Posted: 10:00 a.m. Friday, Aug. 23, 2013
By Jack Follman
The spring and summer used to basically be an unofficial dead period for college football recruiting news, but in the last few years, it has exploded into one of the more active periods of recruiting news, and the summer of 2013 in the Pac-12 was filled with high profile commitments. It's still very early in the game, and a good number of the players who have committed to Pac-12 schools already will probably end up signing with other schools, but now that the season is about to start, recruiting should slow down a bit, so let's take a look at where the conference's schools stand now with their commitments.
Arizona - 22 commitments
Star commits - WR Cameron Denson - Tucson - Salpointe Catholic, RB Nick Wilson - Fresno - Central East, QB Brandon Dawkins - Westlake Village, CA - Oaks Christian
The Wildcats have been loading up on early commitments more than any other school in the conference, as they almost have the average number of commits in a typical Pac-12 recruiting class already. Like many coaches when they are early in their tenure with a school, Rich Rodriguez likely wants to get as many players that fit his scheme in the program as possible, and he's doing a great job of getting skill position players to commit who can add strength to his high-speed offense. Likely looking to address their defensive problems as soon as possible too, the Wildcats already have five junior college defensive prospects on board.
Arizona State - 13 commitments
Star commits - WR Tyler Whiley - Scottsdale, AZ - Chaparral, QB Manny Wilkins - Novato, CA - San Marin
Todd Graham has gotten off to a good start with his 2014 class, particularly with the two big splashes of Whiley and Wilkins, especially since the Sun Devils need to start keeping local stars like Whiley home, and they have a major need at receiver. Wilkins is one of the few elite quarterbacks on the West Coast this year, so getting his commitment was huge for Graham. Graham also seems to think that the Sun Devils are going to need to reload in the defensive backfield, as they already have six commitments from cornerbacks and safeties.
Cal - 10 commitments
Star commits - CB Jaleel Wadood - Bellflower, CA - St. John Bosco
Despite their struggles towards the end of Jeff Tedford's tenure in Berkeley, the Bears always seemed to have talented recruiting classes, and though Dykes has gotten a good start on getting commitments in line, they haven't started to blow anyone away yet. Dykes has done a good job of already getting a quarterback for his system in with Scottsdale's Luke Rebenezer, and three running backs headlined by Corona's Tre Watson and big backs Devante Downs and Vic Enwere.
Colorado - 11 commitments
The Buffs may not already have a wealth of big time prospects committed, but it's a promising sign for Mike McIntyre and his staff that he already has 11 players pledged to Colorado coming off of what was probably the worst season in the program's history. The Buffs are doing a good job of hitting California and Texas hard, but their most promising commitment might be from Longmont, Colorado tackle Isaac Miller. The Buffs desperately need start recruiting well in-state again, and getting Miller in the fold is a good start.
Oregon - 8 commitments
Star commits - RB Royce Freeman - Imperial, CA, CB Arrion Springs - San Antonio - Roosevelt, T Tyrell Cosby - Henderson, NV - Green Valley
The Ducks were notorious for grabbing their commits late in the game under Chip Kelly, but it looks like Mark Helfrich is at least a little more interested in locking up commits early, as the Ducks have already secured eight commitments. The Ducks have made some big splashes early by grabbing one of the West's best running backs in Freeman, an electric playmaker in Texas in Springs and one of the West's best tackles in Cosby. The Ducks also had one of the first big flips of the year, by getting Diablo Valley College stud defensive end Tui Talia to switch on a commitment to Washington.
Oregon State - 7 commitments
The Beavers definitely don't pull in the star prospects that other Pac-12 schools do, but once again, it looks like they are going to pull together a class of under-the-radar players that fit Mike Riley's system. The Beavers have landed some solid prospects though, and already have two quarterbacks pledged in Snoqualmie, Washington's Nick Mitchell and Dinuba, California's Marcus McMaryion. The Beavers have gotten off to a good start recruiting nationally as their seven commitments come from five different states, but they can hopefully hit their own home state hard this year, since Oregon has a rare strong crop of prospects in the Class of 2014.
Stanford - 15 commitments
Star commits - QB Keller Chryst - Palo Alto, RB Christian McCaffrey - Highlands Ranch, CO - Valor Christian, LB Joey Alfieri - Portland - Jesuit, S Brandon Simmons - Arlington, TX - Mansfield Timberview, LB Bobby Okereke - Santa Ana, CA - Foothill
Stanford probably has the most impressive list of committed players thus far, especially since they have two of the best prospects out West in Chryst and McCaffrey. The Cardinal took a very small class in 2013, so they are probably trying to load up this year and have gotten off to a great start. Hometown boy Chryst looks like a future star, and the rest of the players committed fit the Stanford mold of smart football players from all around the nation. The Cardinal surprisingly only have one offensive lineman commit thus far though, and only one commit who weighs more than 220 pounds.
UCLA - 6 commitments
Star commits - WR Austin Roberts - Carmel, IN
The Bruins took a massive, highly-rated class in 2013, so it makes sense that they are getting off to the slowest start of any school in the conference. The Bruins have only gotten six commitments thus far, and all of them are either receivers of defensive backs, probably their two biggest units of need. The Bruins are in on a number of top-rated prospects though, so expect them to land a lot more highly-rated recruits between now and signing day.
USC - 7 commitments
Star commits - LB D.J. Calhoun - El Cerrito, CA, G Toa Lobendahn - La Habra, CA, DT Tashon Smallwood - Fresno - Central East
The Trojans took a tiny class in 2013 that was bursting at the seams with highly-rated players, but will be able to sign more players in 2014, and they have gotten off to a start that isn't quite as elite as it was last year. The Trojans have seven commits, but none are rated as a five-star recruits by Scout or Rivals. Some positives though are that all but Calhoun are either offensive or defensive linemen, so Lane Kiffin and his staff may be putting an emphasis on reloading in the trenches. Also, all are from California (six out of seven from SoCal), so they may also be putting more emphasis on making sure they are the premier destination for southern California recruits.
Utah - 9 commitments
Star commits - T Jackson Barton - Salt Lake City - Brighton
The Utes have stepped up their recruiting, as far as signing guys with higher prospect rankings, since joining the Pac-12, and they look to be continuing that trend thus far with the beginnings of the Class of 2014. The Utes have done particularly well with loading up early on local lineman, as they have four commitments from linemen from the state of Utah, including the highly-rated Barton. If the Utes can hang onto their local linemen and grab some solid recruits out of California and Texas, they could put together a very solid class.
Washington - 8 commitments
Star commits - WR Erik Brown - Fontana, CA - Summit, WR Rahshead Johnson - Long Beach, CA - Cabrillo, CB Jonathan Lockett - Santa Ana, CA - Mater Dei
The Huskies have gotten a huge jump on recruiting receivers with commits from two of the West Coast's best in Brown and Johnson. Randomly, the Huskies have already hit Idaho hard this year, with three commitments from players from the state, including one of the West's top tight end prospects in Chase Blakley. As usual under Steve Sarkisian, the Huskies are in the hunt for a number of California's top recruits, and how they can close will determine how well their class is judged, along with how many offensive linemen (which they really need) they can grab.
Washington State - 10 commitments
The Cougars are looking to keep on track with improved recruiting under Mike Leach, with the quality of early commits that they have. The Cougars have a handful of solid recruits from California, including two receivers that they could add to their strong unit, along with Bellevue, Washington defensive tackle Marcus Griffin who could be the gem of the class if they can keep him away from other schools.