NCF Nation: Ellis McCarthy

Were Pac-12 recruiting needs met?

February, 2, 2012
Every team had needs going into 2012 national signing day. Last week, Ted Miller looked at the needs of each team in the North Division and South Division. Here’s a look at whether those needs were met.

Arizona: Either Javelle Allen or Josh Kern -- both Texans -- could be the long-term answer at quarterback. Noticeably missing is the lack of an impact linebacker. But there is some good depth to the offensive line.

Arizona State: Nice pickup with running back D.J. Foster. Richard Smith and Josiah Blandin boost the wide receiving corps. Nine JC signees? We’ll see.

Cal: QB Zach Kline (No. 2 QB) is the jewel of the class, and receiver Darius Powe could be an immediate impact player. Cal wins the award for bipolar recruiting season, but this is still a solid class.

Colorado: If Yuri Wright can keep his thumbs in check, he’s a huge addition. He and Kenny Crawley boost a secondary sorely in need of playmakers.

Oregon: Arik Armstead headlines a diverse class that, as expected, is heavy on speed and addresses depth across the board. Next to duct tape, few things are quick fixes than a juco kicker.

Oregon State: No. 1 offensive guard Isaac Seumalo and tackle Garrett Weinreich fill immediate needs on the line. A lot of unproven commits on a defense that still needs help.

Stanford: Business should be booming in the Stanford cafeteria with seven new offensive linemen. And they get to grow with and block for Barry Sanders. Noor Davis and Alex Carter are elite defensive playmakers.

UCLA: Four ESPNU 150 players, headlined by athlete Devin Fuller. Who said Jim Mora wasn't cut out for college? Keeping Ellis McCarthy in Southern California -- and out of red and gold -- is big time.

USC: Don't cry for this tiny class. It features seven ESPNU 150 players and adds speed on defense with Jabari Ruffin, size on the offensive line with Max Turek and Jordan Simmons and athleticism with wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Another great haul for Troy.

Utah: A quarterback of the future is needed, and Travis Wilson (No. 39 QB) and Chase Hansen (No. 43 QB) should have a heck of a competition in the coming years. Lots of help and depth added to the offensive line.

Washington: A shaky recruiting season was saved at the last minute by the commitment of Shaq Thompson and the ability to hold quarterback Cyler Miles. Brandon Beaver helps a secondary that was one of the worst in the conference.

Washington State: Running back Robert Lewis and receiver Alex Jackson could prove to be money in the Mike Leach offensive overhaul. A few juco transfers should be stopgaps until depth develops and Leach's plan comes together.

Pac-12 signing day wrap

February, 2, 2012
National signing day is over. But life is not, even if it feels that way.

Clearing away the confetti and reviewing what happened.

Top class: Stanford signed a class that is the envy of all but a small handful of teams in the nation. ESPN Recruiting ranked Stanford's class 12th. Rivals rated the Cardinal No. 5; Scout ranked Stanford No. 6; 24/7 sports ranked the Cardinal No. 9; and Tom Lemming ranked Stanford 10th. Stanford's haul of offensive linemen might be one of the best in the history of recruiting rankings.

Biggest surprise: Is UCLA coach Jim Mora a rookie or a freshman? However the NFL lifer is best described, his first recruiting haul was outstanding by any measure, but particularly for a coach with basically zero college experience. What you have to credit is Mora hiring a great recruiting staff. The Bruins signed a top-20 class and hit plenty of need areas.

Biggest disappointment: There are very few people who believe that Rich Rodriguez wasn't a great hire for Arizona. Zero, maybe. That said, the Wildcats didn't get a recruiting bump based on that perception. They finished at or near the bottom of most rankings of Pac-12 recruiting classes and didn't sign any recruits with at least a four-star rating from ESPN Recruiting.

Fastest riser: Just over a week ago, Washington's recruiting was surprisingly mediocre, particularly after the Huskies lured ace recruiter Tosh Lupoi away from California. But the Huskies surged late, starting with a commitment from elite safety Shaq Thompson, a former Cal commitment. And the Huskies' surge didn't stop on signing day, as they moved up to No. 23 in the final national rankings.

Under the radar: While Pac-12 newbies Colorado and Utah didn't sign top-25 classes, both very quietly signed strong classes that addressed immediate needs, and they finished in the middle of the Pac-12 recruiting rankings. In their first season recruiting as real Pac-12 teams -- as in having a season of play under their belts -- here's a guess that both Colorado coach Jon Embree and Utah coach Kyle Whittingham are happy with how things went and are eager for another go-around in 2013.

Recruiter of the year: Many wondered if Stanford coach David Shaw could maintain the program momentum created by former coach Jim Harbaugh. Well, in his first season, he led the Cardinal to a BCS bowl game and top-10 finish. On Wednesday, he produced a better recruiting class than Harbaugh ever put together -- at least in terms of recruiting rankings. Those who think Stanford is going away because of the departure of Harbaugh and QB Andrew Luck might be in for a surprise.

Player you'll see next season: It would be surprising if Shaq Thompson isn't starting at safety for Washington in the opener against San Diego State. The same could be said for Isaac Seumalo on the Oregon State offensive line. In L.A., it will be battle between UCLA defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy, USC outside linebacker Jabari Ruffin and USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams for top freshman defender. It will be interesting to see how Stanford's elite class of frosh offensive linemen shapes up. There should be some hot competition there, with one freshman breaking through and at least earning playing time. Also interesting in the Bay Area: Is senior Zach Maynard the answer at QB for Cal, or might Zach Kline earn playing time as a true freshman?