Pac-12 Spotlight: Summer recruiting scoop
With the summer recruiting season heading into its stretch run before the football season begins, our analysts look at the recruiting landscape in each Power Five conference. We continue the weeklong series today with the Pac-12.
THREE HOTTEST TEAMS
1. USC: Everybody is talking about USC again as coach Lincoln Riley and his staff have sparked a much-needed excitement around the program before even playing a game. The Trojans are the only Pac-12 program with multiple five-star commitments in QB Malachi Nelson and WR Zachariah Branch, who looked like a potential superstar at Future 50. Beating Ohio State and Wisconsin for four-star LB Tackett Curtis out of Many, La., was huge. The Trojans are definitely not done yet as there remain some big fish yet to make their commitments.
2. Washington: Late June and early July has been incredibly productive for coach Kalen DeBoer and his staff as the Huskies have landed 14 of their 18 commitments since June 20. The latest pledge from four-star cornerback Curley Reed out of Lake Charles (La.) Lake Charles College Prep was the most impressive as he had more than 20 offers to consider. During that stretch, Washington also landed a commitment from three-star DE Anthony James, a former Texas A&M commit, and loaded up along both the offensive and defensive lines.
3. Oregon: Arguably the biggest commitment of the summer came on July 8 when five-star quarterback Dante Moore from Detroit (Mich.) Martin Luther King picked the Ducks over Michigan, Notre Dame, LSU, Texas A&M and others. Moore is the biggest name by far but landing four-star cornerback Caleb Presley was also big as Washington, Michigan State and others were battling for him. There was a lot of excitement under former coach Mario Cristobal but first-year coach Dan Lanning has sustained that interest and more since taking over the program.
WATCH OUT FOR...
1. USC: The Trojans have the top-ranked class in the Pac-12 already but with only 12 commitments there is still a lot of room to run toward a top-10 finish. Elite prospects such as Nyckoles Harbor, tight ends Duce Robinson and Walker Lyons, local speedster Rodrick Pleasant, four-star DE Matayo Uiagalelei, interior OL Micah Banuelous, DB Maliki Crawford and four-star DE Braylan Shelby are some of the names to watch.
2. Utah: All but two of Utah’s commitments came in the months of June and July so it’s been a very productive summer for coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff. There is also a lot of potential at the top of the state rankings since the top three prospects in Utah – linebackers Tausili Akana and Siale Esera and OL Spencer Fano – remain uncommitted. Utah’s class is historically under-ranked and there are going to be some gems in this group. I saw one last weekend in Corona (Calif.) Centennial three-star LB Owen Chambliss.
3. Stanford: The Cardinal have only 10 commitments so far but half are four-stars and that’s a solid start for coach David Shaw and his staff after a 3-9 season, their worst since 2006. Landing four-star DE Hunter Clegg in recent days was impressive because he had some other elite programs after him and he’s very talented. Getting Sedrick Irvin out of South Florida was huge. There are pass-catchers and playmakers in this group and Stanford needs those.
1. Oregon State: Both Athlon Sports and Lindy’s preseason magazines have Oregon State slotted to finish second in the Pac-12 North – ahead of Washington, Washington State, Cal and Stanford. That’s great news for the Beavers but they haven’t taken full advantage of that preseason hype on the recruiting trail yet. Nine of 13 commits are three-stars but Oregon State has the lowest class in the Pac-12 when it comes to average star ranking. DT Thomas Collins was a very nice addition and QB Aidan Chiles could be under-ranked, but Oregon State needs more of those players in this class.
2. Cal: There are still a lot of opportunities with in-state prospects who are uncommitted but the Golden Bears have to capitalize on a lot of those in the coming months. Losing a prospect such as four-star WR Rashid Williams from Northern California to Washington hurts a lot. There are only seven total commitments in the class with one four-star in RJ Jones and that is a ranking that could change in the coming months. Cal needs some momentum heading into the fall.
3. Arizona State: No team in Power Five football has as few commitments as the Sun Devils, who have big issues to figure out with their program and it seems to have halted recruiting in its tracks. Three three-stars are in the class in QB Israel Carter, LB RL Miller and DB Chase Davis as Arizona State has seen mass coaching changes amid an NCAA investigation and it looks like now the Sun Devils are playing from behind heading into the fall.