The addition of Utah and Colorado has added two large states for talent to the west coast conference’s footprint. Both states produce quality athletes that most Pac-10 schools have already been recruiting for years. Colorado will likely need some time – and maybe some new facilities and dedication from its alumni base – before it begins to assert itself on the recruiting trail.
But Utah should see an immediate bump in “clout” on the recruiting trail. While the Utes didn’t land in the top 25 nationally, they did finish in the top half of the new Pac-12. With a strong in-state base, Utah should be able to use better recruiting budgets to dip into talent rich areas like California, and the rest of the Pac-12 footprint, more effectively.
Editor's Note: A nationally rated recruit is a anyone who received at least one Athlon Consensus 100 vote. There were 269 in 2011.
2011 Pac-12 Recruiting Team Rankings:
1. USC Trojans (30 signees – 6 AC100)
So much for NCAA violations slowing the Trojan machine on the recruiting trail. So how can a team with 10 less scholarships per season sign 30 prospects? First, nine will count back a year (2010) as they enrolled early. Second, USC only enrolled 14 new players last fall, giving them some extra space for this group. And Lane Kiffin will need it.
Kiffin signed 15 nationally rated recruits – including the nation’s No. 1 wide receiver (George Farmer) and two of the top ten quarterback prospects in AC100 near-misses Max Wittek and Cody Kessler. Six offensive lineman and another AC100 wideout in Victor Blackwell, add tremendous depth to the offense. Four highly-touted linebackers and six elite defensive lineman replenishes the recently thinned-out defensive front.
A trio of athletes will help bolster one backfield – whether that is in the secondary or offensive skill corps.
After a long run of national success under Pete Carroll, Kiffin landed 22 of 30 recruits from inside the home state of California.
Nationally rated recruits:
No. 6 George Farmer , WR (Gardena, Calif.)
No. 35 Greg Townsend Jr , DE (Beverly Hills, Calif.)
No. 64 Marqise Lee , ATH (Gardena, Calif.)
No. 70 Cyrus Hobbi , OL (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
No. 71 Victor Blackwell , WR (Santa Ana, Calif.)
No. 99 Antwaun Woods , DT (Woodland Hills, Calif.)
No. 103 Max Wittek, QB (Santa Ana, Calif.)
No. 108 Cody Kessler, QB (Bakersfield, Calif.)
No. 121 Amir Carlisle, RB (Sunnyvale, Calif.)
No. 124 Aundrey Walker, OL (Cleveland, Ohio)
No. 130 Tre Madden, LB (Mission Viejo, Calif.)
No. 133 Lamar Dawson, LB (Danville, Ky.)
No. 141 Christian Heyward, DT (San Diego, Calif.)
No. 183 Anthony Sarao, LB (Absecon, N.J.)
No. 266 Javorius Allen, ATH (Tallahassee, Fla.)
2. Oregon Ducks (23 signees – 3 AC100)
There may not be a single team in the nation that has elevated its national “recruiting stock” more in the last decade than the Ducks. Certainly, having great people in place is key – and a few shekels from Phil Knight hasn’t hurt either – but this team was not recruiting at this level just eight to ten years ago.
The Ducks’ new clout was no more apparent than on NSD when longtime USC verbal DeAnthony Thomas switched to Oregon. Of the seven nationally rated recruits in this class, only one came from in-state and only two hail from California. Chip Kelly used Arizona, Texas, Iowa, Ohio and Florida to pull elite level talents.
With four wideouts, two running backs and a trio of versatile athletes, Kelly’s dynamic fast-paced offensive attack is well-stocked with future stars. Thomas and wideout Devon Blackmon are open-field dynamos who are virtually impossible to stop in space. It will be interesting to see where AC100 athlete Colt Lyerla lands. Tight end, defensive end, outside linebacker, wide receiver and H-back are all in the mix – a good problem to have with a 6’5”, 230-pounder.
Otherwise, great offensive line (5) and linebacker (5) classes make-up the rest of this outstanding class.
No. 5 DeAnthony Thomas , ATH (Los Angeles, Calif.)
No. 39 Colt Lyerla , ATH (Hillsboro, Ore.)
No. 58 Devon Blackmon , WR (Fontana, Calif.)
No. 117 Andre Yruretagoyena, OL (Scottsdale, Ariz.)
No. 122 Christian French, ATH (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
No. 126 Anthony Wallace, LB (Dallas, Texas)
No. 136 Tacoi Sumler, WR (Miami, Fla.)
3. Cal Golden Bears (22 signees – 3 AC100)
One of the most underrated recruiting jobs of this season was Jeff Tedford and the Cal Golden Bears. Three AC100 talents, and 11 nationally rated recuits top a deep and talented haul for a team that struggled mightily on the field in 2010. Five stellar defensive line signees – including four nationally rated players – add tremendous size and depth to the front line. A three-man running back class should provide the next in what has been a very long line of incredibly productive tailbacks at Cal (headed by AC100 talent Brendon Bigelow). The secondary also got plenty of focus as at least four, and potentially six, new faces slated to play in the defensive backfield.
No. 45 Viliami Moala , DT, Cal (Sacramento, Calif.)
No. 87 Brendon Bigelow , RB (Fresno, Calif.)
No. 90 Todd Barr , DT (Lakewood, Calif.)
No. 137 Brennan Scarlett, DE (Portland, Ore.)
No. 143 Avery Walls, S (McDonough, Ga.)
No. 145 Stefan McClure, DB (Vista, Calif.)
No. 162 Mustafa Jalil, DT (San Diego, Calif.)
No. 169 Maurice Harris, WR (Greensboro, N.C.)
No. 190 Jason Gibson, LB (Gardena, Calif.)
No. 230 Jordan Rigsbee, OL (Chico, Calif.)
No. 232 Kyle Boehm, QB (San Jose, Calif.)
4. Stanford Cardinal (19 signees – 2 AC100)
It will be interesting to see just how much Jim Harbaugh meant to Stanford recruiting. In a short period of time, he elevated Stanford to national recruiting power. This class, with nationally rated stars from Georgia, Florida and Colorado, is once again a diverse collection of new faces from across the fruited plains. Recruiting nationally is nothing new for the smart kids from Palo Alto, but Harbaugh took it to another level. This class used 13 different states with no more than five players coming from any one state (CA). Stanford closed well and posted an excellent class, but the true barometer will be in 2012.
No. 69 James Vaughters , LB (Tucker, Ga.)
No. 88 Wayne Lyons , CB (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
No. 179 Kelsey Young, RB (Norco, Calif.)
No. 228 Brendon Austin, OL (Parker, Colo.)
5. Washington Huskies (23 signees – 2 AC100)
Steve Sarkisian is to Washington what Kelly, Harbaugh and Kiffin have been to their respective programs. He immediately upgraded the standing of the program in the minds of recruits everywhere. Most importantly, however, he has locked down the Evergreen State. All four nationally rated recruits – and five others – from in the state of Washington signed with the Huskies. Keeping in-state talent at home will be key for the future of Sarkisian’s squad. This class is long on offensive skill players: two QBs, two RBs, an elite TE and four WRs.
No. 33 Austin Seferian-Jenkins , TE (Gig Harbor, Wash.)
No. 57 Kasen Williams , WR (Sammamish, Wash.)
No. 229 James Sample, DB (Sacramento, Calif.)
No. 235 Danny Shelton, DT (Auburn, Wash.)
No. 268 Bsihop Sankey, RB (Spokane, Wash.)
6. Utah Utes (19 signees)
Texas, California and Utah supplied 18 of the 19 signees, led by seven skill players.
No. 211 Harvey Langi, RB (South Jordan, Utah)
7. Oregon State Beavers (24 signees)
Deep class headlined by massive eight-man defensive end class.
8. UCLA Bruins (16 signees – 1 AC100)
Small class is built mostly of offensive prospects, including four O-lineman.
No. 97 Brett Hundley, QB (Chandler, Ariz.)
9. Arizona Wildcats (21 signees)
Not a lot of star power, but a versatile and balanced collection.
No. 212 Ka’Deem Carey, RB (Oro Valley, Ariz.)
No. 269 Rob Hankins, LB (Dallas, Texas)
10. Washington State Cougars (27 signees)
The second biggest class in the league adds depth to every position on the two-deep.
11. Arizona State Sun Devils (14 signees)
Quality, not quantity, is the way to describe this class for Dennis Erickson.
No. 206 Micahel Bercovici, QB, ASU
12. Colorado Buffaloes (19 signees)
Quality defensive back class, but Buffs have a long way to go to compete in new Pac-12.