Pac-12 Football: Every Team's Dream 2015 Recruit
Without spring practice to get us through the offseason lulls in Pac-12 country, the recruiting world carries the burden as it launches into a major stretch before the regular-season excitement begins to ramp up.
Summer camps are taking place around the country, and elite high schoolers are turning heads despite not actually playing in real football games.
If you follow recruiting, odds are you know which kids your favorite team is targeting. You know who looks like a good fit, which 5-stars are a long shot but have you crossing your fingers anyway and, finally, who would be the dream recruit for the program you follow.
Some schools desperately need speed on offense, others yearn for beef in the middle and some just want those with limitless potential. What makes an ideal recruit? Is it a talented kid spurning a nearby school and choosing your team? Is it simply the best recruit at the biggest position of need?
The only requirement here is that there must be at least mild interest on both sides, no matter how long the odds may be otherwise. For example, Jadeveon Clowney would have been Utah's (or any school's) dream recruit several years ago, but there was zero interest on his end.
Here is every Pac-12 team's dream 2015 recruit.
Note: You could list the same three or four players for most of the teams on this list. For the sake of mixing it up, we're listing a different player for every school despite the fact that two or three programs may have the same "dream" recruit. Remember, these are NOT predictions of where each recruit will go, but rather the dream scenario for each school.
Arizona: DT Kahlil McKenzie
With Rich Rodriguez's up-tempo offense in place, you might be inclined to think that a speedy running back or highly touted dual-threat quarterback might be the ideal recruit for the Wildcats.
You wouldn't be wrong, except that with several promising signal-callers and an entire stable of athletes to feature in the fall, the ideal recruit comes from the other side of the ball. In this case, it's defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie.
At 6'4" and over 300 pounds, McKenzie has an already-intimidating presence about him. He's perfect for Arizona because the Wildcats haven't made too many headlines on defense in recent years, and a top-flight recruit like McKenzie, who could start from day one and clog up the middle, would be enormous for the program.
He remains a long shot, and the 247Sports crystal ball currently favors Tennessee, but this is a player to keep an eye on as recruiting season moves forward.
Arizona State: DT Rasheem Green
Before we begin, Arizona State fans should know that the following recruit could already be a lock to play at USC. Nonetheless, he remains one of the Sun Devils' top targets, and landing him would be a dream come true for coach Todd Graham.
We're talking, of course, about defensive tackle Rasheem Green, an athletic big man with downright silly measurables. He stands at 6'5" and weighs 275 pounds, which is freakish but not unheard of among the best athletes in the game. The kicker? He runs a 4.8-second 40-yard dash.
As mentioned, Green appears to be leaning toward the Trojans, to put it mildly. But can you image Graham finding a taller, more athletic replacement for Will Sutton?
The staff will hope that kind of player will appear in the 2014 season, but if they can somehow find a way to land Green, the third-ranked defensive tackle in the country, it will make a monster splash on recruiting boards.
California: CB Iman Marshall
Cornerback Iman Marshall is one of the most highly sought-after recruits in the 2015 class, and for good reason: He's the eighth-ranked player and widely regarded as one of the top two corners. He also has good size at 6'1" and hails from the talent-rich area of southern California.
In short, Marshall is the type of player who could very well become a starter on day one in college, especially at a school like Cal, which is in the midst of some major struggles.
Every team in the Pac-12 would love to land a guy like Marshall, which would make it all the more dream-like were Sonny Dykes to snatch him up. But more importantly, it would be a recruiting win in the Bears' home state against the likes of USC and Stanford, each of whom appears to be more likely to land the talented 5-star.
Cal is no stranger to being in the mix for top recruits, and the Bears may very well have landed both Arik Armstead and Shaq Thompson several years back if position coach Tosh Lupoi hadn't bolted to Seattle. This is an uphill battle, but Marshall would be an enormous get for the struggling Bears.
Colorado: QB Sheriron Jones
Colorado fans are hoping that current starting quarterback Sefo Liufau turns out to be the real deal and entrenches himself as one of the best signal-callers in the country.
But football will always be a forward-thinking operation, and the future is now in recruiting. The player in question is dual-threat quarterback Sheriron Jones, a 4-star player who's also looking seriously at Arizona and Florida.
Jones has solid height at 6'2" and also runs a 4.6 40-yard dash. He would bring a level of athleticism to the position that Buffs fans haven't seen in quite some time. Furthermore, to steal a highly touted recruit from the likes of a Florida would signal that Colorado may actually be ready to play ball with the big boys.
How likely is it that the Buffs will make some headway with the talented Jones? It's hard to say at this point, but he would be the ideal recruit for Mike McIntyre in the 2015 class.
Oregon: QB Kyler Murray
Kellen Clemens, Dennis Dixon, Jeremiah Masoli, Darron Thomas and Marcus Mariota. That's the list of Oregon's starting quarterbacks (who started more than just a couple of games) over the past 10 years. Every one of them could move well, and each helped to shape the Ducks' reputation as an offensive powerhouse with dual-threat wizards at the helm.
Kyler Murray, the top-ranked dual-threat quarterback, would almost certainly add to that legacy. His only knock is his height, which is a shade under six feet. But that matters far less in college football than it does in the NFL, and several notable players under the all-important 6'0" mark have done some pretty incredible things in recent years.
In Oregon's offense, Murray's speed and decision-making would be on display every week of the season, and the Ducks would have an elite weapon to perhaps follow in Mariota's footsteps.
Ever since Clemens, it seems as if the Ducks have had a quarterback who added on traits from the previous man. Dixon brought the legs, Masoli brought the toughness, Thomas brought the poise and clutch gene and Mariota has it all. Could Murray take it a step further? Ducks fans would love to find out.
Oregon State: LB Khaylan Thomas
Unlike the majority of schools in the Pac-12, Oregon State doesn't have a great chance to land multiple 4- and 5-star recruits. That's due in part to the success of Oregon overshadowing the program, and also to the fact that the Beavers play football in Corvallis, a small college town far from the spotlight that so many highly touted players eventually find themselves in.
Nonetheless, Mike Riley has kept his team more than competitive by identifying under-the-radar guys and developing them into All-Conference performers. Think about cornerback Jordan Poyer, or perhaps current defensive end Dylan Wynn, both standouts.
Talent is out there, however, and the Beavers' dream recruit comes in the form of linebacker Khaylan Thomas. Riley's teams typically feature a strong linebacking corps anyway, but can you imagine what a guy like Thomas would do for the unit?
At 6'2", 210 pounds, he would contribute from day one, and despite being an apparent lean to UCLA, he does have some interest in donning the orange and black. The Beavers can only dream.
Stanford: DE Canton Kaumatule
In some cases, the dream recruit isn't always a realistic option, regardless of how tantalizing the idea may be of seeing him play for your favorite team. But in the case of defensive end Canton Kaumatule, most would be surprised if he didn't end up in Palo Alto.
How can we be so sure? For one, the 247Sports crystal ball has him as a 100 percent lock to play for the Cardinal. Oh, and his very own brother Luke starts at tight end for David Shaw's team.
Kaumatule is ranked as the seventh-best player in the country and has impressive size at 6'6", 275 pounds. So just think of a bigger, stronger version of Trent Murphy if you'd like, or maybe just a brand-new type of player altogether.
In any case, Kaumatule has the skills to physically overwhelm on defense, which is a priority for every one of Shaw's recruiting classes. Stanford has a very good chance to land the 5-star, and if or when it does, the Cardinal will have their dream recruit.
UCLA: LB John Houston
Some might say that UCLA has already landed its dream recruit with quarterback Josh Rosen. If you're a Bruins fan and that's your stance, you'll find no arguments here. He is a vital piece of the team's future and could be one of the best players in the game a couple of years down the road.
But with Rosen already committed, we're looking toward a different position for the dream recruit, and it's one that Jim Mora has had a lot of success with in his first couple of years as the head coach: linebacker.
Linebacker John Houston would be the ideal recruit for UCLA for several reasons. The first, and maybe most important to Bruins fans, is that he appears to be a lock to USC. Stealing him away from the Trojans would be extremely satisfying.
But more importantly, he's a top-20 overall recruit with both the speed and athleticism to help carry on the strong tradition of UCLA linebackers from his first year on campus.
USC: DE Josh Sweat
Like UCLA, USC may have already landed its dream recruit with quarterback Ricky Town. The Trojans also have a good chance to land several other 5-star players ,such as Green or Marshall.
So going off the beaten trail just a bit, we're looking at defensive end Josh Sweat as the Trojans' dream recruit for the 2015 class.
First, he's from Virginia, and USC stealing a top recruit from the East Coast would be yet another signal to the college football world that the Trojans are ready to reach the pinnacle of the sport once again. More importantly, Sweat is the No. 3-ranked player in the country and the top weak-side defensive end.
He's 6'5", 240 pounds and runs a 4.5 40-yard-dash, which is just plain terrifying. If the Trojans manage to snatch up several of the top uncommitted recruits from their home turf and steal a guy like Sweat, they could end up with the top class come signing day.
Utah: ATH Osa Masina
It's anyone's guess as to what position athlete Osa Masina will play in college. He could be special on offense, but his 6'4", 230-pound frame also lends itself to being dominant at linebacker. One thing is for sure: Many programs want him, and perhaps none more so than Utah.
In Masina, the Utes would be getting one of the top 100 players and a guy from their home state. Losing him to BYU or a different school would be one recruiting loss that could sting a little.
But there's a different factor playing a role here than at any other school. The Utes are in desperate need of a jolt, or at least someone to come in and help revitalize the program. Masina has the talent to do just that.
As mentioned, he could play on either side of the ball. But when was the last time you heard about a young player on Utah everyone was excited about? It's been a while, but you may only have to wait until next February before it happens again.
Washington: DE Keisean Lucier-South
A SoCal product, Lucier-Smith could be headed to UCLA or Michigan, according to the 247Sports crystal ball. But that doesn't mean Husky fans shouldn't be able to dream.
Petersen has been known for taking off-the-beaten-path guys and turning them into future Sunday starters, which is partly what makes his jump to Washington so intriguing. With more talent, he'll theoretically produce even better football teams, right?
It may not be so simple, but a guy like Lucier-Smith would certainly make the process easier. The 6'5", 225-pound 5-star would be more than welcome in Seattle.
Washington State: S Marvell Tell
Safety Marvell Tell is yet another player on the list from Southern California, and he appears to be in the middle of a tug of war between USC and UCLA. But he does have interest in Washington State, and picking the Cougars would make coach Mike Leach a very happy man.
A consensus top-five player at his position, Tell is 6'2" and has 4.5 speed. With Washington State finally finding a dominant defensive player in safety Deone Bucannon, fans will now be yearning to see who might carry the torch next.
Tell fits the bill, and he would be the Cougars' dream recruit because he plays a position of need. As in, the Cougars need anyone on defense to be able to match the offense. Leach will always have his quarterback and a stable of receivers.
Heck, he's already landed an elite running back commit in Austin Joyner. Will he steal someone from the other side of the ball and begin to really make the Cougars a threat in the Pac-12 North?
All info via 247Sports.