Pac-12 recruiting stock report: UCLA on the rise
The Pac-12 has concluded its conference championship game and even though bowl games are yet to be played, post-season recruiting has already commenced. This week we take a look at how the recruiting stock of each program has evolved since the start of the season.
The hiring of Chip Kelly should breath even more life into the Bruins’ recruiting efforts even with some good traction in recent years. Four-star defensive back Olaijah Griffin could be a future star in the same mold as former five-star Darnay Holmes. Las Vegas Bishop Gorman four-star QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson has all the tools to run Kelly’s offense to perfection. Expect momentum heading into Signing Day for UCLA and a big-time 2019 class could be in store.
No surprise here but coach Chris Petersen and his staff are compiling one of the best classes in the Pac-12 with enough talent to surely compete for conference championships in the coming years. Quarterbacks Jacob Sirmon and Colson Yankoff are both talented and provide different qualities. Marquis Spiker is one of the best receivers in the class and four-star Austin Osborne isn’t far behind. The Huskies are loading up in this class and might not be done yet.
Coach Justin Wilcox and his staff loaded up in their 2018 recruiting class early on and had a bunch of the commitments done even before the season started. In the last few days, the Golden Bears landed two running back pledges from Christopher Brown Jr. and Johnny Adams. With a strong group of linemen on both sides of the ball and some highly talented skill players coming in, Cal’s recruiting class is really coming together.
Last year, Rose Bowl champs. This year, Pac-12 champs. Coach Clay Helton and his staff have things rolling at USC and recruiting has never been a problem. The Trojans can basically pick and choose the top five- and four-star prospects to join their class. Five-star WR Amon-Ra St. Brown, arguably one of the top receivers in the last decade at least in California, is a top target. Top four-star DT Trevor Trout from St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade was a big recent commitment.
After only one season, 363 days to be exact, coach Willie Taggart left Oregon for Florida State early this week throwing the Ducks’ recruiting class into a tailspin. Four-star ATH Braden Lenzy and four-star DB Isaiah Bolden have de-committed along with four-star receiver Miles Battle. Other top recruits have said they’re going to take other official visits while some said they’re sticking with Oregon and won’t look at other programs. Until the Ducks find Taggart’s replacement, there’s no telling how good - or uncertain - this recruiting class will be.
With coach Mike Leach not headed to Tennessee, the Cougars can focus on finishing up their 2018 recruiting class, which definitely has some nice pieces. Washington State’s staff does not necessarily recruit for stars but for prospects who fit their playing style and there’s no doubt the coaches have done that well. The Cougars have done well recruiting the state of Texas this cycle and four-star QB Cammon Cooper could be a star in Pullman.
California is such important recruiting territory for Arizona and the Wildcats have done a solid job there. Local prospect Jamarye Joiner has similar abilities to star quarterback Khalil Tate, so he could be a big surprise in the coming years in Tucson. Getting defensive end Adam Plant to re-commit is huge for the Wildcats because he provides significant edge pressure all the time. Coach Rich Rodriguez always gets some surprises in his recruiting classes.
The departure of co-offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren to Oregon State does not seem to have a dramatic effect on the Buffaloes’ recruiting class. Three-star quarterback commit Blake Stenstrom is not wavering on his pledge and neither are any other offensive players at this point. There is an abundance of skill position players in this class that could make an immediate difference and local product Dimitri Stanley could be a star in the making.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren is off to Rice as its new head coach, but an implosion of Stanford’s 11-man recruiting class is not expected. Prospects pick Stanford for numerous reasons on and off the field and unless there are mass departures of assistant coaches, Stanford’s recruiting class should remain strong.
A lot of top commits hoped interim coach Cory Hall was retained in a full-time role. That did not happen as the Beavers opted for former Washington offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith instead. That seems to be a solid pick as well as many prospects have talked highly of Smith’s ability and Oregon State has not been hit with a rash of decommitments. Still, the Beavers needed higher-level recruits to make an impact in an improving Pac-12.
The Utes only have seven commitments with only a couple weeks before the early signing period but this class is much more about quality over quantity. Three-star two-way standout Delon Hurt is Utah’s newest pledge and he’s a good one. Four-star quarterback Jack Tuttle has special abilities and could be the cornerstone of this recruiting class.
There could have been significant turnover when the Sun Devils took an unusual tact and hired Herm Edwards recently. He spent the majority of his career in the NFL and has not been a head coach since 2008. However, the general response from the Arizona State commits has been positive and many plan to stick to their pledges. Three-star OL Jarrett Patterson will probably end up at UCLA or Michigan and others could take visits but Edwards might spark some excitement in Tempe even if many are questioning the hire.