Thursday, August 29, 2013
Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Aug. 29
By Erik McKinney
With season-openers scheduled for a number of Pac-12 programs this weekend, visitors -- official and unofficial -- made up a bulk of the news around the conference. California, Oregon, Oregon State and UCLA will all host official visitors, while Washington will have plenty of unofficial guests eager to check out the Huskies’ renovated stadium. On the field, Colorado has a chance to make a statement in the first game of the Mike MacIntyre era.
Visitors flock to Oregon
The Ducks will grab headlines when it comes to official visitors, as committed cornerback Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Theodore Roosevelt) -- the nation’s No. 30 prospect -- four-star wide receiver Braxton Berrios (Raleigh, NC/Leesville Road) and four-star offensive tackle Sam Jones (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge) will be on campus. The group shows what kind of national recruiting appeal the Ducks still have and it wouldn’t be surprising in the least to hear Berrios and Jones put Oregon at the top of their lists after the visit. The game against Nicholls State isn’t likely to be in doubt past the coin toss, so the Ducks will have a chance to showcase their high-powered offense and get plenty of true freshmen into the game in front of some big visitors.
Pac-12 programs are messing with Texas
California added a commitment from cornerback Jeremy Winchester (Klein, Tex./Klein Collins) earlier this week. He is the third recruit from the state of Texas to commit to the Golden Bears, and with Cal now making a concerted effort to recruit the state, it makes at least seven Pac-12 programs with legitimate ties to the Lone Star State. Arizona State has three commitments from Texas. Colorado always goes into Texas strong and has four commitments from the state already this year. Oregon holds a commitment from Springs after landing Torrodney Prevot and Damion Hobbs last year. Oregon State signed four Texas preps last year and has a commitment from another in 2014. And UCLA doesn’t have one from Texas yet this year, but offensive line coach Adrian Klemm seems to go there at will and helped sign three players out of the state in the 2013 class.
The Devil went down to Louisiana
Speaking of Pac-12 programs making statements outside the region, Arizona State landed another commitment from Louisiana this week, as running back Darrel Williams (Marrero, La./John Ehret) joined the class. He is the second player from Louisiana in this class, and will be added to two more Louisiana signees in the 2013 class. With Sherman Morris serving as Arizona State’s Assistant Athletics Director, it’s likely only the beginning of the Sun Devils making noise in Louisiana. Morris was the Director of Player Personnel at LSU for six years and played a big role in the recruiting success there. It would be surprising if Arizona State’s 2014 class doesn’t have more than these two recruits from Louisiana.
UCLA’s first in-season visitor
After a furious finish to the 2013 class, UCLA hasn’t been able to gain much traction with the 2014 class. Losing verbal commitments from junior college offensive linemen Jermaine Eluemunor (Rockaway, NJ/Lackawanna College) and Dominick Jackson (San Mateo, Calif./College of San Mateo) took a couple potential big-name additions out of the class, although the Bruins remain in the mix for plenty of top prospects nationally. This weekend, they’ll get their first opportunity to impress on and off the field, as UCLA hosts Nevad, as well as ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito). Pickett is looking to make a commitment in a few weeks, so it will be important for the Bruins to put together a good showing, though he is already familiar with the campus and program. UCLA and USC are likely to figure prominently in Pickett’s decision.
First run for MacIntyre
It hasn’t been pretty on the field for Colorado over the past two seasons, but the Buffaloes will have Sunday all to themselves, as they prepare for the first game of the Mike MacIntyre era. It should be quite intense, as Colorado takes on Colorado State at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium -- a true rivalry game to begin the season. The Buffaloes have been something of an afterthought since joining the Pac-12, but a win against the Rams will generate plenty of positive momentum, as the Buffs would then have a realistic shot at starting 3-0 and finally turning the page on the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
New Husky Stadium welcomes plenty of guests
Washington isn’t scheduled to host any official visitors this weekend, but there will be plenty of recruits on hand for a huge weekend. Not only will the Huskies be breaking in their renovated stadium, they’ll be hosting No. 19 Boise State for a game that could have huge implications on recruiting and the rest of Washington’s season. A win this weekend will have Washington riding high -- a scary proposition for the rest of the Pac-12 considering the young talent on the roster and the tenacious recruiters on the coaching staff -- but a loss would put a definite damper on the weekend and the thought of the Huskies taking a big step forward this season. Among the recruits expected to be in attendance are ESPN 300 safety Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue), four-star running back Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale) and safety John Plattenburg (Lamar, Tex./Lamar), as well as 2015 standouts Chico McClatcher (Federal Way, Wash./Federal Way) and committed offensive tackle Trey Adams (Wenatchee, Wash./Wenatchee).