Monday, January 6, 2014
Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12
By Erik McKinney
It was a very busy weekend in the Pac-12, as several programs picked up recruits during the various All-American games across the country.
Biggest commitment: Five conference teams added commitments since last Thursday, and all will likely play a big role in shaping classes on signing day.
Arizona got an early start on the weekend, as the Wildcats grabbed two huge commitments this past Thursday with ESPN 300 cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy) -- the No. 15 overall prospect in the nation -- and former USC commit and ESPN 300 offensive tackle Jordan Poland (La Jolla, Calif./La Jolla Country Day).
Arizona State landed a commitment from two-way lineman Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch) during the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on Sunday. Delp will still visit other programs, but if he sticks with Arizona State, he'll provide a boost at defensive tackle.
Oregon's defensive recruiting got a boost during the Semper Fi game, as four-star outside linebacker Jimmie Swain IV (Olathe, Kan./Olathe North) selected the Ducks over Arkansas, Michigan State and Texas A&M.
UCLA had arguably the biggest weekend of any Pac-12 program, as the Bruins added three four-star commitments to their 2014 class. ESPN 300 linebacker Zach Whitley Jr. (Houston/North Shore) started the weekend on Friday night, flipping from Alabama to UCLA. ESPN 300 linebacker Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra) kept the momentum going by selecting the Bruins during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, and four-star running back Nathan Starks (Greenwood Village, Calif./Cherry Creek) capped off the big weekend.
USC picked up two very important commitments, as ESPN 300 tight end Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) and ESPN 300 wide receiver Rahshead Johnson (Long Beach, Calif./Cabrillo) committed to the Trojans. There were times during the 2013 season that USC's sanction-reduced roster was forced to hit the practice field without a healthy scholarship tight end and only one or two healthy scholarship receivers so Dixon and Johnson should find their way into the rotation quickly.
Biggest offer: The biggest offer went to Johnson from the Trojans since it resulted in an immediate commitment. USC needs receivers in this class, and it seemed it was only a matter of time before the former Washington commitment became part of USC's class after coach Steve Sarkisian joined the Trojans.
Best performance by a commit/target: Oregon running back commit Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial) scored three touchdowns in leading the West team to a big win in the Army All-American Bowl.
The Semper Fi game saw some big performances by Pac-12 commitments, as Stanford linebacker commit Bobby Okereke (Tustin, Calif./Foothill) was all over the field, making tackles behind the line of scrimmage and from sideline to sideline. USC commits Shay Fields (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) made themselves visible as well, as Fields caught a short pass and turned it into a touchdown, while Lockett returned a punt 76 yards for a score.
Biggest question: Will Arizona wind up with the Pac-12's top recruit? With Tabor on board, it appears the last chance for any conference program to bump Arizona's commitment from Tabor is either UCLA or USC, who are hoping to land five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra). Jackson released a top six following the Under Armour All-America Game, and the Bruins and Trojans were represented alongside Florida, LSU, Oklahoma and Tennessee. It will be tough to keep Jackson away from Florida or LSU, but if either Los Angeles program can do it, it will extend the Pac-12's streak of landing at least one top-ten recruit to three years.