Thursday, November 21, 2013
Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Nov. 21
By Erik McKinney
It has been a wild week of recruiting in the Pac-12, with ups and downs for over half the programs in the conference. There have been six commitments and four decommitments since Monday afternoon, with one prospect decommitting and committing to the same school. And with this kind of momentum generated early in the week, there's a good chance it could continue through Sunday, with several programs hosting big recruiting weekends.
Washington and Cal post up and down weeks
Jaleel Wadood decommitted from Cal on Tuesday and it looks like UCLA and USC will battle for the ESPN 300 athlete.
The Huskies and Golden Bears both lost and gained ESPN 300 prospects this week. The good news for Washington came in the form of 2015 ESPN 300 running back Austin Joyner (Marysville, Wash./Marysville-Pilchuck), who committed on Tuesday evening. That was followed up by some bad news -- and then some confusing news -- on Wednesday, as ESPN 300 wide receiver Erik Brown (Fontana, Calif./Summit) announced his decommitment from Washington. Fellow receiver Rahshead Johnson (Long Beach, Calif./Cabrillo) followed suit a short time later, but then spoke to the Washington coaches and ironed out some confusion, which led to the nation's No. 243 prospect recommitting to the Huskies.
For Cal, the bad news was ESPN 300 athlete Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) decommitting on Tuesday, although the Golden Bears benefitted from the Huskies' misfortune, as Brown pledged to Cal shortly after his decommitment.
USC and UCLA grab commitments
The Trojans scored big late Monday night, grabbing a commitment from former Alabama pledge Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial). The nation's No. 5 offensive guard will be a huge part of USC's class going forward, as he as he fills a position of need and can help the Trojans with fellow standout guard Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Mama), the No. 3 player at his position and a good friend of Talamaivao. Mama, meanwhile, announced a top four of Alabama, BYU, UCLA and USC, though it's likely to come down to the local schools.
UCLA followed up USC's win by grabbing a big commitment of its own, as safety John Plattenburg (Houston/Lamar) pledged to the Bruins. Plattenburg and Talamaivao were teammates at Centennial before Plattenburg moved back to Texas for his senior season. The Bruins continue to load up in the defensive backfield and Plattenburg gives them a recruit capable of playing cornerback or safety, and one of the most sought-after athletes in the region during his time in California.
UCLA's big weekend
Four-star OT Chris Brown will be one of many top prospects at UCLA this weekend.
The Bruins will have an opportunity to make an impression on a number of recruits when they host Arizona State. Joining Wadood on official visits will be four-star offensive tackle Chris Brown (Los Angeles/Loyola) and Texas commit Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Earl Warren). They'll be joined by a number of standout 2014 and 2015 prospects, including ESPN Junior 300 tight end Alize Jones (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman).
The Trojans and Bruins will battle it out for Wadood, though it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see the Bruins grab a commitment from the No. 297 overall prospect. In fact, with a win against Arizona State, it wouldn't be surprising to see UCLA able to parlay that into several recruiting wins over the weekend.
Arizona State adds to class
The Sun Devils received a couple pieces of positive news this week as they landed a commitment from three-star safety Deandre Scott (Philadelphia/Imhotep) on Monday. Scott selected Arizona State over offers from Miami, Nebraska, Penn State, Tennessee and West Virginia, among others.
Arizona State was also one of the schools to utilize the grant-in-aid this year as ESPN 300 linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) signed the paperwork this week, locking in a spot with the Sun Devils' 2014 class. The paperwork allows Calhoun the freedom to explore his recruiting options and enroll somewhere else, but Arizona State is bound to extend him a scholarship if he chooses to enroll there this spring.
Fellow ESPN 300 prospect Jalen Brown (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe) joined Calhoun in signing grant-in-aid paperwork this week as he made things official with the Oregon Ducks.
Pac-12 North visitors
Two programs in the Pac-12 North will receive some important official visitors this weekend.
Washington State has a chance to make a big impression on two committed prospects as UCLA commit Denzel Fisher (Compton, Calif./Centennial) and Washington commit Rahshead Johnson (Long Beach, Calif./Cabrillo) will be on hand. The Cougars will also host safety Darren Gardenhire, Johnson's teammate, who recently decommitted from San Jose State and is now looking hard at Boise State, Utah and Washington State.
A little farther south, Oregon State will have commits Harris Ross (Pittsburg, Calif./Pittsburg) and Adam Soesman (Clovis, Calif./Buchanan) on hand, as well as three-star defensive end Lamone Williams (Kahuku, Hawaii/Kahuku) and ESPN 300 running back and Cal commit Devante Downs (Mountlake Terrace, Wash./Mountlake Terrace). Those likely won't be the only visitors on hand as Oregon State has found success over the past several years in bringing in late visitors for big recruiting weekends, which this is shaping up to be.