Thursday, December 26, 2013
Top Pac-12 Under Armour Game targets
By Erik McKinney
While there won't be a ton of West region prospects at the Under Armour All-America Game, there are a few extremely important targets for Pac-12 programs.
1. CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra)
Jackson is the No. 7 prospect and No. 1 player in the West region, and he is still looking at a number of programs, including Florida, Florida State, LSU, Oregon and USC. The Ducks are clearly on the outside looking in, as Jackson hasn't yet visited Eugene -- though he does have one final official visit at his disposal. The Trojans got a big boost recently when Jackson visited Las Vegas and took in USC's bowl win over Fresno State, and Jackson's teammate, quarterback Jalen Greene, received an offer and committed to USC. Florida, Florida State and LSU have long been in the running thanks to strong football and track and field programs; Jackson is a decorated long jumper with dreams of participating in the 2016 Olympics.
2. Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) and Arrion Springs (San Antonio/Theodore Roosevelt)
The two Oregon commitments will begin their careers together one game early, as they'll team up at the UA Game. Both represent big additions for the Ducks, as Mahalak will be able to watch Marcus Mariota for a year before jumping into what should be a heated quarterback competition in 2015. Springs has an opportunity to compete for playing time at cornerback as a freshman.
3. John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly)
The nation's No. 38 prospect, Smith has Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oregon on his short list, but this will likely come down to a local battle between UCLA and USC. The Trojans have plenty of momentum, as Smith will take an official visit to USC in January and has a strong relationship with the new staff. Capable of playing safety or wide receiver at the next level, Smith is an important target for both Pac-12 programs, but he is a recruit USC simply can't afford to lose to its crosstown rival.
4. Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy)
Few Pac-12 signings would make more of a splash than if Arizona is able to go across the country and land the nation's No. 15 overall prospect. Tabor has consistently mentioned the Wildcats as a possible destination, and although it will be difficult to beat out Alabama for his signature, Arizona has done well to keep itself involved for the talented cornerback.
5. Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton)
Tucker is going to wind up in the Pac-12, but the question is whether it will be at Arizona State or Stanford. Early on, this looked like a slam dunk for the Cardinal, but a strong season from the Sun Devils has them in the running for the nation's No. 46 prospect. With Arizona State and Stanford battling for the top spot in the conference, Tucker could determine the recruiting champion in the Pac-12 for this cycle.