Pac-12 Football: 2015 Recruiting Needs for Each Team
The Pac-12 has a chance to be one of the most competitive conferences in college football in the coming years. The league is full of excellent head coaches, so games are going to be fun to watch.
A key to having an edge in this conference is obviously going to be who has the most talent. Coaches will have to get after it on the recruiting trail, and they're going to have to make sure they fill needs.
USC needs to continue adding depth to its offensive line, while Arizona could be looking to go after several linebackers. Plus, Stanford will look to fill its needs to compete for another Rose Bowl.
With Rich Rodriguez being Arizona's head coach, that means the Wildcats will be running the spread-option offense until Rodriguez is no longer in the desert.
Getting players to fit his scheme is critical, and Rodriguez signed an impressive 29-man class in 2014. He'll enter the 2015 cycle with a lot of recruiting confidence, but "Rich Rod" is not without needs.
Arizona needs to make sure it takes another tight end or two in this class, as well as multiple safeties. The Wildcats signed just one player at those positions in February.
Matt Moreno of GoAZCats.com (subscription required) had this to say about the Wildcats' quarterback recruiting strategy on March 24:
Arizona is going to take at least one quarterback in every class.
Todd Graham is building Arizona State into a power, but he has to continue stocking his roster with talent and filling needs.
The main need for the Sun Devils for 2015 is offensive linemen. Graham only took two blockers in 2014, so look for that number to be doubled this time around. Also, don't be surprised if Graham emphasizes running backs, tight ends and linebackers.
Kevin Stewart of ASUDevils.com (subscription required) wrote on March 24:
ASU is expected to lose one starting tackle and possibly two if Jamil Douglas slides out to left tackle this year. So landing multiple prospects at the position, including at least one from the junior college ranks, is expected.
California runs a version of the Air Raid offense, which means it simply can not sign just one receiver in a recruiting class like it did in 2014 ever again.
Adding weapons to the perimeter on offense will be a priority, as will the secondary. More depth is needed at defensive back in Berkeley, with the Bears signing just two players who play in the secondary in 2014.
Offensive line is another position of need for head coach Sonny Dykes.
Although it signed one in 2014, it wouldn't be shocking if Colorado went after another quarterback during this cycle.
The Buffaloes signed nine players who play offensive or defensive line last year, but they still need a few bodies for depth. Running back is a position of need due to one not being signed in Colorado's last class, plus look for receiver to be another prioritized position to get more playmaking on offense.
Looking at Oregon's 2014 class, a trio of positions stick out as needs for 2015.
For starters, head coach Mark Helfrich will enjoy going after a couple receivers during this cycle. The offensive-minded head coach loves adding more offensive firepower, and the Ducks could stand to get some more.
After signing just three offensive linemen in February, Helfrich will need to sign either the same amount or more in 2015. Finally, linebacker is a position of need for the Ducks, as they signed just one in their previous class.
Dale Newton of Ducks Sports Authority (subscription required) wrote on March 24:
With just 14-15 scholarships to give this season every offer and evaluation is critical for the Oregon Ducks in the 2015 recruiting cycle.
Head coach Mike Riley did an excellent job of filling his needs in 2014, as he signed six offensive linemen, three receivers and five defensive linemen.
This year, Riley's Beavers need to sign multiple running backs, at least one tight end and a true middle/inside linebacker. Oregon State isn't a sexy school to recruits, but its coaching staff does a solid job of developing players.
David Shaw has established himself as one of the best head coaches in college football. He's a Stanford alum and is a quiet assassin on the sidelines.
Shaw runs a lot of two tight end sets, so look for the Cardinal to take yet another player at that spot in 2015. Next, Shaw needs multiple receivers in the class, preferably ones with speed, after signing only one in 2014.
He'll also pursue offensive linemen and running backs, plus defensive linemen and linebackers are also needed in Palo Alto.
Although UCLA signed 4-star running back Nathan Starks in February, the Bruins still need more runners in Westwood. Look for head coach Jim Mora to sign multiple running backs in 2015.
Mora also will likely sign more than just two offensive linemen during this recruiting cycle. He also failed to sign a true pass-rusher in 2014, so the Bruins will definitely be looking for players who can get after the quarterback.
Initially, what USC needs in 2015 is a big class full of elite talent to show the rest of the country the Trojans are back to being a dominant recruiting school.
Specifically, the Trojans need to continue bringing in quality offensive linemen. The same can be said for the secondary, while signing multiple linebackers in 2015 also isn't a bad idea. Tight end also is a need for USC, with the Trojans set to be thin at the position in a year or two.
Adding pass-rushers who stand up and play with their hands down on the edge would be another smart move by USC.
Offensive line was a huge need for the Utes during the 2014 cycle, and they signed a grand total of two in February.
It's safe to say blockers are in high demand around Utah for 2015. Head coach Kyle Whittingham also signed just one linebacker and safety in 2014, so he'll be looking to add multiple players at those positions.
A running back also wasn't included in its previous class, so Utah would be smart to add a runner or two to its roster next February.
Washington signed four offensive linemen in 2014, but all of them are listed as tackles.
Getting blockers was a huge need for the Huskies last year, and this year they need to focus on interior players in the offensive trenches.
Next, head coach Chris Petersen signed just one player at linebacker and running back in February, which should make those spots priorities in 2015.
Washington State head coach Mike Leach is as unpredictable as they come, so it's tough to truly know what he's looking to do in 2015 recruiting.
However, it wouldn't be a shock if Leach signed another quarterback, as he's an offensive mastermind who loves tutoring passers. Leach also understands he needs to make sure his offensive line has depth, so that's another expected position of emphasis.
Defensively, look for Leach to go hard after safeties. He signed just one in 2014.