Monday, February 3, 2014
Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12
By Erik McKinney
The countdown is on, as the final weekend before signing day comes to a conclusion. Monday begins the dead period before signing day, so phones will likely be ringing off the hook between now and Wednesday -- phone contact is allowed during a dead period, in-person contact is not -- as Pac-12 coaches look to finalize the 2014 class.
Biggest commitment: Stanford struck again along the offensive line, flipping ESPN 300 offensive tackle Reilly Gibbons (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg) from his Miami commitment during an official visit to Palo Alto. Gibbons is the third four-star offensive tackle to commit to Stanford in the past month, as the Cardinal continue to get richer at that position.
Oregon bolstered its defensive line this weekend with the commitment of DT Austin Maloata.
Oregon deserves a mention here as well, as the Ducks are very much in need of defensive tackles in this class and landed one in three-star Austin Maloata (Corona, Calif./Centennial), a former USC pledge. The Ducks likely hope to land at least one more commitment at the position, but Maloata is a big addition this late in the game.
Biggest offer: At least eight offers went out to California standouts in the 2015 class on Saturday, as Steve Sarkisian and the Trojans hosted an elite junior day. Cornerback Taeon Mason (Pasadena, Calif./Muir) received an offer and became the second USC commitment in the 2015 class, joining four-star quarterback Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure). The seven other confirmed offers all went to 2015 ESPN 300 prospects: wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (Anaheim, Calif./Servite), defensive tackle Jacob Daniel (Fresno, Calif./Clovis North), offensive tackle Roy Hemsley (Los Angeles/Windward), cornerback Dechaun Holiday (San Marcos, Calif./Mission Hills), wide receiver Isaiah Langley (Pleasanton, Calif./Foothill), defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) and linebacker Cameron Smith (Granite Bay, Calif./Granite Bay).
Most important visits: UCLA had a number of visitors on hand, but the Louisiana trio likely ranks as the most important. The Bruins have put a significant effort into landing recruits out of Texas and the Southeast in this class, and it has paid off already with three commitments from Houston. But coach Jim Mora and staff would love to add a few more out-of-state signatures on Wednesday and put their best foot forward this weekend with the nation's No. 1 wide receiver, Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian), as well as his four-star linebacker teammate Kenny Young and four-star defensive end Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La./Plaquemine), an LSU commit.
Biggest answer:Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) stays home -- sort of -- on the final weekend.
There was plenty of speculation as to where Jackson would use his final official visit, though he did admit there was a chance he would never take it. While Florida, UCLA and USC -- three of his four finalists, along with LSU -- had never received official visits from Jackson, the No. 9 overall player decided he would finish his recruiting process with that fifth visit still in his pocket. Instead, Jackson took unofficial visits to UCLA and USC, another opportunity to spend time with both coaching staffs and work toward an end to his process. Plenty of Pac-12 and SEC eyes will be on Jackson when he announces his decision on Wednesday.
Biggest question: Who will rule signing day in the Pac-12?
Several conference schools are set to close impressively and publicly. UCLA targets Dupre and Young will announce their commitments on ESPNU, along with their teammate Mattrell McGraw, an Oregon safety target. USC could be a big winner as well, as Jackson, John "Juju" Smith (Long Beach Poly, Calif./Poly) and Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) will all announce on ESPNU, and the Trojans are likely among the final two for all three ESPN 300 prospects. Stanford's biggest target on the board, ESPN 300 defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) will announce on signing day as well, though the Bruins -- another of his three finalists -- hope to make a splash there as well.