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Monday, August 26, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12

By Erik McKinney

The Pac-12 added two commitments on Friday, then another over the weekend. But it was on the field where one future conference star showed why he is the top player in his state and considered one of the premier athletes in the country.

Pac-12 ConferenceBiggest commitment: Oregon State added a commitment Satuday when outside linebacker Ricky Liuchan (San Marcos, Calif./Mission Hills) informed the Beavers coaching staff of his decision. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is a standout linebacker and running back for the Grizzlies and a solid addition to Oregon State’s 2014 recruiting class. With his commitment, the Beavers continue their presence in California, as Liuchan is the third verbal commitment from the state in this class.

Biggest offer: It didn’t come from a Pac-12 team, but Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale) added an offer from Michigan State on Friday that put the Spartans into his top 10, which he released shortly after. Pac-12 teams make up half of the list, with Arizona State and Washington two teams doing well for the four-star back. The group also consists of Arizona, Fresno State, Michigan State, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Washington State and West Virginia. Richard and Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) are the top uncommitted tailbacks in the West, so interest could heat up for Richard in a big way as Mixon continues to trim his list.

Best performance by a commit/target: In a game that was eventually called in the third quarter due to lightning, ESPN 300 athlete Christian McCaffrey (Highlands Ranch, Colo./Valor Christian) had a huge game. The 6-foot, 195-pound two-way standout rushed for 171 yards and scored three touchdowns. Defensively, he registered an impressive play when he was isolated against ESPN 300 athlete Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central East) and made a diving stop to knock away a pass that could have gone for a touchdown. Overall, it was an extremely positive season opener for McCaffrey, who proved that once again, Stanford knows what it’s doing when it goes looking for running backs.

Biggest question: How many Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco players will USC sign this year?

Early on, it appeared that the top four 2014 recruits at St. John Bosco held serious interest in the Trojans. But with Naijiel Hale and Jaleel Wadood committing to Arizona and Cal, respectively, that left defensive end Malik Dorton and offensive lineman Damien Mama still on the board.

Dorton gave the Trojans some good news on Friday when he verbally committed to USC, but he was very specific in stating that his recruitment will continue and that Arizona State and Washington are two schools he will visit. How the Trojans do at Bosco -- whether they can hold onto Dorton, close the deal with Mama and possibly even flip Wadood -- could turn out to be a small-scale sampling of how well they do in this recruiting class overall.

Biggest answer: For those wondering whether Mike MacIntyre will make a recruiting impact in his first full season at Colorado, the answer appears to be in the affirmative. The Buffaloes added another verbal commitment this past Friday, from three-star offensive tackle Elijah Rodriguez (Houston/Cypress Creek).

It's a big win for MacIntyre's program, as Rodriguez also held offers from Arizona State, Fresno State, Illinois and Kansas. It also gives Colorado its fourth commit from the state of Texas and second offensive lineman. Colorado won't challenge for the top recruiting class in the Pac-12 this season, but the Buffaloes are doing quite well considering the circumstances of the past two seasons.