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Monday, October 21, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12

By Erik McKinney

There was plenty of news made in the desert this weekend, as Arizona landed two commitments and Arizona State had a number of visitors on hand. A number of standout performances by Pac-12 targets and positive statements made in losses are also highlighted in this week's recruiting wrap.

Biggest commitment: A nod goes to USC, which landed a commitment from three-star defensive end Olajuwon Tucker (Gardena, Calif./Serra) on Friday night, but focus quickly shifted to Arizona over the weekend, as the Wildcats landed two commitments. Wide receiver Kaelin Deboskie (Tucson, Ariz./Salpointe Catholic) gives the Wildcats another dynamic offensive skill player and a local talent, as he joines teammate and ESPN 300 prospect Cameron Denson in Arizona's class. The Wildcats also grabbed a commitment from offensive tackle Levi Walton (Cape Coral, Fla./Ida Baker), who announced via Twitter that he gave a verbal to Arizona while on an official visit.  Arizona now holds 26 verbal commitments in the 2014 class and will continue to recruits its top targets -- including offensive lineman Layth Friekh (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial), who was on an official visit this past weekend -- as academics and late defections have a way of shaping recruiting classes as coaches close in on the right number of signatures.

Best performance by a commit/target: Normally, 123 yards rushing and two touchdowns won't get noticed, but in the case of ESPN 300 safety Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue), those numbers came on just three carries and despite a few nagging injuries.

ESPN 300 cornerback Adoree' Jackson came within a few flags of running away with this category, as the nation's No. 6 recruit had three touchdowns called back due to penalties, including a brilliant punt return. Instead, Jackson settled for 92 rushing yards and an interception, while showing that he is worth every bit of recruiting effort these programs are pouring into getting his signature. But Jackson's teammates also stood out in a dominating shutout of West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade -- a team that came in averaging 47 points per game. Tucker, along with ESPN 300 linebacker Dwight Williams and 2015 ESPN 300 linebacker John Houston were tremendous all game in limiting Miami quarterback commit Brad Kaaya and tailback Donovan Lee.

Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco is a team to watch every week, as all four members of the secondary are committed to FBS programs, while four members of the front seven will likely wind up signing with BCS programs as well. The Braves also boast the top quarterback in the 2015 class, in Josh Rosen. But there is a new name emerging for St. John Bosco, as 2016 running back Sean McGrew has put together a string of standout games. McGrew rushed for 176 yards and three touchdowns in a comeback win over Orange (Calif.) Lutheran.

ESPN 300 running back and Oregon commit Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial) continues his march toward the San Diego section records for rushing yards and touchdowns. For the first time all year, Imperial was held to few than 37 points, as Freeman's squad scored 29 points on Friday night. Freeman was responsible for all four touchdowns, as the big back rushed for 267 yards. Freeman now sits 51 yards and six touchdowns away from section records in both categories.

Most important visit: Arizona State had several big visitors on campus this past weekend, but none were bigger than getting ESPN 300 offensive tackle Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) in the house. The Sun Devils continue to push for the big lineman and despite finding themselves in a tough battle with Stanford, Arizona State will look to take advantage of every opportunity possible to get some attention from the local standout. Not far behind Tucker in terms of importan visits, Arizona State also had ESPN 300 defensive end -- and Tucker's teammate -- Qualen Cunningham in attendance for this past weekend's big win over Washington.

Biggest answer: Losers on the field aren't necessarily losers off it. UCLA and Washington had big opportunities to make statements this weekend, as the Bruins traveled to Stanford and the Huskies visited Arizona State. While UCLA and Washington came up short, it was another example of how one game doesn't make or break a recruitment. The Bruins have begun showing interest in 2015 ESPN 300 defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie (Concord, Calif./De La Salle), and the big defender was in attendance at Stanford on Saturday.

"I thought both teams played well," McKenzie said. "Even though they lost, I thought UCLA played well and was impressed with how they played."

For Washington, ESPN 300 safety Bishard Baker remains a top target. Baker wasn't able to watch the game because of homecoming festivities, but he said he was very surprised when he saw the final score. Asked if it did anything to his interest in the Huskies, Baker quickly said that it had no impact.

Biggest question: How much progress did Arizona State make?

With a number of uncommitted prospects and recruits committed to other programs in attendance, Arizona State had an opportunity to gain some serious ground. It's likely that none of the big targets will make a decision anytime soon, but this weekend will likely resonate with a number of them for a while going forward. Whether it was enough to sway committed recruits Jalen Harvey (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) and D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito), or make a lasting impression on Tucker and Cunningham will be answered in time.