Monday, February 3, 2014
Biggest flips: Pac-12
By Erik McKinney
Many of the biggest flips relating to Pac-12 teams came fairly early in the process, which means there might not be much chaos on signing day when it comes to recruits flipping commitments. However, as with every year, flips will help and hurt a number of conference programs come Wednesday, and we take a look at the five biggest in the Pac-12 during this recruiting cycle.
OT Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) -- flipped from USC to Stanford
The rich got richer, as Stanford added to its bevy of highly touted offensive linemen with the commitment of No. 39 overall prospect Casey Tucker.
Tucker committed to USC during the summer of 2012 during a stretch when the Trojans were ruling the recruiting world. But a poor 2012 season and increased recruiting pushes from other programs led to Tucker taking a step back from his USC commitment this past April. The nation's No. 39 overall player then went months without making much noise in terms of his recruitment, eventually cutting his list to Arizona State and Stanford. Had Tucker stuck with his USC commitment, the Trojans would be on track to sign one of the top two offensive line classes on the country on Wednesday. With his flip to Stanford, the Cardinal get even richer along the offensive line, adding Tucker to a terrific group already on campus.
Talamaivao made a statement earlier this year when he committed to Alabama in May shortly after receiving an offer from USC. But the Trojans grabbed the attention of the nation's No. 96 overall prospect with a win over Stanford in November, and it didn't take long for Talamaivao to flip his commitment to USC -- his childhood favorite. The No. 5 offensive guard and No. 9 player in California is a huge recruiting win for USC, as he'll help the Trojans as much as possible in their pursuit of good friends Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and John "JuJu" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly).
Safety Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) -- flipped from Oregon to UCLA or Washington
We won't know Baker's final destination until he announces it on signing day, but either the Bruins or Huskies will greatly benefit from the decision of the No. 122 overall player to pull away from his Oregon commitment. Oregon rebounded nicely by adding a commitment from Charles Nelson (Daytona Beach, Fla./Seabreeze), but UCLA or Washington will earn a true playmaker on both sides of the ball. If Washington is able to keep Baker home, he'll be the biggest recruiting win for Chris Petersen in his short time there, while UCLA could lay claim to another Bellevue standout after grabbing Myles Jack in the 2013 class.
QB Kyle Carta-Samuels (San Jose, Calif./Bellarmine Prep) -- flipped from Vanderbilt to Washington
The Huskies needed a quarterback in this class and found themselves without one when Jalen Greene flipped from Washington to USC. Petersen worked hard to reel in Carta-Samuels after the ESPN 300 prospect decommitted from Vanderbilt following James Franklin's departure to Penn State. Carta-Samuels looked hard to Boise State and Washington before picking the Huskies, becoming the lone ESPN 300 prospect in the class and giving the Huskies some significant momentum heading into the last few weeks before signing day.
The Sun Devils are putting together their best recruiting class in years, and the flips from Harvey and Calhoun are a perfect example of why that's happening. The ESPN 300 teammates visited Arizona State on the same weekend and completed their flips less than a week apart. Harvey and Calhoun bought into the path head coach Todd Graham has set for Arizona State and are two of the six ESPN 300 commitments in the Sun Devils' class, which is No. 1 in the Pac-12 just days before signing day.
One who could flip on NSD: Cal commit Tre Watson (Corona, Calif./Centennial)
Watson was pursued early in the process by UCLA, but the Bruins eventually found their running back in Nathan Starks (Greenwood Village, Colo./Cherry Creek). And while Watson remains committed to Cal, Washington has put together a big push for him. The Golden Bears hold commitments from three other recruits who are slated to begin their careers in the offensive backfield, although Watson provides a much different dynamic than any of them. Still, he'll be one to watch on signing day as a potential flip to Washington, which has generated some significant momentum recently.