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Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Pac-10 team-by-team recruiting needs

By Mark Schlabach
ESPN.com

As national signing day approaches, here's a look at each Pac-10 team's biggest needs:

Arizona Wildcats

With 10 starters leaving from a defense that allowed 27 points per game in 2007, coach Mike Stoops will have to rebuild that side of the football, particularly outside linebacker and the interior defensive line. Cornerback also is a big concern with starters Antoine Cason and Wilrey Fontenot leaving. Arizona installed a spread offense before last season and is still in need of more receivers and offensive linemen.

Arizona State Sun Devils

If the Sun Devils are going to continue to make strides under coach Dennis Erickson, they'll have to upgrade their secondary and pass rush in the pass-happy Pac-10. Arizona State has targeted a handful of defensive linemen and defensive backs. Pass protection was the offense's Achilles' heel last season and replacements are needed along the offensive line. Finding a primary tailback to help replace departed leading rusher Ryan Torain also is a priority.

California Golden Bears

With DeSean Jackson and Lavelle Hawkins leaving for the NFL and tailback Justin Forsett exhausting his eligibility, coach Jeff Tedford will have to replace much of his offensive firepower. Tight end also needs to be addressed with starter Craig Stevens leaving. The Bears also need more depth in the secondary and at inside linebacker.

Oregon Ducks

The Ducks will have to replace their two biggest stars -- quarterback Dennis Dixon and tailback Jonathan Stewart. Oregon hopes to sign at least one quarterback and a couple of running backs. With receivers Brian Paysinger, Cameron Colvin and Garren Strong leaving, finding perimeter weapons also is a top priority. Three starters return on the offensive line, but building depth at guard is a top priority. After a couple of highly regarded prospects failed to academically qualify in 2007, the defensive line remains a concern.

Oregon State Beavers

Besides losing star running back Yvenson Bernard, the Beavers lose their entire front seven on defense. Oregon State might bring in as many as four running backs, and the defensive line and linebacker also are top priorities. The Beavers also need to add a couple of receivers to complement James Rodgers and Darrell Catchings and secure a quarterback for the future. Building depth at center also must be addressed.

Stanford Cardinal

Cardinal coach Jim Harbaugh needs to upgrade his team's speed and talent nearly everywhere. The loss of receivers Mark Bradford and Evan Moore makes that position a recruiting priority. Harbaugh also needs to sign a quarterback he can groom into a future starter. Stanford also needs more linemen on both sides of the football, particularly at defensive end. Finding more cornerbacks is also near the top of Harbaugh's recruiting wish list.

UCLA Bruins

New Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel inherits a team with future voids at wide receiver, running back and defensive back. Top receivers Brandon Breazell and Joe Cowan are leaving, and the Bruins need more young depth at tight end. Neuheisel sought to address those areas along with building depth on both lines. The Bruins lose star pass-rusher Bruce Davis, so look for Neuheisel to try and shore up that area as well.

USC Trojans

Pete Carroll has recruited tremendous classes at USC, but the Trojans seem to have a talent void at wide receiver and tight end, especially with All-American Fred Davis leaving. Both offensive tackles also will be gone, so Carroll needs to build depth at those positions. The defensive line also needs more depth with Lawrence Jackson and Sedrick Ellis leaving. USC loses outside linebacker Keith Rivers, and starters Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga will be seniors in 2008.

Washington Huskies

With quarterback Jake Locker returning for his sophomore season, Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham wants to find more offensive linemen to protect him. Willingham also needs to upgrade his team's receiver corps with faster players. The Huskies ranked 107th in the country in total defense, so Willingham is looking to improve the unit across the board. Defensive ends is the biggest priority on defense.

Washington State Cougars

New coach Paul Wulff got off to a late start in recruiting, but still hopes to address a couple areas of concern as he begins his first season. Wulff needs to find immediate junior college help on the defensive line. Quicker and more athletic offensive linemen are needed, and Wulff hopes to add depth at each of the skill positions on offense.

Mark Schlabach covers college football and men's college basketball for ESPN.com. You can contact him at schlabachma@yahoo.com.