If I were a recruit who could qualify for Stanford and they offered a scholarship, it would be a done deal assuming my support network understood the value of a degree from Stanford. If they are in my ear about other schools it might be a problem. But if they have half a clue, they will correctly choose Stanford.
If Harbaugh leaves, then all bets are off. Chances are that he will get offers like his brother in the NFL.
If he is smart he stays put, he will build Stanford into a college football juggernaut.
OSU needs to re-position itself to compete. Although OSU has some great academic credentials, most are only relevant in the NW. And honestly, I don't live in Oregon and I see zero value add with my degree from OSU. I work in tech/venture capital/finance and there are minimal OSU grads to network with. OSU will need to pull kids because of the head coach 90% of the time. The network/credentials won't cut it. USC and UCLA are not at Stanford's level. Cal is, but they are too left wing.
Stanford is not geographically challenged as OSU is. If you wanted a job in Indiana and had a Stanford undergrad degree- the odds are in your favor. Even against Purdue/Notre Dame grads. A USC degree is only valuable in LA. Same for UCLA.
This is not about kissing Stanford's ass, it is a wake up call to OSU coaches/admin. They have to come up with a strong value proposition to get the top talent. Smart and athletic talent. Yes, having an aggressive coach who demands winning would help, but until Riley is gone and there is an option- the Beav's need some PR. And perhaps a coach who can take things to the next level.
That sad part is that most of the $$ folks in OSU's network still remember the 28 year drought and will be happy with a winning program. I can't say I blame them.