Monday, September 9, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12
By Erik McKinney
It was another weekend without any commitments in the Pac-12, but the conference made a statement with a 9-1 record -- the only loss coming in conference play -- and four teams scoring more than 50 points. But that one loss was a big one, as USC dropped its home opener to Washington State in front of a number of high-profile recruits. On the field, a Cal commit put on a show while two elite 2015 prospects stood out as well.
This is reaching back into late last week, but 2015 offensive tackle Zach Robertson (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) landed his first scholarship offer, and it came from local favorite USC. Robertson -- a transfer from Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair -- must sit out the rest of this month because of transfer rules, but he has a chance to step into a starting position when he sees the field, which means his recruitment will likely pick up in a hurry. An early offer from the Trojans makes Robertson a name to watch, as other Pac-12 programs are likely to follow suit quickly.
Best performance by a commit/target
California running back commitment Tre Watson (Corona, Calif./Centennial) runs away with it this week, as he rushed for 465 yards and seven touchdowns on 37 carries against Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure. It says something that Watson was able to make this an easy choice. On any other weekend, 2015 ESPN 300 quarterback Brady White (Newhall, Calif./Hart) would have taken the honors, as he passed for 490 yards and tied a school record with seven touchdown passes. Christian Kirk (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro) -- another 2015 ESPN 300 prospect -- would have been in the conversation as well aside from a few holding penalties on his teammates. The dynamic receiver scored two touchdowns receiving, one rushing and one on a punt return. He also added two more punt return touchdowns and a kickoff return touchdown, but all three were called back because of penalties.
Most important visit
Oregon State needed something positive to happen after an opening-week loss to FCS program Eastern Washington. They got it this weekend, as the Beavers posted a win over Hawaii in front of several important official visitors. The biggest names were wide receivers Jalen Brown (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe) and Alex Van Dyke (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks), who were able to watch Beavers wide receiver Brandin Cooks catch seven passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Both recruits still have the rest of their official visits to take, but Oregon State was able to make the first statement by hosting them for a big home win.
This came from Washington State coach Mike Leach, who gave a fairly resounding answer to any question about how long it would take him to make Washington State competitive in the Pac-12. When Colorado and Utah were added and the conference split into two divisions, every coach in the Pac-12 wanted to make sure they played at least one game in Los Angeles each year, in order to help stay relevant in that region. Not only did Leach prove that Washington State can play with Pac-12 teams this year by beating USC, he showed every local recruit who attended the game that the Cougars are headed in the right direction.
Biggest question: It's the only one in the Pac-12 after this weekend's showing. What is Lane Kiffin's future at USC? Commits, targets, parents of commits, friends of friends of commits and just about everyone else around the USC program is wondering how the loss to Washington State will affect the head coach of the Trojans. This doesn't appear to be a one-week question, either, as the resounding consensus from recruits at the game made it seem that USC recruiting will be in something of a lull until an answer to that question is reached.