Thursday, August 15, 2013
Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Aug. 15
By Erik McKinney
The Pac-12 has a chance to gain two big commitments over the coming days, but those won’t be the only eventual newcomers who will make an impact. And one of the conference’s heavyweights could have plenty to sell this fall.
Another Saturday commitment
One week after three-star outside linebackers Joey Alfieri (Portland, Ore./Jesuit) and Bobby Okereke (Tustin, Calif./Foothill) announced their commitments to Stanford, the Pac-12 has an opportunity to add another commitment from a big-time defensive standout. ESPN 300 defensive end Connor Humphreys (Portland, Ore./Central Catholic) will announce his decision Saturday evening, with Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, USC and Wisconsin as his five finalists. The 6-foot-3, 268-pound defensive end is the No. 1 player in Oregon and the No. 249 prospect in the nation and would be a huge addition for Oregon State, which could have an edge heading into the announcement. His commitment will leave 20 remaining uncommitted West region ESPN 300 recruits.
Stanford adding to 2015?
Stanford made a statement with its defensive commitments last weekend, but the Cardinal could be adding another commitment this week, as 2015 safety Arrington Farrar (College Park, Ga./Woodward Academy) will announce a decision between Stanford and Vanderbilt on Friday. If his commitment goes to Stanford, Farrar will join inside linebacker Christian Folau (Salt Lake City/East) as a terrific one-two defensive punch to start the Cardinal’s 2015 class.
USC’s playing time perk
Though there are a number of questions surrounding USC’s upcoming season and the status of head coach Lane Kiffin, the Trojans actually carry some pretty clear recruiting advantages. While facilities and uniforms get a lot of the offseason publicity when it comes to recruiting, on-field results and the ever-important playing time take center stage in the fall. That’s where the Trojans could seriously flip the perception right now, as a talented but scholarship-depleted roster is set to take the field. Some experts believe the Trojans could be in for big things this season, while Kiffin told Grantland’s Holly Anderson: “We don't even talk about redshirting our new guys. We expect them to play. We need them to play."
True freshmen Su'a Cravens, Justin Davis, Michael Hutchings, Quinton Powell and Darreus Rogers are just a few of the first-year players who have shown signs during spring ball and fall camp of making big impacts. If the Trojans can keep the ship righted on the field, that potential playing time buzz will be a big selling point for recruits.
Huskies get big in-state visitor
Washington didn’t gain any public verbal commitments out of last week’s sizeable recruiting weekend, but getting another unofficial visit from Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue), the state’s top player, is never a small feat.
“It went well. I had a fun time seeing people hit again,” Baker said of the visit and taking in a practice. “They (Washington coaches) made me feel like home and the new stadium is really nice.”
Baker hasn’t yet scheduled any official visits, though he said he is thinking about one to Texas A&M for the Aggies' game against Alabama on Sept. 14. He’s also spoken about the possibility of staying close to home for college, which would bode well for Washington.
Baker made the visit with teammates Marcus Griffin -- a 2014 defensive tackle and Washington State commit -- and Henry Roberts -- a 2015 offensive tackle. Both hold offers from the Huskies. Performing better in-state will be a priority for Washington, which already holds a commitment from 2015 offensive tackle Trey Adams (Wenatchee, Wash./Wenatchee).
New desert duo
Forget about wide receivers in the 2014 class, Arizona is loading up with pass catchers from the 2012 class. While the Wildcats holds commitments from several 2014 receivers, the biggest news this offseason came from two transfers, as Davonte Neal and Cayleb Jones both enrolled at Arizona. Neal, the No. 1 athlete and No. 8 player overall in the 2012 class, spent one season at Notre Dame before transferring closer to home. Jones, the No. 147 prospect overall in the 2012 class, was at Texas last season before transferring to Arizona recently. There’s a chance neither will play this fall -- Neal is still awaiting word on a hardship waiver that would allow him to play immediately -- but when they hit the field in 2014, it’s unlikely any Pac-12 program will boast a more impressive duo of incoming wide receivers.