army, Idaho and Air Force.

    "To see what he did at our camp, and his skill set and his frame -- the offer list just didn't add up," said recruiting coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford. "We were on him early, so he didn't have the natural progression to gain 40 offers."

  • For the first time in decades -- and perhaps ever -- Stanford signed players from the state's traditional northern and southern private school powers: De La Salle (Hooper) and Mater Dei (offensive lineman David Bright).

    "That's a neat thing for us," Sanford said.

  • Stanford starts spring practice Feb. 25 and will divide its workouts into two sessions with a multiweek break in the middle.

    The Cardinal and White game is April 13 at Stanford Stadium (3 p.m.).

    For more on college sports, see Jon Wilner's College Hotline at blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports. Contact him at jwilner@mercurynews.com or 408-920-5716.

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    11/5
    According to scout.com, Stanford's 12-player class was 11th in the Pac-12, ahead of Colorado. But the 3.17 star rating of the players is fifth behind USC, UCLA, Oregon and Washington.