Where Each 2014 Pac-12 Football Recruiting Class Stands Before Signing Day

Kyle KensingContributor IJanuary 15, 2014

Jan 4, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; West running back Royce Freeman (23) dives for a touchdown during U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school football game at the Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

On the heels of its most successful overall season, the Pac-12 appears to be stockpiling for the long haul on the national recruiting trail. 

247Sports.com ranks six Pac-12 programs No. 26 or better in its national rankings, just three weeks out from national signing day. This group includes traditional recruiting winners Oregon and USC, but the additions of Arizona at No. 26 and Arizona State at No. 23 speak to the strides being made around the conference. 

The pace being set by the top half of the conference means a challenge for the rest to keep up, and some of the Pac-12's teams need a hard push through the home stretch before national signing day.  

Here is where each 2014 Pac-12 football recruiting class stands as Feb. 5 approaches.


Great Shape

Oregon (No. 1 Pac-12, No. 15 overall)

  • Three letters of intent signed
  • 14 verbal commitments
  • Eight 4-star prospects 

Top prospects from around the country are flocking to Oregon this recruiting season. Head coach Mark Helfrich has pledges from eight 4-star players, from Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Texas and Washington. 

Running back Royce Freeman is one of the marquee additions; he's a powerful rusher whose style adds a new dynamic to the already multifaceted Oregon ground game.  Athlete Budda Baker is another intriguing commitment with a skill set reminiscent of outgoing De'Anthony Thomas. 

247Sports.com's Justin Hopkins reports that Oregon is still on the hunt for line help, particularly on the interior of the defensive interior. Poona Ford, a 4-star defensive tackle, decommitted from Louisville after Charlie Strong left for the head coaching vacancy at Texas. He visits Oregon on Jan. 24.


Stanford (No. 4 Pac-12, No. 22 overall) 

  • 17 verbal commitments
  • Six 4-star prospects  

It's no coincidence that Stanford's rise to the top of the Pac-12 is the result of outstanding recruiting. Head coach David Shaw is hard-pressed to match the quality of his 2011 class, but this 2014 crop is certainly impressive. 

Quarterback Keller Chryst is the most highly rated prospect in Stanford's class, but with Kevin Hogan returning, he is unlikely to see immediate action. An exodus of seniors on the defensive side presents opportunities for the incoming class. Brandon Simmons could emerge as the next great Cardinal safety in the footsteps of NFL-bound Ed Reynolds and professional star Richard Sherman. 


UCLA (No. 2 Pac-12, No. 18 overall)

  • 17 verbal commitments
  • Eight 4-star prospects

Landing classes ranked near the top of the Pac-12 is nothing new for UCLA. Head coach Jim Mora's predecessor, Rick Neuheisel, brought plenty of talent into the program. But Mora has taken it to another level, landing classes ranked No. 17 in 2012 and No. 7 in 2013. 

Mora has the Bruins headed for another top-20 finish, scoring big in recent weeks with the commitments of linebackers Zach Whitley and Dwight Williams and defensive end Jacob Tuioti-Mariner


Decent Shape

Arizona (No. 6 Pac-12, No. 26 overall) 

  • Seven early enrollees
  • 21 verbal commitments
  • Six 4-star prospects 

The unexpected flip of 5-star cornerback Jalen Tabor from Arizona to Florida, finalized on Twitter, took some of the shine off the Wildcats' 2014 signing class. He would have been the crown jewel, but head coach Rich Rodriguez still has one of the most impressive classes in Arizona history.

Arizona was also on the winning end of a flip, landing former USC target and offensive lineman Jordan Poland. He was the seventh 4-star prospect of this class, which is particularly beefed up on defense. Linebackers Marquis Ware and Jamardre Cobb, as well as cornerback Cameron Denson, are possible instant impact players in defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 scheme. 

Early enrollee Jonathan Haden gets an early crack at the running back vacancy left by All-American Ka'Deem Carey. 


Arizona State (No. 5 Pac-12, No. 23)

  • 25 verbal commitments
  • Seven 4-star prospects  

An impressive class—the best in head coach Todd Graham's three recruiting seasons at Arizona State—is headed to Tempe. He touted the importance of recruiting in Texas and pulled three prospects from the Lone Star State. 

However, California was especially good to the Sun Devils this year with four 4-star recruits coming from the Golden State. 

Turnover on the defensive side opens up plenty of places for immediate contributions from commits Tashon Smallwood and Connor Humphreys, but a priority in the coming weeks is shoring up a pledge from 4-star athlete Kalen Ballage, who appears on a list of five prospects who could flip in the coming weeks.   


USC (No. 3 Pac-12, No. 19)

  • Five early enrollees 
  • 12 verbal commitments
  • Seven 4-star prospects

NCAA-mandated scholarship reductions continue to limit the margin for error that USC has when compiling a recruiting class. The Trojans are also operating on a tight schedule with new head coach Steve Sarkisian.

Because USC needs both to hit on its top targets as well as land players ready to contribute quickly, this is an important stretch. Sarkisian is off to a strong start with five early enrollees. He also scored a major commitment from 4-star tight end Bryce Dixon at the Army All-America Game. 

The Trojans are in the hunt for 4-star offensive lineman Damien Mama but also need to shore up a verbal commitment from Mama's St. John Bosco teammate Malik Dorton.  


Need Help

California (No. 9 Pac-12, No. 56)

  • One 4-star prospect
  • Five signed letters of intent
  • Nine verbal commitments 

Head coach Sonny Dykes proved willing to play freshmen in his first year at Cal, largely out of necessity. His young team took its lumps and still needs a lot more help on both sides of the ball. Dykes is opting for immediate help from the junior college ranks, where he had success at recruiting in his time at Louisiana Tech. 

Cal is hurting on defense, and the decision of three Golden Bears to enter the NFL draft earlier only compounds the problem. All five of the Golden Bears' JUCO commits are defenders, including three on the line: 3-star end Jonathon Johnson and tackle Trevor Kelly, and 2-star tackle David Davis


Colorado (No. 11 Pac-12, No. 67)

  • Two signed letters of intent
  • 18 verbal commitments  

Colorado has verbal commitments from three 3-star skill-position players but lost out on Zach Brown, per BuffScoop.com, which leaves head coach Mike MacIntyre's 2014 signing class without an outside linebacker.  

The Buffs are also without any commitments on the interior of the offensive line, which was a problem area in MacIntyre's first season. Colorado averaged just 3.4 yards per rushing attempt. 


Oregon State (No. 10 Pac-12, No. 64)

  • One signed letter of intent
  • 21 verbal commitments

Struggles on the line contributed to a woeful performance in the run game for the Beavers in 2013. Immediate help on the offensive line is a must for Oregon State to contend in 2014, and three of its four offensive line commits are 2-star prospects. 

Oregon State head coach Mike Riley has long been a leader whose teams' performances surpassed recruiting rankings, but the highest rated prospect in his 2014 class, wide receiver Datrin Guyton, could be the Beavers' next star at the position. 


Utah (No. 7 Pac-12, No. 46 overall) 

  • One signed letter of intent
  • 21 verbal commitments  
  • One 4-star prospect 

Utah's tradition of outstanding defensive-line play should be carried on in the 2014 recruiting class. Head coach Kyle Whittingham has verbal commitments from 3-star defensive tackles and a 3-star defensive end. 

The two highest-rated players in Utah's class—offensive tackles Kenyon Frison and 4-star Jackson Barton—are on the other side of the line.

The Utes also have an impressive crop of wide receivers coming aboard, including early enrollee Kaelin Clay. Utah's class is lacking in the other skill positions, with one quarterback, Donovan Isom, and no running backs. 


Washington (No. 12 Pac-12, No. 82) 

  • Nine verbal commitments

First-year coaches face a challenge crafting a recruiting class on a short calendar. Chris Petersen was introduced as Washington's head coach just eight weeks out from national signing day. 

He moved quickly in luring away prospects from Boise State and Washington State, as reported via The Seattle Times, but he'll need to make several more moves in the next three weeks to bolster what is the conference's thinnest signing class. 


Washington State (No. 8 Pac-12, No. 50) 

  • Two early enrollees
  • 18 verbal commitments 

The Cougars welcome a class that is top-heavy in skill position players: early enrollee and all-purpose back Calvin Green, all-purpose back Keith Harrington, running back Squally Canada, athletes Ronald Monroe and Sulaiman Hameed, wide receiver Zaire Andre and quarterback Peyton Bender are all 3-star prospects.

Head coach Mike Leach also is also bringing in a class with three 3-star outside linebackers and cornerbacks but no safeties.  


Kyle Kensing is the Pac-12 Lead Writer. All recruiting information obtained via 247Sports.com