Thursday, August 8, 2013
Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Aug. 8
By Erik McKinney
While some teams stocked up on recruits in the summer, there is still plenty of time for programs to build a terrific recruiting class and several Pac-12 North programs are lining up to strike once the season begins. Also, a highly-recruited linebacker is set to make a decision and an ESPN 300 offensive tackle is narrowing things down.
Big visitor sets Berkeley visit
There are plenty of questions surrounding how the Cal football program will perform on the field this fall, as Sonny Dykes prepares for his first Pac-12 season. But on the recruiting trail, recruits are taking notice of what the Golden Bears staff is pitching. That showed up again this week, as ESPN 300 linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central) scheduled an official visit to Cal for the season-opener, against Northwestern. He’ll get a full recruiting pitch from quarterback Luke Rubenzer (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro), who is hoping to be there as well.
Pac-12 possibly adding talent on and off field
Outside linebacker Bobby Okereke (Tustin, Calif./Foothill) will announce his decision on Saturday evening and several Pac-12 programs will eagerly await word from the 6-foot-1, 213-pound defender. Okereke had one of the most productive springs of any recruit in the region and now holds 19 offers. A phenomenal student-athlete, Okereke is down to Cal, Northwestern, Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, USC and Vanderbilt. Okereke has older sisters at USC and Vanderbilt, although with education serving as his priority, Stanford will be tough to beat. The three-star linebacker will be a big addition for the program that gains him over the weekend, as he can be a versatile defender and terrific teammate.
Brown has visits set
As an early graduate, four-star wide receiver Jalen Brown (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe) has a shorter timeline than most recruits, so he isn’t wasting time when it comes to setting visits. Brown has trips scheduled to Oregon, Oregon State, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin, and will likely finalize a fifth visit within the next week or so. It will be his second time seeing the Badgers and Commodores -- he very much enjoyed unofficial visits this summer -- but the Beavers could be an intriguing team to watch here. Brown likes the idea of playing in a pro-style system and Oregon State will have plenty to sell after two Beavers receivers went past the 1,000-yard mark last season. This would be a huge get for Oregon State, but just being in the mix shows how much of an impact they can make on this recruiting class.
Staying hot in the desert
While Arizona had a phenomenal two months on the recruiting trail, Arizona State is catching some of that momentum. After reeling in commitments from two ESPN 300 prospects -- Tyler Whiley (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) and Nick Alexander (Lancaster, Tex./Lancaster) -- in late July, the first week of August netted outside linebacker Christian Sam (Allen Tex./Allen) and athlete Jamal Scott (Anaheim, Calif./Magnolia). Scott’s commitment came on Wednesday and is a big get for the Sun Devils, as he was one of the big risers in the area this summer. The Arizona State coaching staff has connected with recruits heading into Todd Graham’s second season and the Sun Devils could be big players in-state and in Southern California this fall.
Tucker looking at six
Former USC commit and ESPN 300 offensive tackle Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) is getting a second crack at the recruiting process and the big lineman wants to take all five of his official visits before ultimately making a final decision. Tucker said he is down to six schools and will need to figure out the five that will receive visits. Arizona State, Oregon, Stanford, Texas A&M, USC and Washington remain in the hunt for Tucker, who said he is closest to setting up visits with the Sun Devils, Ducks and Cardinal. Visits could come as early as September, but nothing has been locked in yet.