Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Pac-12 top juco targets
By Erik McKinney
Several junior college prospects made immediate impacts in the Pac-12 this season, including Jaelen Strong at Arizona State, Steven Nelson at Oregon State and Vince Mayle at Washington State. The 2014 crop of junior college standouts will undoubtedly reveal a number of instant-impact players in the conference. Looking at the ESPN JC 50, five prospects stand out as important targets for conference teams.
1. DT Alfonso Hampton (Chula Vista, Calif./Southwestern College): The No. 10 overall prospect and No. 3 defensive tackle is only just tapping into his potential, as this is only his second year playing football. Hampton won't be a mid-year enrollee, so a number of schools are waiting to offer until they are sure that he will be academically ready to leave next spring. Arizona State, Oregon and USC have expressed interest and it wouldn't be surprising to see that interest turn to offers in the coming weeks.
2. DE Tui Talia (Pleasant Hill, Calif./Diablo Valley College): Talia initially committed to Washington, but flipped to Oregon in early June and remains committed to the Ducks. The No. 1 defensive end and No. 12 overall junior college recruit, Talia has an opportunity to make an immediate impact at Oregon. The Ducks stand to lose several impact players along their offensive line and Talia appears to be the type of player who can fit in at a number of positions up front.
3. DT Claudeson Pelon (Orlando, Fla./Mesa Community College): The No. 21 overall recruit and No. 6 defensive tackle will have a very interesting decision later this month. It looked as though Pelon was down to Arizona State, USC and Washington as his possible Pac-12 destinations, but Steve Sarkisian moving from the Huskies to Trojans could shake things up in a big way. Pelon said that if Ed Orgeron wasn't retained at USC, he wouldn't look at the Trojans, but that might not be true if Sarkisian brings in a defensive line coach that Pelon likes. Miami will get the final official visit, but this one could hinge on whether Tosh Lupoi remains at Washington.
4. WR Eric Lauderdale (Fayetteville, Ga./Saddleback College): Lauderdale holds offers from programs across the country, but Arizona State and Washington seemed to hold his interest the most among Pac-12 programs. It should be interesting to see what happens with Sarkisian taking over at USC, as Lauderdale was an important target for the Huskies under Sarkisian and the Trojans have only one wide receiver commitment in the 2014 class. Lauderdale is the No. 23 overall prospect and No. 3 wide receiver.
5. OT David Hedelin (Stockholm, Sweden/City College of San Francisco): The No. 28 overall recruit and No. 7 offensive tackle has set his official visit sights elsewhere, having taken trips to Michigan State and Mississippi, but Hedelin holds a number of Pac-12 offers. Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, USC and Washington State have all offered Hedelin and he would be an intriguing fit at any number of conference programs.