Thursday, September 5, 2013
Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Sept. 5
By Erik McKinney
Two secondary additions were the primary reason UCLA was the talk of Pac-12 recruiting this week, though several programs will have opportunities to make a recruiting impact with important home games this weekend. Several more might have to wait a few weeks before they get the same chance.
Bruins pick up big commitments
ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) looked ticketed for USC when good friend and teammate D.J. Calhoun committed to the Trojans over the summer and head coach Lane Kiffin and staff seemed to make him a priority at cornerback. But Pickett made a surprise announcement on Tuesday, when he committed to UCLA. Pickett said a big reason was the fact that he felt at home with the Bruins -- additionally, USC wouldn’t let him take an in-season official visit, which was something Pickett felt he needed to do. Whatever the reasons, Pickett’s commitment to UCLA sends a message that the Bruins will again be a program of strength during this recruiting season. UCLA backed up Pickett’s commitment by landing fellow cornerback Denzel Fisher (Compton, Calif./Centennial) later that evening. Now, at a position where USC is in desperate need of bodies in this recruiting class, the Bruins have three solid options, including two from in-state standouts.
While a number of impact recruits visited UCLA for the Bruins’ home opener this past weekend, USC will have a chance to make a similar impression during Saturday’s game against Washington State. ESPN 300 recruits Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), JuJu Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra) are scheduled to be in attendance, as are standout 2015 prospects Cordell Broadus (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar), Jake Grant (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon), John Houston (Gardena, Calif./Serra), Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), Stanley Norman (Culver City, Calif./Culver City) and Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco). A big win combined with a positive atmosphere could begin to put USC back in the game with some of these big-time local recruits.
Beavers have a chance to bounce back
Seven FBS schools fell to FCS programs during college football’s opening weekend, but Oregon State was the only ranked team to do so. It was quite a bump in the road for the Beavers, but Mike Riley’s program will have a chance to bounce back quickly, both on the field with a home game against Hawaii, and on the recruiting trail, as several important visitors will be on hand. At least four official visitors will make the trip -- wide receivers Jalen Brown (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe) and Alex Van Dyke (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks), offensive guard Cole Anderson (League City, Tex./Clear Falls) and safety Bright Ugwoegbu (Katy, Tex./Seven Lakes). It’s an interesting collection of talent, both positions and hometowns. The wide receivers have certainly taken notice of the big numbers the top two Oregon State receivers put up last season, while the Texas tandem will likely be greeted warmly by the seven members on the Beavers roster from the Lone Star State.
Waiting in Arizona
Arizona and Arizona State had terrific offseasons on the recruiting trail, but the 2013 schedule threw a bit of a wrench in any plan to keep that momentum going in the early part of the season. Arizona State didn’t play the first weekend and will host Sacramento State tonight. But while Thursdays can be a difficult night to bring recruits to the game, it’s not the impossibility of Friday night contests, which is what Arizona was faced with last weekend. Additionally, the Wildcats play at UNLV this weekend, so any official or unofficial visitors will have to wait until Sept. 14, when Arizona hosts UTSA. Neither program will likely be worried about the slow start, however, as both have big opportunities upcoming. Arizona State will have plenty of recruits on the sideline when they host Wisconsin and USC later this month, while Arizona closes the season with three of the its final four games at home.
Last but not least
With its recent run of success, Stanford isn’t used to coming in last in anything. But when it kicks off against San Jose State on Saturday night, it will become the final FBS program to do so. While the football team is eagerly awaiting the beginning of the season, don’t expect much recruiting news focused on the Cardinal camp. Stanford is one of a seemingly growing number of programs that prefers to push its official visitors back into January. While it’s possible that a few could take place during the season based on the needs of certain recruits, don’t expect a lengthy list of visitors -- official or unofficial -- for any Stanford game this year. Of course, one prospect who could become a regular at games this season is ESPN 300 quarterback Keller Chryst (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto), who lives close enough that he just about reaches Stanford’s stadium when he goes out to check the mail. Look for the Cardinal to make some serious noise in January, when they host their Big Visit weekend.