football Edit

Pac-12 programs on the move in recruiting rankings

Ty Thompson
Ty Thompson

Conference recruiting battles and where these teams end up in the team recruiting rankings are always interesting to look at, especially as many of these programs are battling for the same players. Here is a look at some Pac-12 teams that have done better on the recruiting trail in recent years - and some who might be slipping.

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MORE: Big Ten programs on the move in the recruiting rankings | SEC | ACC

CLASS OF 2021 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

CLASS OF 2022 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | Team | State

COVERAGE: Rivals Transfer Tracker | Rivals Camp Series

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THREE UP

Oregon

Overview: The Ducks’ 2020 recruiting class could be one for the ages with five-star linebackers Justin Flowe and Noah Sewell leading the way, but coach Mario Cristobal has Oregon’s class at No. 1 in the conference again and there’s an outside chance it could end at the top in the overall team rankings as well. Oregon is working on its third-straight Pac-12 team recruiting title with five-star quarterback Ty Thompson leading the way.

Farrell’s take: Let’s face it, the Ducks are killing everyone in the Pac-12 in recruiting under Cristobal and he’s building an SEC-style roster that should dominate the conference for years to come. They are recruiting on a level with Alabama, Clemson and Ohio State.

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Arizona State

Overview: Over the last four recruiting cycles, Arizona State has been able to move up in the team recruiting rankings. ASU started at sixth and now the Sun Devils are third in the 2021 group with three straight four-star commitments from the beginning of August. What attracts a lot of top prospects to Arizona State is the NFL experience of coach Herm Edwards and many top assistants on his staff.

Farrell’s take: The Edwards hire was doubted by many, including me, but he has done an impressive job except recruiting in-state. The best are still leaving, but he’s making up for it with some nice wins elsewhere, especially in California.

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Arizona

Overview: Arizona’s recruiting classes have not been killing it over the last few cycles - as was expected under Kevin Sumlin after he recruited so well at Texas A&M - but there has been some improvement with the 2021 group as the Wildcats have done well in California and especially Texas and also dipped into Louisiana for New Orleans (La.) Booker T. Washington WR Tyrese Johnson. Both Arizona and Arizona State continue to strike out on elite in-state players, but that has been something that’s been going on for years.

Farrell's take: Sumlin has done a solid job considering the team hasn’t been winning and he’s revamping the roster from the Rich Rodriguez era. He’s had a few nice wins in his old stomping grounds from his days at A&M.

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THREE DOWN

David Shaw
David Shaw (AP Images)

Stanford

Overview: Stanford has whipsawed between impressive and not-so-good recruiting classes over the last four years with a No. 11 finish in 2018 and then fourth- and third-place finishes the last two years. No complaints there. But now Stanford is back to No. 10 in the Pac-12 with only 11 commits and no four-stars. Stanford has to recruit a little differently because of academic considerations, but the Cardinal need a boost to close this class out strong.

Farrell’s take: I’m not sure what’s going on at Stanford because the Cardinal used to recruit so well but have fallen back. I know they take smaller classes and academics are tough, but David Shaw has navigated that in the past.

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Utah

Overview: To be fair to the Utes, they routinely have an underrated recruiting class and then develop players maybe better than any team in the conference. But Utah is another program that has done decently well with two top-five recruiting classes in the Pac-12 over the last four years but also a No. 10 finish and Utah is No. 11 in the conference rankings now. Last cycle, Utah was toward the bottom, too, but finished incredibly strong near signing day and that could be a similar strategy now since the Utes have only nine total commitments.

Farrell’s take: Utah is a tough place to recruit without a ton of talent in state and they have a small class so far. I’m surprised they haven’t taken advantage of the recent success a bit more.

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Oregon State

Overview: After finishing dead last in 2018 and 2019, Oregon State showed some life under coach Jonathan Smith in 2020 by moving up to ninth in the conference by signing four-star quarterback Chance Nolan and others. But the Beavers are off to a really slow start in the 2021 class with a conference-low eight commitments with no four-star pledges.

Farrell’s take: Smith has done a good job in recruiting and with the transfer portal building a solid roster. It’s the hardest place in the Pac-12 to recruit, so he’s surprising many.

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THE OTHERS

After a shocking last-place finish last recruiting cycle, USC is back toward the top in the Pac-12 rankings at second, only trailing Oregon. Over the last four recruiting periods, Washington has never finished lower than third and the Huskies are sitting at fourth right now.

Cal has consistently stayed in the middle of the pack and the Golden Bears could have their best finish in years sitting in fifth at this point. UCLA went from fourth four years ago to seventh or eighth over the last few cycles as coach Chip Kelly struggles to gain traction in Westwood. Washington State has an eighth-place finish and two No. 11 finishes over this cycle and the Cougars are back to eighth this year. Colorado has bounced anywhere from No. 6 in the Pac-12 to No. 9, where the Buffaloes find themselves now.

Farrell’s take: USC is still down in my book relying too much on out of state talent and letting too many elite recruits go. Washington has been impressively consistent and UCLA has finished OK but are also puzzling to me because of some of their takes.