Pac-12 Football: 10 Signees Who Will Make the Biggest Impact in 2014
The Pac-12 had an impressive signing day, adding two 5-star prospects—Solomon Thomas and Adoree' Jackson—to an already strong group of recruiting classes.
Thomas pledged to Stanford, while Jackson signed with USC, and as a result, the Trojans and the Cardinal will finish No. 1 and No. 2, respectively in the league class rankings.
However, USC and Stanford weren't the only two teams to attract recruits who will make an immediate impact at the next level.
Click on for the 10 incoming recruits who will make the biggest impact on the West Coast next season.
Note: All recruit and team rankings based on 247Sports Composite Ratings, unless otherwise noted.
DE Claude Pelon, USC
Junior college defensive end Claudeson Pelon has as good a chance as any Pac-12 newcomer to see the field early.
The 4-star prospect was the No. 2 JUCO defensive end in the 2014 class and enrolled early at USC.
At 6'4", 275 pounds, he should be physically ready to play right away.
During his signing day press conference, head coach Steve Sarkisian said he is the type of player who could make an immediate impact, per Rahshaun Haylock of FoxSportsWest.com.
WR/CB Cam Denson, Arizona
Cameron Denson is the most talented new addition in Arizona's 2014 class.
The 4-star recruit was the No. 152 player in the nation and was rated the No. 15 cornerback in the 247Sports composite ratings.
He'll see some time at corner in Tuscon, but he could be primarily used as a receiver, as reported by Zack Rosenblatt of the Arizona Daily Star.
The Wildcats will have an opening at corner, but playing time might be harder to come by at receiver.
Either way, Denson will find his way on the field.
QB K.J. Carta-Samuels, Washington
Quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels will at least be in competition for the starting quarterback job at Washington.
The 4-star player was the No. 11 pro-style quarterback in the nation and has the talent to be a star at the next level.
His biggest competition for the starting job is Cyler Miles. Miles looked strong in relief of Keith Price last season, but his status is in question going into the next season.
UW recently announced that Miles has been suspended indefinitely, as detailed by Adam Jude of The Seattle Times.
If his suspension takes away from his playing time early in the season, Carta-Samuels could take the lead role.
LB Derik Calhoun, Arizona State
A former USC commit, 4-star linebacker Derik Calhoun is a huge haul for Arizona State.
The Sun Devils were in need of reinforcements on defense, and Calhoun could fill a starting role immediately.
Tyler Lockman of FoxSportsArizona.com cited head coach Todd Graham calling Calhoun one of the best linebackers in the country.
He'll fill the "will" linebacker slot left open by last year's leading tackler, Chris Young.
RB Nick Wilson, Arizona
Arizona's offense will look very different next season with the departure of quarterback B.J. Denker and running back Ka'Deem Carey.
Nick Wilson, a 4-star running back from Fresno, Calif., will look to smooth the transition to the new era.
Jason Scheer of WildcatAuthority.com opined that it is very likely that Wilson will play right away for the Wildcats.
Rich Rodriguez's offense provides plenty of opportunities for running backs to play, and Wilson could be the team's next star.
ATH Budda Baker, Washington
One of the biggest signing-day additions in the Pac-12, 4-star athlete Budda Baker will be one of the top freshmen in the conference next year.
He is rated as the No. 6 athlete and the No. 55 overall prospect in the nation, and likely will play on the defensive side for the Huskies.
He also noted that he'll be vying for a starting job right away. Washington will have several openings in its secondary.
LB Zach Whitley, UCLA
It is always beneficial when recruits can enroll early, especially those as talented as 4-star linebacker Zach Whitley.
The No. 5 inside linebacker in the country, Whitley could take one of the starting roles in the LB corps left open by Jordan Zumwalt and Anthony Barr.
The Bruins started Myles Jack at linebacker as a freshman last year, and Whitley could do the same.
Ryan Kartje of The Orange County Register quoted head coach Jim Mora saying that Whitley has been compared favorably to Jack.
RB Royce Freeman, Oregon
There are always plenty of carries to go around in the Oregon backfield, and with the departure of running back De'Anthony Thomas, a bunch will be up for grabs next year.
That's where 4-star recruit Royce Freeman will come in; Freeman is the polar opposite of DAT on the field.
Freeman is a powerful back (6'0", 215 pounds) who pounded in three touchdowns in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Brianna Amaranthus of Comcast SportsNet quoted Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich praising Freeman's ability and added that UO will utilize the big back.
DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
Stanford will suffer as many significant losses on its defense as any team in the nation.
Enter: Solomon Thomas.
The 5-star defensive end from Coppell, Texas committed to the Cardinal on signing day and seems destined to take a starting role right away.
The Cardinal will be without three starting defensive linemen, along with rushing outside linebacker Trent Murphy.
Thomas is one of the most talented incoming freshmen in the country and could end up as the Pac-12's top freshman in 2014.
CB Adoree' Jackson, USC
Adoree' Jackson was the top undecided recruit in the country going into signing day, so his announcement for USC was highly anticipated.
An outstanding cornerback, Jackson looks like he could be an elite defender at the next level, as evidenced by his acrobatic interception at the Under Armour All-America Game.
Jackson, the No. 1 cornerback in the nation and No. 7 overall prospect, has excellent speed and is also an elite long jumper.
He also might play some at receiver while also factoring in the return game. Regardless, there likely won't be anything that can keep Jackson off the field next year.
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