Monday, October 28, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12
By Erik McKinney
Arizona State went back to El Cerrito (Calif.) High School to add another verbal commitment from an ESPN 300 prospect, several big visitors took in Oregon's win over UCLA, and career rushing records fell in San Diego and at a Northern California high school in this week's Pac-12 weekend recruiting wrap.
Biggest commitment: Arizona State landed a big one on Sunday afternoon, as ESPN 300 linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) announced his commitment. The nation's No. 226 overall prospect and No. 16 outside linebacker decommitted from USC last Monday and finished off his recruitment six days later, as he made the call for the Sun Devils. Calhoun joins teammate Jalen Harvey in Arizona State's recruiting class, and his commitment means Todd Graham's staff was able to flip California and USC commitments in the past week.
Best performance by a commit/target: San Diego has produced a number of standout running backs over the years, and another put his stamp on the record books this weekend. After an 11-carry, 135-yard performance in a dominating win, Oregon commit Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial) has now rushed for a San Diego Section record 6,778 yards in his career. That puts him atop a heap that includes college and professional greats such as Marcus Allen, Reggie Bush, Terrell Davis, Rashaan Salaam and Ricky Williams.
Oregon running back commit Royce Freeman set a San Diego Section record for career rushing yards this weekend.
Not to be outdone, Oregon State running back commitment Harris Ross (Pittsburg, Calif./Pittsburg) set two records of his own this past Friday, as the big back rushed for 272 yards and three touchdowns, setting the career and single-season rushing records at his school. Ross didn't have to go far for congratulations on the record, as the former career rushing record holder at Pittsburg, running backs coach and former Oregon State great Ken Simonton, was on the sideline.
Junior college wide receiver Eric Lauderdale (Fayetteville, Ga./Saddleback College) wasn't able to celebrate a victory over the weekend, but the standout receiver -- who holds offers from Arizona State and Washington, among others -- hauled in 13 passes for 255 yards and four touchdowns.
The two-way combination of Cal commit Luke Rubenzer and 2015 ESPN 300 prospect Christian Kirk (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro) put up some impressive numbers in a big win. Kirk had 140 receiving yards on six catches. He also scored touchdowns rushing and receiving, recorded an interception and a fumble recovery. Rubezner, who is the starting quarterback and also plays safety, threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns while completing 16 of 19 passes. Rubenzer added 149 yards and three touchdowns on the ground, and recorded an interception on defense.
Most important visit: Oregon had several visitors on hand, but none were bigger than ESPN 300 athlete John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly). The nation's No. 41 overall prospect took an official visit to Oregon -- his third of five planned trips -- and came away impressed by the Ducks. As of Sunday afternoon, Smith said it was too early to tell what the visit did in terms of his overall recruitment, but he did say Oregon is definitely a program to watch for when it comes time for his decision.
Biggest answer: One of the biggest answers came in the form of Calhoun's commitment, as it seemed everything was pointing that way following his decommitment from USC. Another came later on Sunday, as reaction from Oregon's win over UCLA began coming in. While the Ducks were obviously the big winners of the weekend after posting a decisive win, a number of recruits were impressed with the Bruins' performance and thought it could be a sign of some very positive things in the future for the UCLA program.
Biggest question: With a chance to still shake up the recruiting picture in the Pac-12, every win for interim coach Ed Orgeron at USC makes things more interesting regarding the Trojans. Forced to do everything short of dressing Traveler in order to make up for scholarship losses and a debilitating injury situation, USC players again played hard for Orgeron in a win over Utah in front of a number of recruits. There are plenty of questions won't get answered anytime soon, but they will likely be asked a lot between now and the early part of December. What will happen long-term with the USC head coaching position? And will the way the Trojans finish the season have them in positive position for their top targets?