Signing Day is still two months off but USC has already stockpiled enough talent to last a decade. With what appears to be the top recruiting class in the nation, the Trojans are far ahead of their Pac-10 counterparts.
Of the eight top 100 recruits landed by Pac-10 teams, USC has six of them, including four of the top 14 (according to Rivals.com).
The following is a ranking of the Pac-10 recruiting classes as I see them now, using data compiled from both Rivals and Scout (both prominent Internet recruiting sites):
1. USC (16 verbals, 4.22 combined star average from Rivals and Scout)
Year in and year out, USC gets crazy amounts of talent. So much that it's almost underachieving for them not to win a National Title every season - or at least get to the Title game.
Jewel of the Class: QB Matt Barkley, arguably the top overall player in the nation was an early commit for Pete Carroll. Will he de-commit and join OC Steve Sarkisian at Washington? I doubt it.
The class also boasts the top LB in the nation, Vontaze Burfict, as well as 14 others that received either 4 or 5 star rankings.
The next four classes are of similar strength, well below USC's, but above the bottom five by a good margin as well.
2. Stanford (15 verbals, 3.54 combined star average from Rivals and Scout)
Now I see why Coach Jim Harbaugh wanted no part of any potential suitors. He's quietly putting together one of Stanford's all-time best classes.
Jewel of the Class: With QB Josh Nunes, a 6' 4", 4-star recruit, Harbaugh has his future signal caller.
He'll also have a couple of 4-star WR prospects, a big-time LB, Shane Skov, as well as the No. 2 TE in the land, Levine Toilolo. One weakness(?) might be that he's loaded up with four TE's already. How many does he need?
3. UCLA (16 verbals, 3.00 combined star average from Rivals and Scout)
Combine Rick Neuheisel's recruiting tactics (which may not always be legit) with the bevy of talent in southern California and it's really no surprise to see UCLA near the top.
Jewel of the Class: QB Richard Brehaut, who Neuheisel and OC Norm Chow could use this Saturday against USC - not that it will help. He will help in the years to come, however.
Also in this class is a top 5 LB, Todd Golper, as well as several 4-star defensive backs.
Visiting this Weekend:Two 4-star OL from Utah, a 3-star WR and a JC DB. Think they'll care about the score?
4. Oregon (12 verbals, 2.83 combined star average from Rivals and Scout)
As is always the case with Oregon, it's wait and see. The big names, when they sign, usually do so on or around Signing Day.
On this year's wish list for Duck fans: QB Tajh Boyd, a 5-star dual threat who just recently de-committed from Tennessee, No. 1 RB Byrce Brown from Wichita, Kansas (who would slide in nicely for the departing Jeremiah Johnson), No. 1 S Craig Loston and 5-star DL Myles Wade (a 2007 Oregon commit), who many consider to already be in the fold.
Jewel of the Class (so far): WR Diante Jackson, a big, fast target for new 'head coach in waiting' Chip Kelly's high powered offense.
This class also adds much needed depth on both lines, as well as the top punter and No. 3 placekicker in the nation.
Visiting this Weekend: 4-star WLB Michael Clay
5. California (7 verbals, 3.41 combined star average from Rivals and Scout)
Coach Tedford is assembling some talented players, but just not many of them...yet. Much like Oregon, look for the Bears to close near Signing Day.
Jewel of the Class: RB Dasarte Yarnway, who looks to follow in a long line of talented backs at Cal.
There is also a 4-star QB, Allan Bridgford, from Mission Viejo, and a couple of quality corners.
Visiting this Weekend:Huge, 6'7" JC OT, Brett Leonard
The next five classes still have time, but will need to close on some big names to move up into the top half of the conference.
6. Arizona (14 verbals, 2.71 combined star average from Rivals and Scout)
Coach Mike Stoops has had some quality classes in the past, but is lacking a few marquee names to round this one out.
Jewel of the Class: RB Daniel Jenkins will fit in nicely to OC Sonny Dykes spread attack.
Also in this class is a 4-star WLB, Trever Erno, and a couple of other solid LB prospects.
Visiting this Weekend: 4-star WR, Adam Hall, two JC defensive standouts and a 3-star defensive back. Big rivalry win over the Sun Devils would go over well.
7. Washington State (11 verbals, 2.80 combined star average from Rivals and Scout)
This is somewhat surprising, but Coach Paul Wulff and his staff have picked up several quality commitments from all over the west coast.
Jewel of the Class: WR Gino Simone, who Wulff will need to insert immediately into the huge void being left by the outgoing Brandon Gibson.
The class also has a top 25 LB, Darren Markle, as well as a quality QB prospect, Jeff Tuel—who should keep the Cougs from needing anymore on-campus tryouts.
8. Arizona State (11 verbals, 2.69 combined star average from Rivals and Scout)
If you combine an underachieving season (picked to finish No. 2 in the conference, and are currently sitting at No. 6) with a thus far subpar recruiting season, and what do you get? Could this be Dennis Erickson's swan song? We'll see.
Jewel of the Class: QB Brock Osweiler is huge, 6'8", but is the No. 44 ranked QB the next Rudy Carpenter? I doubt it.
Also in this class is a top TE, Chris Coyle and pair of solid WLB's.
9. Oregon State (18 verbals, 2.25 combined star average from Rivals and Scout)
"Coach Mike Riley doesn't need blue chip recruits."
"He gets more out of nothing than anyone."
I get it. I get it. But wouldn't he like at least a few toys to play with this Christmas? I think it might make the next Civil War a little easier. Granted, Riley does land a lot of in-state talent (four Oregon recruits already in) but in a state that boasts maybe one four or five star recruit every other year and maybe a handful of three star recruits each year, he may want to hop on a plane a bit more often.
Jewel of the Class: QB Cody Vaz,although Virginia transfer, Pete Lalich (despite his minor indiscretions) might be the better of the two.
Also in this class is some depth on the OL and some decent LB recruits.
10. Washington (7 verbals, 2.57 combined star average from Rivals and Scout)
Absolutely no surprise here, however, if USC OC Steve Sarkisian is indeed on his way to Seattle, things might start to look a bit brighter on the recruiting front. They couldn't get worse.
Jewel of the Class: QB Keith Priceis not exactly the next Jake Locker. Next Ronnie Fouch, maybe?
They also landed another decent TE prospect, Marlion Barnett, but the next coach (whoever that might be) has some serious work to do.