football Edit

West Spotlight: Five programs off to fast start in 2026 recruiting class

The 2026 Rivals250 was unveiled last month and programs around the country are beginning to sort out their priorities for the next recruiting cycle. Here are five programs from the West Region that are off to good starts with the 2026 class.

THIS SERIES: Five East Coast programs off to strong starts for 2026 | Mid-South | Southeast | Midwest

MORE GORNEY: Biggest recruiting visits of this weekend | Recruiting rumor mill



CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2025 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2026 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Position | State

TRANSFER PORTAL: Latest news | Transfer search | Transfer tracker/player ranking (football) | Transfer team ranking (football) | Transfer tracker/player ranking (basketball) | Transfer team ranking (basketball) | Rivals Portal Twitter



Deion Sanders
Deion Sanders (AP Images)

USC is the only school in the West with more than one commit in the 2026 class but Colorado is doing an excellent job focusing more on high school prospects in the 2025 and 2026 classes and the Buffaloes already have offers out to many top recruits to get a jumpstart especially in the latter class.

For the first couple recruiting classes, coach Deion Sanders has mainly focused on building out his roster through the transfer portal. From Day 1, the new Colorado coaching staff has focused on bringing players over from Jackson State with Sanders or going nationwide through the portal to bring in much-needed talent or depth.

But Sanders and his staff are telling top prospects that while the portal will always be an integral part of their recruiting style, bringing in more high school players will be a major focus moving forward. Last recruiting cycle, Colorado had only eight signees, fewest in the Power Five. That should dramatically change in the coming years.




Ryder Lyons
Ryder Lyons (Nick Lucero/

Oregon has started the 2026 recruiting class off very well by landing four-star defensive lineman Tony Cumberland out of Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain as the Ducks continue to prove they can go throughout the West, and nationally, for some of the best players.

It will only help Oregon’s recruiting efforts that coach Dan Lanning decided not to pursue other jobs this offseason – mainly, the Alabama one – to stay in Eugene and keep building the program into a national title contender.

Things are going well. Five-star quarterback Ryder Lyons, five-star defensive lineman Jahkeem Stewart and many elite four-stars are already very interested in the Ducks and that should only ramp up from here.

Lanning has a good thing going at Oregon and with more than 125 offers out already in the 2026 class, a wide net is being cast for top prospects.




Jonah Smith
Jonah Smith (Nick Lucero/

The good news for UCLA fans is that the Bruins are once again interested in recruiting and that means they’re off to a good start in both the 2025 and 2026 classes. Former coach Chip Kelly was just not going to get too involved in recruiting, the Bruins weren’t going to have many big recruiting weekends and Kelly just ran the program ineffectively in that way.

Prospects are once again talking about UCLA. High school coaches and 7on7 coaches are taking their kids to campus again and the new coaching staff has breathed new life into their recruiting efforts. That’s a major first step because UCLA was just languishing under Kelly, who went 35-34 in his disappointing Westwood tenure.

UCLA has already landed a commitment from four-star receiver Jonah Smith from Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Santa Margarita Catholic in its 2026 class. Only a few more than two dozen prospects have been offered so far but kids are talking about the Bruins again, visiting campus again and that’s the spark needed to get recruiting going again.




Brandon Lockhart
Brandon Lockhart (Nick Lucero/

USC has more 2026 commitments than any school in the country with four but there could be some movement along the way as the Trojans look to get a jumpstart in that class.

High four-star cornerback Brandon Lockhart is the headliner but Georgia and others are making a run at the Los Angeles Loyola standout who said in recent weeks that the Trojans haven’t been in communication as much as other programs. That will be one to closely watch.

The Trojans also have commitments from two other defensive backs in Dominick Kelly and Madden Riordan and then four-star WR Ja’Myron Baker, who has been fighting the injury bug, is committed as well.

High-profile stars such as Lyons, Stewart and many others are also highly interested in the Trojans so things are going really well in 2026.




When Kaleb DeBoer took Washington to the national championship and then left for the Alabama job there was a risk that the Huskies could take a step back. But they quickly hired Arizona coach Jedd Fisch, who brings NFL experience and a dogged energy to recruiting and that should keep the Huskies among the nation’s best.

Fisch has moved around a ton in his career and that could be concerning that he’s a climber no matter what but he also did a fabulous job in Tucson making the Wildcats not only relevant but dangerous again. And he recruited well – particularly in Southern California and winning big at Anahem (Calif.) Servite where his quarterback, his best receiver and his best linebacker all played together.

On Thursday, four-star athlete Ansu Sanoe from Lake Oswego (Ore.) Lakeridge committed to the Huskies and he’s one of the top 2026 prospects in the Pacific Northwest. That class is not loaded in the state of Washington but Fisch has proven he can recruit the region very well and success should stay put in Seattle.