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Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Ultimate 300: Pac-12's top recruits

By Erik Mckinney

As signing day closes in for the 2014 class, ESPN scouts took a look back at every recruiting class, beginning in 2006, and compiled an Ultimate ESPN 300 -- the top 300 prospects based on incoming potential and college production. Pac-12 standouts dotted the list throughout, but here is a detailed look at the top five Pac-12 recruits of the past eight years.

QB Andrew Luck -- Stanford
Ultimate ESPN 300 rank: 9

Few recruits have changed the path of a program more drastically than Luck, who was one of 2008's most highly recruited quarterbacks and oversaw much of Stanford's rise from a Pac-12 afterthought to regular BCS bowl game participant. Luck was No. 61 overall and the No. 7 quarterback in a class that also featured Terrelle Pryor, Blaine Gabbert and EJ Manuel. But after a Stanford career in which he threw for 9,430 yards and 82 touchdowns against 22 interceptions, Luck checks in as the No. 9 overall prospect, the No. 2 overall quarterback and the No. 1 overall Pac-12 recruit in the Ultimate ESPN 300.

Matt Barkley
Matt Barkley's 12,327 career passing yards are the 19th best total in NCAA history.
QB Matt Barkley -- USC
Ultimate ESPN 300 rank: 10

The No. 1 overall player in a 2009 class that featured fellow prolific passers like Aaron Murray, AJ McCarron and Tajh Boyd, Barkley produced a four-year career at USC that was enough to keep him among the top 10 prospects since 2006 and the No. 3 quarterback in the Ultimate ESPN 300. Barkley set Pac-12 career records for passing yards (12,327), completions (1,001) and touchdowns (116).

S Taylor Mays -- USC
Ultimate ESPN 300 rank: 18

Mays was the No. 8 overall prospect and No. 2 safety in the 2006 class, behind No. 1 overall prospect Myron Rolle. But in the Ultimate ESPN 300, Mays checks in as the No. 1 safety after a successful four-year career at USC that featured 276 tackles and five interceptions. He was also one of the leaders of a Trojans defense that helped USC to three straight Rose Bowl wins from 2006 to '08 and another bowl victory in 2009.

ATH Anthony Barr -- UCLA
Ultimate ESPN 300 rank: 24

The No. 102 overall prospect in 2010, Barr was adamant that he play running back in college. While a number of coaches recruited Barr for the defensive side of the ball, he began his career at UCLA on offense, rushing 15 times and catching 12 passes during his first two years on the field. Prior to the 2012 season, however, Barr embraced the position switch to outside linebacker and quickly became one of the nation's best. He led the nation with 13.5 sacks as a junior, then followed that up with 10 sacks and the Lott IMPACT Award as a senior. Not surprisingly after two tremendous years, Barr shoots up the Ultimate ESPN 300 to No. 24 overall and is the top athlete on the list.

ATH Marqise Lee -- USC
Ultimate ESPN 300 rank: 33

Largely playing in the shadows of high school teammates Robert Woods -- a five-star prospect in the class of 2010 -- and George Farmer -- a five-star prospect in the class of 2011 -- Lee was still the No. 96 overall prospect. During his three-year USC career, Lee wasted little time in making a name for himself, recording 1,000-yard seasons as a true freshman and sophomore. In his second season, Lee set Pac-12 records with 118 receptions and 1,721 yards on his way to winning the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation's top receiver. Lee likely would have been even higher on the Ultimate ESPN 300 if not for an injury-plagued junior season. He missed several games with a knee injury, but still caught 57 passes for 791 yards and four touchdowns. He also played his way out of Woods' shadow, finishing as the No. 33 overall prospect on this list -- one spot ahead of his good friend.