The Pac10 was as wild and crazy during the recruiting year as just about every other conference this season. As a matter of fact there was a battle being waged on signing day for the services of RB Marcus O’Keith between Pac 10 foes Cal and Washington. Unlike the Bears luck with Washington over the years, Cal wins this one! In another tough recruiting battle the Huskies lost out for the services of JUCO All-American DL Chris Solamona to yikes the dreaded Ducks.
All in all, it was a very interesting year along the recruiting front.
Anyone who watches this league knows how tough it is. The Pac did a great job from top to bottom and every team has a player or two to hang their hat on.
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Like always the difference from the top spot to the bottom is many times a couple of player that develop compared to a couple players that have to quit playing the game due to injury.
Remember it is never one class, but a combination of classes that makes a good team down the road.
Here’s how we feel the Pac 10 fared this recruiting season:
1. USC – Landing the Poly Four is a huge feather in the cap of Pete Carroll and the Trojans. Yeah they lost future supers Lorenzo Booker and Patrick Watkins to FSU, but all in all a solid effort for PC. This ranking has to go with asterisk, there are some academic issues that have to be addressed with some Troy’s recruits. Still a great effort!
2. UCLA – UCLA started strong and finished strong this season, bucking the trend that the Bruins were fast out of the gate and barely breathing at the finish. Bob Toledo and company were able land the nation’s #1 TE prospect Marcedes Lewis early in the recruiting process and picked up true blue athlete Mike Nixon, standout linebacker Justin London and Jarrad Page late to finish with a flourish. If any of SC’s top recruits falter with their academics, then UCLA will take the top spot.
3. Washington – The Huskies looked to have a top ten to top five class but couldn’t close on five-star players RB Lorenzo Booker (FSU), DL Haloti Ngata (Oregon) and DL Jonathan Mapu (Tennessee). Still this Huskies’ class is a combination of quantity and quality. The Huskies improved themselves with stellar trenchmen on both sides of the ball. QB Isaiah Stanback leads this star studded class.
4. Stanford – Many times when you lose your popular head coach down the home stretch of the recruiting season, disaster strikes. You can hear many Cardinal fans say this “Bud’s” for you. As in new Stanford head coach Buddy Teevens. Teevens and company did a great job keeping the Stanford class together! Buddy’s first order of business was to secure the signatures of Cardinal QB of the future in Trent Edwards and future star DL Julian Jenkins.
5. Arizona State – The Sun Devils inked the Pac 10 largest class with 30 signings. Dirk Koetter and company penned 22 incoming freshmen and eight JUCO transfers. ASU addressed their needs on both sides of the ball and landed players who will fit into Dirk Koetter’s system. One of the most impressive attributes of this class is overall quickness and speed. Another strong point to this class is its balance and depth.
6. Oregon – Here we go again. Rating a solid Duck just below other solid classes in the Pac 10. We can already hear the snickering Duck fans three years hence asking us how a Duck team that ranked sixth in recruiting and how can the Ducks be contending for a Pac 10 championship? Well Duck fans there is talent on this team and you can be secure in the fact that they will be coached “up”. The highlight of this class is super beast DL Haloti Ngata. Haloti’s signature was one of the big surprises of this recruiting season.
7. Arizona – The Wildcats got out of the box early this recruiting season and secured their QB of the future in Ryan O’Hara. Once the Cats landed O’Hara everything seemed to fall into place after that. Arizona suffered some defections late in the recruiting process, but it still was an impressive haul for the Cats.
8. Oregon State – Don’t be mislead by the Beavers number eight ranking. This class is skilled and talente. Erickson and company landed a solid group with balance across the board. Like always this Beaver class has talented JUCO players to go with incoming freshmen. DB/LB Harvey Whiten and OL Brandon Lockhart lead the JUCOs transfers while WR James Finley, TE Joe Newton and OL Adam Koets head an impressive list of freshmen
9. Washington State – The Cougars did a fine job recruiting the JUCO ranks and were impressive recruiting the home state of Washington, landing 11 in-state players, five in-state players who were selected All-State. The five All-State players are QB Carl Bonnell, RB Steve Dildine, TE Cody Boyd, LB Scott Davis, and DB Chris Jordan. Bonnell was 4A and All-Class State Player of the Year.
10. Cal – Last but certainly not least is the Bears. New Cal head coach Jeff Tedford was busy game planning with his former team the Oregon Ducks where he was the offensive coordinator of one of the best offenses in the Nation. If what Tedford and his staff did during the last month of the recruiting season is any indication of the Bears are going to do in the future, then the rest of the Pac10 better beware. Cal won’t be landing in tenth spot anymore. Landing local hero David Gray was huge!