With less than two weeks until the 2013 National Signing Day for college football, it’s time to take a look at how the Pac-12 recruiting grind is shaping up. Schools like UCLA and Washington appear to be gaining ground, while others (USC and Oregon) try to hang on to valuable commitments.
Closer to home, the Arizona State Sun Devils remain in the hunt for a handful of coveted recruits.
Devils In Detail examined all the latest reports from the major recruiting services and compiled the following pre-signing day Pac-12 conference ranking.
2013 verbal pledges: 23
Key Commitments: Deon Hollins Jr., OLB, Missouri City, Texas; Priest Willis, S, Tempe, Ariz.; Tahaan Goodman, S, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Eldridge Massington, WR, Mesquite, Texas; John Johnson Jr., CB, Fresno, Calif.; Tyler Foreman, S, Encino, Calif.; Cameron Judge, LB, Westlake Village, Calif.; Alex Redmond, OG, Los Alamitos, Calif.
Analysis: UCLA has been on a roll of late, most recently earning commits from five-star safety Priest Willis and four-star safety Tahaan Goodman. The Bruins also picked up four-star CB John Johnson Jr. Under the leadership of coach Jim Mora, Jr., UCLA seems poised to challenge USC, Oregon, Stanford and Washington for bragging rights in the Pac-12 recruiting sweepstakes.
Naturally, this scenario hinges on Mora’s career plans and his possible return to the NFL in the near future.
2013 verbal pledges: 13
Key Commitments: Jalen Ramsey, CB, Brentwood, Tenn.; Kenny Bigelow, DT, Elkton, MD; Su’a Cravens, S, Murrieta, Calif.; Max Browne, QB, Sammamish, Wash.; Leon McQuay III, S, Seffner, Fla.; Michael Hutchings, OLB, Concord, Calif.; Chris Hawkins, CB, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Steven Mitchell, WR, Mission Hills, Calif.; Ty Isaac, athlete. Joliet, Ill.; Justin Davis, RB, Stockton, Calif.; Nico Falah, OT, Bellflower, Calif.; Torrodney Prevot, DE, Houston; Khaliel Rodgers, OG, Elkton MD.
Analysis: As a result of its tumultuous 2012 season, Southern California has suffered six de-commitments since November. Coach Lane Kiffin’s program is plagued by scholarship reductions, but the allure of Troy continues to be a strong incentive for blue chip prospects. Four open spots remain for Kiffin before Signing Day on February 6, and the Trojans are still pursuing linemen A’Shawn Robinson and Kylie Fitts, among others.
Many of the remaining players in USC’s 2013 class (six five-stars and seven four-stars) are at or near the top of their position categories.
2013 verbal pledges: 21
Key Commitments: Damore’ea Stringfellow, WR, Morena Valley, Calif.; Elijah Qualls, DT, Petaluma, Calif.; Darrell Daniels, WR, Oakley, Calif.; Troy Williams, QB, Harbor City, Calif.; Daeshon Hall, DE, Lancaster, TX; Jermaine Kelly, CB, Los Angeles, Calif.; Joe Mathis, DE, Upland, Calif.
Analysis: Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian appears to be addressing the Huskies’ defensive problems of last year with the class of 2013. Of his 21 commits, 12 are defensive prospects. Of the 12 defensive commits, three are tackles and three are defensive ends. Washington also remains in contention for USC de-commit Eddie Vanderdoes, a 6’3”, 310-pound defensive tackle from Auburn, Calif. Vanderdoes has been offered by almost every football power in the country.
2013 verbal pledges: 26
Key Commitments: Cameron Hunt, OT, Corona, Calif.; Takkarist McKinley, DE, Fremont, Calif.; Jared Goff, QB, Greenbrae, Calif.; Aaron Cochran, DT, Atwater, Calif.; Jack Austin, WR, Chino Hills, Calif.; LB Edward Tandy, Tustin, Calif.; Cameron Walker, CB, Los Angeles, Calif.
Analysis: New California coach Sonny Dykes has been leveraging the Golden Bears’ strong standing within the talent-rich California prep ranks to build his recruiting class. Cal is now closing the recruiting season with some serious momentum, picking up a commitment yesterday — their 7th in 10 days — from linebacker Johnny Ragin III of Wilsonville, Oregon. At 6’2″, 210 pounds, the four-star Ragin is a physical specimen, posting a 4.71 40 and a 33.8 inch vertical jump at a combine earlier this year.
5. ARIZONA STATE
2013 verbal pledges: 24
Key Commitments: Joshua Dobbs, QB, Alpharetta, Ga.; Chans Cox, LB, Lakeside, Ariz.; Marcus Hardison, Dodge City, KS; Ronald Lewis, WR, Harvey, LA; Viliami Latu, LB, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Antonio Longino, LB, Hutchinson, KS; Ellis Jefferson, WR, Denton, TX; Jaelen Strong, WR, Woodland Hills, Calif.; Demetrius Cherry, DE, San Pablo, Calif.
Analysis: Arizona State’s second-year coach, Todd Graham, believes in “Speaking Victory,” and one way to do it is to pursue the nation’s top junior college players. Four-star juco defensive tackle Marcus Hardison of Dodge City (Kan.) Community College recently announced his commitment to ASU, joining a defense that already includes DT Will Sutton, 2012 Pac-12 Player of the Year, and emerging star Carl Bradford at linebacker.
Hardison, 6’4”, 275 pounds, will bring another dominant presence to a Sun Devil D-line that terrorized opponents in 2012.
2013 verbal pledges: 13
Key Commitments: Thomas Tyner, RB, Beaverton, OR; Darren Carrington, WR, San Diego, Calif.; Tyree Robinson, Ath., San Diego, Calif.; Evan Voeller, OL, West Linn, OR; Dontre Wilson, RB, DeSoto, Texas; Chris Seisay, S, American Canyon, Calif.; Danny Mattingly, LB, Spokane, WA.
Analysis: With the departure of Chip Kelly as Oregon head coach, some recruiting pundits wondered if the Ducks would suffer from a rash of de-commits. Not likely. ESPN 300 members Cameron Hunt (Corona, Calif./Centennial), Torrodney Prevot (Houston, Texas/Alief Taylor) and Zach Cunningham (Pinson, Ala./Pinson Valley) were all in Eugene over the weekend and all three liked what they saw.
New coach Mark Helfrich and his staff are quietly assembling a class of high-quality recruits that will enable Oregon to continue its high-scoring, bowl-winning ways.
2013 verbal pledges: 26
Key Commitments: Mario Alford, Ath., Milledgeville, GA; Anu Solomon, QB, Las Vegas, Nev.; Pierre Cormier, APB, San Diego, Calif.; Derek Bablash, CB, Poway, Calif.; Brandon Golson, Milledgeville, GA; Samajie Grant, athlete, Ontario, Calif.
Analysis: In his second year at Arizona, coach Rich Rodriguez hopes to add the right players to bolster his volatile spread offense. For example, Anu Solomon is a dual-threat quarterback with the necessary skills to put points on the board. With offensive lineman Logan Scott, who’s already enrolled in Tucson, the Wildcats gain a 6’3”, 300-pound standout to help block for running back Da’Keem Carey.
8. OREGON STATE
2013 verbal pledges: 20
Key Commitments: Dashon Hunt, CB, Westlake, Calif.; Edwin Delva, DT, Landcaster, Calif.; Steve Nelson, DB, Visalia, Calif.; Sean Harlow, OL, San Clemente, Calif.; Jordan Villamin, WR, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Hunter Jarmon, WR, Waco, Texas.
Analysis: Oregon State may have hit pay dirt with the commitment of CB Dashon Hunt, who is tough in coverage and does a great job of jumping routes. While Hunt doesn’t have elite speed, he’s fast enough that when he can jump a route, he’s gone. The Beavers also increased their commitment list last week with the pledge of wide receiver Hunter Jarmon. The 6’1”, 190-pound, four-star receiver has the size and wingspan needed to make plays against quality West Coast defensive backs.
Oregon State coaches spent the past weekend recruiting instead of hosting official visitors in Corvallis. The coaches traveled across the nation, including stops in Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, Utah, California, Oregon, Hawaii and American Samoa.
2013 verbal pledges: 27
Key Commitments: Dre’Vian Young, Houston, TX; Andre Lewis, WR, Pleasant Hill, Calif.; Lowell Lotulelei, DT, South Jordan, Utah; Tevin Carter, S, Los Angeles, Calif.; Brandon Cox, QB, Pasadena, Calif.; Davion Ophrey, DB, Santa Ana, Calif.; Carlos Henderson, Ath., New Orleans, LA; Harrison Handley, TE, Sandy, Utah.
Analysis: Utah continues to find its footing on the highly competitive Pac-12 recruiting landscape. The Utes just snagged four-star DT Lowell Lotulelei, who’s been one of the most heavily recruited defensive linemen in the West this year, as well as Salesi Uhatafe, a 6’5″, 315-pound offensive lineman out of Trinity High School in Euless, Texas. Utah also landed four-star juco transfer Davion Orphey back in October.
2013 verbal pledges: 12
Key Commitments: Peter Kalambayl, LB, Matthews, NC; Kevin Palma, LB, Tulare, Calif.; Francis Owusu, WR, Westlake Village, Calif.; Eric Cotton, TE, Nampa, ID; Ryan Burns, QB, Ashburn, VA; Greg Taboada, Ath., Atlanta, GA; Austin Hooper, DE, Concord, Calif.
Analysis: What can you say about Stanford? They remain at the forefront for many of the best and brightest recruits in the land. Gaining admission to the school is never easy, but the Cardinal finds a way to put an increasingly talented squad on the field every year. There’s no reason to believe this won’t continue in 2013.
11. WASHINGTON STATE
2013 verbal pledges: 24
Key Commitments: Tyler Bruggman, QB, Phoenix, Ariz.; Ivan McLennan, LB, Torrance, Calif.; Vince Mayle, WR, Rocklin, Calif.; Ivan McLennan, LB, Torrance, Calif.; Daquawn Brown, DB, Los Angeles, Calif.; Paulo Lepua, DT, Harbor City, Calif.
Analysis: Washington State Coach Mike Leach loves versatile quarterbacks, and Phoenix Brophy Prep’s Tyler Bruggman fills the bill. Bruggman has solid arm strength, throws a very nice deep ball and his accuracy on the shorter routes is very good. His skills are well suited to the Cougars “air-it-out” style of play. Junior college wide receiver Vince Mayle is a big, physical receiver who’s also ideal for Leach’s offense. Wassu most recently picked up WR Charleston White, who could be a productive player on either side of the ball.
2013 verbal pledge: 15
Key Commitments: Sefo Liufau, QB, Tacoma, WA; Devin Ross, WR, Mission Hills, Calif.; Bryce Bobo, WR, Covina, Calif.; Colin Sutton, OL, Orange, Calif.
Analysis: The coaching turmoil in Boulder has undoubtedly made it difficult for first-year headman Mike MacIntyre to assemble a strong recruiting class. The Buffaloes are in need of a talent infusion at almost every position to gain competitive traction in the Pac-12 South. They recently attracted running back Ryan Severson of San Jose, Calif., and outside linebacker Addison Gillam of Santa Ana, Calif.