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Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Pac-12 class rankings analysis

By Erik McKinney

Three wasn't much movement overall in the updated class rankings and even less in the Pac-12 this week, as recruits head into playoffs and continue taking their official visits. Two huge Pac-12 showdowns this weekend have a chance to shake up the recruiting scene, as plenty of momentum could be gained or lost when Washington visits UCLA on Friday and USC hosts Stanford, as well as College GameDay, on Saturday.

Trending up: Oregon State is close to filling its class with talented, three-star prospects, as October and early November have been good to the Beavers. The schedule down the stretch is brutal -- Stanford, USC, Arizona State, Washington and Oregon -- but no Pac-12 program has reeled in more commitments of late. The top four commitments in Oregon State's class have all come since October 9, with defensive tackle Kalani Vakameilalo (Kapolei, Hawaii/Kapolei) joining the class last week, just days after tight end Jake Knight (Meridian, Idaho/Rocky Mountain) and offensive tackle Yanni Demogerontas (Orland Park, Ill./Carl Sandburg). While it will be difficult to keep momentum moving forward on the football field, the Beavers were able to land those three following a loss to USC, so the coaches shouldn't have too much trouble keeping things positive on the recruiting trail.

Trending down: Cal’s play has been truly bad this season and recruits are taking notice. While several Golden Bears commits remain firm in their pledges -- ESPN 300 running back Devante Downs (Mountlake Terrace, Wash./Mountlake Terrace) and quarterback Luke Rubenzer (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) most importantly among them -- there is very little momentum on the recruiting trail. Cal could wind up struggling to hold onto ESPN 300 athlete Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and running back Tre Watson (Corona, Calif./Centennial) among others, while it looks for its first conference win of the season with Colorado and Stanford remaining.

One to watch: Stanford at USC. The Trojans brought in a number of high-profile recruits for the debacle against Washington State in the season's second game, which left a number of them with a sour taste of the Trojans. It looks as though the Coliseum will be full of a number of those same recruits on Saturday -- including most committed prospects, as well as some standout 2015 recruits such as Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly). With the No. 4-ranked Cardinal in town, USC will have an opportunity to make a huge statement that things have changed under interim head coach Ed Orgeron. USC coaches are hoping for an electric atmosphere at the Coliseum, and a win on Saturday night could have the Trojans back in the mix for a number of ESPN 300 and ESPN Junior 300 prospects. That being said, immediate recruiting results might not be seen due to Orgeron's still-undecided status as the head coach going forward.

Bold prediction: Oregon rights the recruiting ship this weekend. While Stanford gained plenty of recruiting leverage with its big win last Thursday, Oregon will waste no time in trying to make a statement of its own, bringing in ESPN 300 safety Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) and four-star offensive tackle Chris Brown (Los Angeles/Loyola) on official visits this weekend. The duo will be joined by Oregon quarterback commit Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic), who will be prepared with his best recruiting pitch. While Baker and Brown have other official visits in mind and won't be looking to make early decisions, the visit comes with the chance to be completely blown away and give Oregon enough early momentum to withstand visits to other programs.