10 Bold Predictions for Pac-12 on 2014 College Football Recruiting Trail
The Pac-12 is one of the most entertaining conferences in college football. However, the league is not faring well on the 2014 recruiting trail.
With questions surrounding USC, Oregon having a new head coach in Mark Helfrich and Washington still looking for a breakthrough season, the Pac-12 has only two schools with Top-25 classes in the 247Sports recruiting rankings. However, that will change as much more good news will come to Pac-12 schools before the end of this recruiting cycle.
The Trojans will land several of their uncommitted targets. Oregon will add a speedy athlete to its roster, and Stanford will flirt with a top-15 recruiting class.
Dalton Schultz Will Be an All-Pac-12 Tight End at Stanford
Dalton Schultz is a 6'5", 215-pound tight end prospect from Utah, spurning in-state programs to play on The Farm at Stanford.
Schultz has the body of a big receiver, but he is a tough and strong player who can dominate a blocker in the running game. Schultz has excellent ball skills, as his soft hands allow him to haul in passes all around his frame.
Schultz will sign with Stanford, add bulk to his frame and develop into an All-Pac-12 tight end before he graduates.
Brandon Dawkins Will Not Play Early at Arizona Due to Connor Brewer's Presence
A raw but talented quarterback, Brandon Dawkins committed to Arizona in July. He has great athleticism and can really drive the football downfield with authority at 6'3" and 206 pounds.
Dawkins is a great fit for head coach Rich Rodriguez's spread-option offense, but he will not make an instant impact at 'Zona, as the Wildcats will have incoming transfer Connor Brewer on their roster.
Brewer, who originally signed with Texas, has great accuracy, solid mechanics and makes good decisions. He will start at quarterback for Arizona before Dawkins.
Budda Baker Will Sign with Oregon
Budda Baker appears to be a lock to sign with a Pac-12 program, as the top schools on his list are all members of the league, according to 247Sports.
Although the Washington native will give the Huskies a long look, he will choose to head to Oregon. Baker, who is 5'9" and 174 pounds, can play running back, receiver or defensive back.
His speed, explosiveness, quickness and agility will be welcomed in Eugene.
Garrett Dickerson Will Sign with Stanford as an Outside Linebacker
At 6'4" and 240 pounds, Garrett Dickerson can play several positions. He is listed as a tight end by 247Sports, but he can also play defensive end.
However, Dickerson, who is from New Jersey, will sign with Stanford to play outside linebacker in its base 3-4 defense. His length, athleticism, strength and solid ability to get upfield will make a him a great fit to stand up and attack the pocket for head coach David Shaw.
Casey Tucker Will Spurn Texas A&M and Others for Arizona State
USC once had a commitment from offensive tackle Casey Tucker, but the Arizona native has backed off his pledge. Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Stanford, among others, are being considered by Tucker, per 247Sports.
With several great programs recruiting him hard, Tucker will ultimately choose to stay in his state and block at Arizona State. He is a 6'6", 270-pounder who plays nasty in the trenches.
Tucker could be a great right tackle or develop into one of the best road-grading guards in the Pac-12.
A Third Pac-12 School Will Get into the Top-25 Recruiting Rankings
Arizona and Stanford are the only Pac-12 programs with Top-25 recruiting classes, according to 247Sports' recruiting rankings.
USC is annually among the elite recruiting schools in the nation, while Washington and Oregon also have the ability to consistently sign great classes.
The Pac-12 will get a third school into the Top-25 recruiting rankings, as the Trojans, Huskies, Ducks, Cal or Arizona State will get on a hot streak and climb in the rankings.
Joe Mixon Will Sign with California
New California head coach Sonny Dykes, who runs a spread offense, will quickly learn that he needs to harvest the abundance of skill-position talent available in his state.
One of the players Dykes must land in 2014 is running back Joe Mixon, who is one of the top talents out west. Not only is Mixon a must-get for Dykes because the running back is a local prospect, but also because Mixon would be a great fit in Cal's new offense.
Mixon is a 6'2", 195-pound running back who has terrific receiving ability. His talent would be on full display as a member of the Bears' offensive attack.
Nifae Lealao Will Head to Cal...if He Doesn't Sign with Stanford
Nifae Lealao is a strong lock to stay in California, as the 6'5", 282-pound defensive linemen is expected to to sign with Stanford, according to the experts at 247Sports.
However, if Lealao changes his mind or runs into unexpected issues with Stanford's admissions staff, he will not panic, as Cal will be his second option. Lealao will be a great fit to play defensive end or nose tackle in Stanford's 3-4 defense.
If he doesn't end up in Palo Alto, the Sacramento native will head to Berkeley and play for the Bears.
USC Will Land John Smith, Adoree' Jackson and Damien Mama Before February
USC is not enjoying their typical great recruiting cycle, as many prospects are taking a wait-and-see approach to the Trojans.
With Lane Kiffin being on the hot seat and USC not being as dominant on the field, recruits are skeptical about the future of the program. However, USC will be better than people think in 2013 and will play good enough football to get into a prominent bowl game.
Elite prospects such as athlete John Smith, cornerback/receiver Adoree' Jackson and offensive guard Damien Mama all hail from Southern California. The trio will realize this winter that the Trojans just experienced a down year in 2012 and will sign with USC before the end of this recruiting cycle.
Stanford Will Win the Unpredictable Solomon Thomas Sweepstakes
Solomon Thomas is a defensive lineman from Texas whose recruitment is tough to track. He has several schools on his list, per 247Sports, but it is hard to identify a clear-cut favorite.
The 6'3", 256-pounder plays defensive end in high school, but he will grow into an ideal 5-technique end/tackle.
Thomas could end up at Arkansas, Texas, Notre Dame, Alabama or Oklahoma. However, in the end, he will choose to play in the Pac-12 and sign with Stanford, as its base 3-4 defense is the best place for him to showcase his talents.