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Tuesday, November 19, 2013
ESPN Junior 300 analysis: Pac-12

By erikmckinney

Tuesday saw the release of the updated ESPN Junior 300 and Pac-12 targets are sprinkled heavily throughout the list. With a number of changes overall, we take a look at some of the movement up and down, as well as what the future holds for several of the West’s top 2015 ESPN 300 prospects.

Stanley Norman
Landing ESPN Junior 300 cornerback Stanley Norman could come down to a battle between the Los Angeles schools.
Who's rising: Cornerback Stanley Norman (Culver City, Calif./Culver City) saw the biggest jump of any West region recruit. The 5-foot-11, 155-pound athlete moved from No. 251 to No. 169 overall. He holds six Pac-12 offers and could become the topic of another UCLA-USC recruiting battle. Norman also holds Arizona State and Washington offers, and the two-way standout probably will have more options to choose from if he puts together another big offseason, similar to what he did in 2013.

Who's falling: Tight end Kyle Penniston (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) fell from No. 83 to No. 226 overall, but that won't stop Pac-12 programs from chasing the talented receiver. Mater Dei has gone heavy on the ground this season, posting 369 rushing attempts compared to 111 receptions, so Penniston hasn't been used much as a threat in the passing game. He holds an early offer from Florida State, but Oregon, UCLA, USC and Washington have been keeping an eye on him.

New entrant: The 2015 class might boast some phenomenal quarterbacks in California, but the wide receivers won't take much of a back seat. It's terrific at the top, with teammates Cordell Broadus and Kanya Bell (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar), but there is depth throughout, evidenced by the arrival in the ESPN Junior 300 of Jaylinn Hawkins (Buena Park, Calif./Buena Park). Hawkins jumps from unranked to No. 240 overall. He holds an early offer from Oregon State, but it won't be the last from the Pac-12. Like several other California juniors, Hawkins made a name for himself with a strong offseason and will continue to pick up speed following his junior season.

Battle to watch: It's right at the top of the region, as quarterback Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) will have his choice between any number of programs, but seems to be focusing on the California quartet of Cal, Stanford, UCLA and USC. Only the Cardinal have yet to offer, while Cal took the early lead in his recruitment. But strong seasons by the Bruins and Trojans now have them in the thick of the race. This battle likely won't play out deep into the 2014 calendar year, but landing the top quarterback in the country will give the winner plenty of momentum on the trail.

Biggest question: Who will rule Southern California?

It's the biggest question every year in the Pac-12, and 2015 figures to be no different. The number and ferocity of battles between UCLA and USC figures to go up, as the Bruins will be coming off a successful 2013 season and back on the trail in a big way after taking what could be a smaller group of 2014 recruits. USC, meanwhile, will be able to take a full class of 25 recruits for the first time since the 2011 class. In addition to the battle for Rosen, recruits such as Marvell Tell (Encino, Calif./Crespi), Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), John Houston (Gardena, Calif./Serra), Rasheem Green (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and Keisean Lucier-South (Orange, Calif./Lutheran) could shape the fortunes of Pac-12 programs, as all have numerous conference and national offers, and will be priority recruits for the Trojans and Bruins, as well as Pac-12 rivals looking to put their mark on the region.