College Football Recruiting: Power Ranking the Pac-12's Current 2013 Classes
Until mid-to-late August, summer is a dull time for college football. However, the real game is played out at recruit camps and at televised school-selection conferences, where schools woo top recruits who choose where they want to play their college football.
Although their choices do not become official until national signing day on February 6, the race is on. Players may de-commit in the final hour, such as current Ducks star De’Anthony Thomas switching from USC to Oregon on signing day in 2011.
However, this is a minority of high school seniors, meaning schools can usually celebrate whenever a top recruit picks their university.
These rankings are based on the current committed classes. I have no doubt schools such as Stanford and Oregon, with fewer than 10 commitments so far, will fill their classes by February.
Additionally, the stock of commits might rise or fall depending on their senior performances as well as injuries.
Hey, it’s never too early to make predictions when it comes to sports.
1. USC (16 Commitments)
USC has been a bully on the recruiting trail, following the “ask and you shall receive” mantra.
Incredibly, none of their 16 commitments are 3-star recruits or below.
The Trojans have just two scholarships left due to sanctions, which means this class could be complete much sooner than most.
The limits in scholarships have forced USC to offer to fewer players and focus on only the cream of the crop of elite recruits.
That’s not a bad thing. Currently Rivals’ top-ranked class, the Trojans have their quarterback of the future (Max Browne), fearsome safety duo of the future (Su’a Cravens and Max Redfield) and defensive line juggernauts of the future (Kenny Bigelow, Eddie Vanderdoes and Kylie Fitts), among other positions.
Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron have earned their money with their recruiting this year. Expect to see this class help to maintain USC’s winning ways post-Barkley.
2. Washington (16 Commitments)
The results on the field haven’t shown up quite yet, but more and more talent is being pumped into the program. The Huskies received a stunning seven commitments for 2013 on June 29, highlighted by sure-handed wideout Demorea Stringfellow.
Elijah Qualls should also be looked out for. The 285-pounder played running back—yes, running back—in high school, and coach Steve Sarkisian will value his versatility as a pass-rusher or elsewhere highly.
This class is looking good in early reviews, and the addition of recruiting guru Tosh Lupoi to the coaching staff could help sway some last-second switches next February.
3. Arizona (23 Commitments)
A Michigan team that won 11 games and the Sugar Bowl was mostly filled with current Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez’s players. The man’s coaching abilities were questioned in Ann Arbor, but there’s no doubt the man can recruit.
Right now, the Wildcats rank second nationally with their 23 commitments so far. They went especially big in June, racking up 15 pledges in the month alone.
Crafty quarterback Anu Solomon could be a find, while mammoth 4-star offensive lineman Logan Stott looks like he will stay with Arizona despite committing to fired head coach Mike Stoops.
A lack of talent across the board will be why Arizona takes its lumps over the next two years, but the size and depth of this class can create a turnaround down the line.
4. Oregon (8 Commitments)
This group is far from complete, but the commitments so far forebode well.
Chip Kelly and company didn’t let the top in-state player escape, and 5-star running back (per Rivals) Thomas Tyner became 2013’s first commitment last November. He’s dangerous in the open field, and gives the Ducks yet another option for their daunting rushing attack.
Additionally, they kept 4-star lineman Evan Voeller in Oregon, where he will be a powerful and athletic run blocker perfect for the Ducks’ system.
The Ducks have just one potential defensive player in Chris Seisay. The current depth on defense is unprecedented, but in two years that is subject to change. The 2013 class needs to stock up on defense sooner rather than later.
5. Stanford (6 Commitments)
Like Oregon, their class so far is small, but the Cardinal have quality in their commitments so far. The strength of the squad the past couple of years has been at quarterback and linebacker, and the trend continues.
Ryan Burns is 6’5”, 218 pounds, and suited to the same pro-style offense that one Mr. Luck flourished so well under during his time on The Farm.
Meanwhile, 4-star linebackers Peter Kalambayi, Doug Randolph and Isaac Savaiinaea will be the next anchors of the defense, while 4-star wideout Francis Owusu has the hands to become the go-to for Burns like his brother Chris (currently in training camp with the 49ers) was for Luck.
Stanford finished with a top-10 class last February, and if they can fill the rest of their class with players of similar caliber to their pledges so far, then they’ll reach that milestone again.
6. UCLA (11 Commitments)
The problem for UCLA in recent years hasn’t been the recruiting, but the level of coaching. Rick Neuheisel is gone, and Jim Mora is in.
Deon Hollins could be a pass rushing phenom as a freshman, and has the athleticism to become a star on the defense.
At 6’7” and 310 pounds, Eric Bunte will also be a monster on the offensive line.
Maybe it’s because the sons of rapping moguls Diddy and Snoop Dogg aren’t coming to UCLA until 2014 and 2015, but this class lacks star power. Mora has done well for jumping right in, but he needs to finish strong if he wants UCLA to be more than mediocre by Pac-12 standards.
7. Arizona State (6 Commitments)
New head coach Todd Graham did good by Devils’ faithful in locking up in-state and 4-star recruit Chans Cox. Especially considering the huge question mark ASU has in the linebacking corps, Cox will have the chance to have an immediate impact next fall. Tight end Grant Martinez is another big in-state get.
Quarterback Josh Dobbs made a name for himself and became a finalist at the Elite 11 Quarterback camp, and his status as a dual-threat quarterback will make him fit well into the new offense attack Graham is installing.
The Sun Devils beat out SEC schools for defensive end Dimarya Mixon out of Texas, and his speed will be utilized in the new 3-4 defense.
Graham has made a good impression in Tempe with his recruits so far. Fans sure hope he can keep it up through February.
8. Cal (9 Commitments)
After losing recruiting coordinator Tosh Lupoi to Washington, the Golden Bears lost 2012 blue-chipper Shaq Thompson to the Huskies among other signees.
The undisputed star of the class so far is 4-star quarterback Jared Goff, who also made the Elite 11 finals. He has always wanted to go to Cal, and it looks like head coach Jeff Tedford will keep him throughout.
Wideout A.J. Richardson and tight end Ray Hudson will be key cogs of the offense down the line,
There is plenty of work left to do in Berkeley, and Tedford will need to win some battles against Stanford, USC and UCLA down the stretch to bring in a better class.
9. Washington State (11 Commitments)
Mike Leach hasn’t coached a game yet in Pullman, and already his spread offense is showing results. Four-star quarterback Tyler Bruggman chose WSU over his local favorite Arizona State, and his precision and ability out of the pocket will thrive in Leach’s system.
Athlete River Cracraft has improved dramatically over the past year and could be a steal down the line at wide receiver or elsewhere.
Leach is not the master-recruiter one might think, but his repute and coaching ability, and general wackiness compared to the departed Paul Wulff will lure an unexpected prospect or two all the way to Pullman. Yarrr.
10. Colorado (12 Commitments)
The Buffaloes took a while but finally added a much-needed linebacker in 3-star inside linebacker George Frazier in late June.
Tight end Mitchell Parsons is a local kid that has the size and hands to become a serious threat in the passing game, while Colorado surprisingly kept offensive lineman John Lisella from going east for college ball.
Head coach Jon Embree is focusing on bringing in high-character recruits. None of the class so far screams superstar, but time and coaching will dictate the direction of this group. Like Utah, California has opened for Colorado since they entered the Pac-12, so expect Embree to continue to seek out talented players from the golden coast.
11. Utah (8 Commitments)
The transition from the Mountain West into the Pac-12 is a difficult one on the gridiron, but a boon in recruiting. Utah scored big with last year’s group and has dipped into Texas, Utah, and California so far for their 2013 class.
Defensive lineman Sam Tevi chose Utah over BYU and some Pac-12 schools, while 3-star California quarterback Connor Manning fell through the cracks in the recruiting hotbed of Southern California.
The Utes still need help in the defensive backfield and at wideout, so that needs to be addressed. Coach Kyle Whittingham has done more with less talented recruits, so moving to the Pac-12 can only spell improvement.
12. Oregon State (3 Commitments)
The Beavers were the final BCS school to receive a commitment, with safety Terin Solomon on June 19.
Their other recruits, a pair of 3-star California wide receivers in Victor Bolden and Jordan Vilamin, will need to bulk up to survive in the Pac-12. It’s good that these recruits are quality players; it’s just that OSU needs a LOT more of them to come around between now and February.
After consistent success, coach Mike Riley and the Beavs have won just eight games the last two seasons. Things aren’t going to be better in 2012, and a failure to recover from this poor start in 2013 recruiting has to make you wonder if Riley's seat is a little bit warmer than initially thought.
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