Thursday, September 19, 2013
Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Sept. 19
By Erik McKinney
Three Pac-12 programs added commitments in the past week, while several more appear poised to close this class in a big way. A number of Pac-12 programs are off this weekend, but one program in particular looks to be in line for a busy recruiting weekend.
Cardinal closing strong
There was only one team that made any kind of movement in Wednesday's updated team recruiting rankings, and it was a big jump for the Stanford Cardinal. On the strength of a commitment from ESPN 300 defensive tackle Nifae Lealao (Sacramento, Calif./Capital Christian), Stanford moved up four places, from No. 28 to No. 24 overall. It seems to be only a matter of time before Stanford is sitting atop the Pac-12 conference, as ESPN 300 prospects Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) and Dalton Schultz (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham) appear to be strong leans to the Cardinal. Several other four-star prospects across the country are giving the program a long look.
It's not hard to notice that UCLA hasn't sniffed the top 40 class rankings to this point and holds only nine verbal commitments -- a number that bests only six programs from BCS conferences. Of course, it helps that three of those also reside in the Pac-12, in Oregon, USC and Washington. But despite the visual evidence, UCLA is doing quite well on the recruiting trail and has a chance to close this class in a big way. Recent ESPN 300 cornerback commitment Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) is already hard at work on trying to flip good friend, teammate, and most importantly, USC commit D.J. Calhoun, as well as keep the lines of communication open with another good friend, ESPN 300 running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom). UCLA is also consistently being mentioned by some of the top recruits in the country. Alabama commit and No. 20 overall prospect Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) recently said that the Bruins will receive one of his official visits. And the River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian trio of Malachi Dupre, Mattrell McGraw and Kenny Young -- all four-star prospects -- lists UCLA among the top schools they are considering.
Ducks to get a big visitor
John "JuJu" Smith will be on hand to watch Oregon face UCLA.
John "JuJu" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) made noise on the field this past Friday night, when he led his Jackrabbits to a surprise victory over Corona (Calif.) Centennial, as the ESPN 300 athlete accounted for 150 yards of offense and two touchdowns. After the game, when he announced that he would no longer be taking an official visit to Mississippi as originally planned. Instead, he'll head to Oregon on Oct. 25 to watch the Ducks host the Bruins. It's obviously a big get for the Ducks, as Smith was looking at taking all of his official visits to programs outside the conference -- Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State visits are already set. The local programs are still in the mix for Smith, but the Ducks will now have a real opportunity to impress the two-way standout.
Cougars hosting big leans
Washington State will host several visitors this weekend, and of the three scheduled official visitors, the Cougars might be in line to throw a perfect game. It doesn't appear that linebacker Chandler Leniu (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), offensive tackle Sean Krepsz (Riverside, Calif./Martin Luther King) or running back Josh Boyd (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) are ready to make commitments yet, but all three have the Cougars in the driver's seat -- or at least with one hand on the wheel -- heading into their weekend visit. The Cougars will also get an unofficial visit from 2015 ESPN 300 quarterback Brett Rypien (Spokane, Wash./Shadle Park), the No. 114 prospect in his class, who recently added his sixth scholarhip offer, from...
Oregon State adds a big body
In addition to extending an offer to Rypien, Oregon State added a commitment from offensive tackle Trent Moore (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) earlier this week. It didn't take Moore long to make a decision, as he was offered last Thursday and made his decision the following Monday. He is commitment No. 2 for the Beavers along the offensive line, joining guard NaJee Toran (Houston/North Shore) as Oregon State continues to look for big men up front in this class, after signing just two offensive linemen in the 2013 group.