Thursday, October 31, 2013
Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Oct. 31
By Erik McKinney
Arizona State and Oregon added to top-40 classes earlier this week, as the Sun Devils grabbed another ESPN 300 prospect and the Ducks flexed their muscles in Texas. USC softened its policy against in-season visitors, while UCLA will look to take advantage of hosting a committed visitor of its own this weekend.
It didn't come as much of a surprise when ESPN 300 outside linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) verbally committed to Arizona State this past Sunday, but that didn't make the commitment any less important for the Sun Devils. Head coach Todd Graham's program is picking up steam on the recruiting trail as it puts together wins on the field. Calhoun joins teammate Jalen Harvey and four-star tackle Sam Jones (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge) as recent commitments for Arizona State, while quarterback Manny Wilkins (Novato, Calif./San Marin) continues to do an excellent job in selling the program to recruits. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Sun Devils eventually reel in California prospects Michael Lazarus (Berkeley, Calif./Berkeley), Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch) and Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdae), as the buzz -- especially in California -- continues to grow. Arizona State now has the nation's No. 25 recruiting class -- up three spots due to the updated ESPN 300 -- and sits just behind No. 24 Stanford and No. 20 Arizona as the third-best class in the Pac-12.
Hollins hollers for Oregon
Oregon received some good news with the updated ESPN 300, as wide receiver Jalen Brown (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe) moved into the list, and running back Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial) made a huge move up the rankings. The Ducks also benefitted from the verbal commitment of defensive end Justin Hollins (Arlington, Tex./James Martin) this past Monday. Hollins held offers from Oklahoma and Oklahoma State close to home, but opted for the Ducks after taking an official visit back in September. At 6-foot-5 and 207 pounds, Hollins is another rangy defender capable of fitting into the Ducks' front seven, and his commitment again shows what kind of impact Oregon can have recruiting in Texas.
USC's first visitor
USC's policy under Lane Kiffin of not allowing recruits to take official visits during the season likely cost the Trojans a shot at ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito), so it's not a surprise that the rule has been lessened to more of a guideline. While the Trojans will undoubtedly still urge recruits to take their official visits after the season, interim coach Ed Orgeron hosted his first official visitor this past weekend in the form of junior college standout Claudeson Pelon (Orlando, Fla./Mesa Community College). Pelon originally committed to Florida State out of high school and is now looking at a top five of Arizona State, Miami, UCLA, USC and Washington. Pelon has visits to USC and Washington under his belt, with trips to Arizona State and Miami coming in the next two months. As for the Trojans and Pelon, Orgeron's status at the school will absolutely determine whether or not they are a legitimate option. Pelon said being coached by the tandem of Orgeron and new defensive line coach Pete Jenkins would be a huge bonus, as Jenkins "pretty much wrote the book on the defensive line position." The December grad added that if Orgeron were to head elsewhere following the season, he would likely keep an eye on where Orgeron lands.
The second recruiting season is well under way, as recruits who made verbal commitments to programs over the summer are being wooed and brought in for official visits by rival programs. We've already seen one defection from Cal's class when Harvey flipped his commitment to Arizona State, and the Golden Bears could face a steep challenge in holding onto the rest of the class if losses continue to pile up. One recruit who could make things interesting is Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), who will take an official visit to UCLA this weekend. Wadood originally committed to Arizona State before decommitting and selecting the Golden Bears. Wadood is still being pursued by UCLA and USC -- as well as Oregon State and several other programs -- and the new ESPN 300 athlete could wind up back in play before signing day.
Plenty of Pac-12 prospects on West Coast Bowl rosters
The rosters are set for the B2G West Coast Bowl, after two days of drafting saw 90 players selected for the event. Though the participants come from all over the country, a majority play their high school football in the West region and a large number of those will wind up playing in the Pac-12.
The red team will be coached by San Diego Lincoln head coach David Dunn, who selected Alabama commit Bo Scarbrough (West Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) with the first overall pick. Some of the other players -- with Pac-12 tied -- selected to the red team include:
LB Jamardre Cobb (Los Angeles/Salesian) -- committed to Arizona
OL Tyrell Crosby (Henderson, Nev./Green Valley) -- committed to Oregon
OL Layth Friekh (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) -- committed to Arizona
DL Jalen Jelks (Phoenix/Desert Vista) -- committed to Oregon
DL Marcus Griffin (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) -- committed to Washington State
LB Greg Hoyd (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) -- committed to Washington State
CB Denzel Fisher (Compton, Calif./Centennial) -- committed to UCLA
QB Marcus McMaryion (Dinuba, Calif./Dinuba) -- committed to Oregon State
WR Jordan Lasley (Gardena, Calif./Serra) -- committed to UCLA
CB Alijah Holder (Oceanside, Calif./Oceanside) -- committed to Stanford
WR Dionte Sykes (Chandler, Ariz./Chandler) -- committed to UCLA
WR Alex Van Dyke (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks) -- committed to UCLA
S JoJo McIntosh (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade) -- committed to UCLA
WR Cameron Denson (Tucson, Ariz./Salpointe Catholic) -- committed to Arizona
The blue team will be coached by Narbonne head coach Manny Douglas, who selected Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch) with his first selection. Pac-12 representative on the blue team include:
WR Shay Fields (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) -- committed to USC
CB Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) -- committed to Washington
DL Austin Maloata (Corona, Calif./Centennial) -- committed to USC
RB Tre Watson (Corona, Calif./Centennial) -- committed to Cal
WR Barry Ware (Corona, Calif./Centennial) -- committed to UCLA
DL Nifae Lealao (Sacramento, Calif./Capital Christian) -- committed to Stanford
LB Chandler Leniu (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) -- committed to Washington State
TE Darrell Cloy (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) -- committed to Arizona
CB Kwesi Mashack (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) -- committed to Arizona
S Jamal Scott (Anaheim, Calif./Magnolia) -- committed to Arizona State
DL Korey Rush (Salt Lake City/East) -- committed to Arizona State
QB Brandon Dawkins (Westlake Village, Calif./Oakd Christian) -- committed to Arizona
WR Zaire Andre (Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood) -- committed to Washington State
LB Rick Gamboa (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade) -- committed to Colorado