Monday, January 27, 2014
Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12
By Erik McKinney
There were official visitors all over the Pac-12 this weekend, as conference coaches look to close out the 2014 recruiting class. But the most noise was made by a 2015 quarterback who committed to stay home for his college football career.
Ricky Town is a big addition for the new coaching staff at USC.
Biggest commitment: Several Pac-12 programs landed commitments this weekend, but none moved the needle more than 2015 quarterback Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure), who decommitted from Alabama on Saturday morning and committed to USC later that evening. Town grew up a USC fan but seemingly found a home with Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. Steve Sarkisian had other plans, however, and made Town a priority after coming over from Washington. Sarkisian has had success with the 2014 class thus far, and proved during the weekend that he is on the right path with the 2015 group as well.
Biggest offer: The Oregon Ducks might still be looking to finish out the 2014 offensive line class, but they took a step forward in putting together the 2015 corps, extending an offer to offensive tackle Calvin Throckmorton (Bellevue, Wash./Newport). The big two-way lineman now holds offers from Oregon and Washington and eventually could turn into the target of another Pacific Northwest recruiting battle.
Best performance by a commit/target: Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) participated in the B2G West Coast Bowl and to the surprise of absolutely nobody, turned in two special plays with a 51-yard reception and a 61-yard punt return. Jackson will make his announcement on signing day on ESPNU and has said that he wants to do it in a way nobody else has. The nation's No. 9 overall prospect could be setting himself up to prove that he can be a showman on and off the field.
Most important visit: While USC was hosting Town and some big-time 2014 talent -- including John "JuJu" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) -- on official visits, UCLA had a number of talented recruits on campus as well. Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) took his official visit to UCLA and is now down to the Bruins and Washington Huskies as finalists. Baker will announce his decision on signing day, but the Bruins have done well recruiting him, dating to well before he decommitted from Oregon.
The Bruins also countered USC by bringing in their own stellar 2015 quarterback candidate, as No. 1 overall QB Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) took an unofficial visit to Westwood. While Rosen has favored Stanford and Cal at various points, the Bruins appear to be the leader now.
Biggest answer: While Town committing to USC was the biggest statement, the biggest answer came from ESPN 300 prospect Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure). The nation's top tight end committed to USC in early January, but was receiving a strong push from UCLA and was adamant that he would take an official visit to UCLA next weekend. With Town's commitment, however, Dixon said that he would no longer visit the Bruins on Jan. 31 -- in what is shaping up to be a phenomenal collection of talent heading to UCLA -- and is locked into signing with USC.
Biggest question: Can Cal gain momentum this week? The Golden Bears' recruiting class took a hit over the weekend when athlete Koa Farmer (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) flipped his commitment to Penn State, but Cal rebounded with a commitment from John Porchivina (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande). Cal also hosted former USC commit Shay Fields Jr. (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and former Washington State commit Chandler Leniu (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and decisions could be close for both. Former San Jose State commit Aisea Tongilava (Orange, Calif./Lutheran) took a trip to Washington over the weekend. He’s down to the Huskies and Golden Bears and will make his decision this week. After a poor season on the field and stops and starts on the recruiting trail, Cal coach Sonny Dykes has an opportunity to put together a very solid class.