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Pac-12 Football Recruiting Ramping Up

A comprehensive look at how the conference of champions has faired since in-person visits resumed in the month of June.
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We're already in the final weekend of June, and we've seen a TON of movement on the recruiting trail this month alone. With another dead period set to begin in July, this is only the beginning of what is sure to be a crazy summer.

In this piece I want to focus on how the Pac-12 has faired since traditional in-person recruiting resumed at the start of June, specifically which players have committed to schools in conference.

USC Trojans

Mykel Williams is one of the biggest names to join the Trojans in the 2022 class.

Mykel Williams is one of the biggest names to join the Trojans in the 2022 class.

  1. 5-star DL Mykel Williams (Columbus, GA)
  2. 4-star CB Jaeden Gould (Oradell, NJ)
  3. 3-star RB DeAnthony Gatson (Newton, TX)
  4. TCU RB Darwin Barlow (Netwon, TX)
  5. 4-star WR Kevin Green (Mission Hills, CA)-Committed 5/31/21

The Trojans are easily the story of the month in the Pac-12. Not only do they have the top class in the conference, but they're closing in on the top 10.

Clay Helton is finally doing what the USC brand is capable of and capitalizing on the talent in his back yard and brining huge names from across the country. The Trojans are on an absolute tear and absolutely crushed the month of June. 

What's even better for USC is that they're not just taking commits to build momentum, but they're getting quality prospects and are averaging a 4-star rating with just nine commits in the fold. They're going to give Oregon everything they can handle to defend their Pac-12 recruiting crown.

UCLA Bruins

Jadyn Marshall scores a touchdown against the national powerhouse De la Salle Spartans.

Jadyn Marshall scores a touchdown against the national powerhouse De la Salle Spartans.

  1. 4-star WR Jadyn Marshall (Stockton, CA)
  2. 3-star WR Braden Pegan (San Juan Capistrano, CA)
  3. 3-star ATH Mekhi Fox (Pasadena, CA)
  4. 4-star RB Tomario Harden (Inglewood, CA)

Much like USC, the Bruins are getting their act together on the recruiting trail and are starting to get momentum by prioritizing off the talent close to home. Marshall is the biggest get of the bunch so far, perhaps because of his top end track speed, and the fact that he drew interest from more than half of the Pac-12. 

If Chip Kelly and his staff can keep recruiting at this pace they'll end up winning close games more often than not after--they lost five of their seven games last season by one touchdown or less.

Oregon Ducks

Sir Mells poses for a photo during his official visit to Oregon with Defensive Line Coach Joe Salave'a.

Sir Mells poses for a photo during his official visit to Oregon with Defensive Line Coach Joe Salave'a.

  1. 3-star DL Sir Mells (Henderson, NV)

Mells is a big get for the Ducks due to heavy Pac-12 interest, and it only sweetens the pot that he was a former Husky commit. Mario Cristobal loves to get his big bodies to win at the point of attack and Mells' frame (6'5", 327 pounds) is one that is hard to come by out west. 

He'll serve as one of the main recruiters for Oregon in his native Nevada--an emerging pipeline state that is also home to major Las Vegas prospects Cyrus Moss and Zion Branch. Mario Cristobal and his staff also made significant progress with 2022 WR Tetairoa McMillan, one of the top players in the state of California, as well as 2023 5-star DL Jayden Wayne.

The Ducks probably aren't where they want to be in terms of commitments, but they are in a great spot to capitalize on some home run visits this month, with big-time prospects TJ Dudley and Isaiah Sategna closing in on commitments. 

California Golden Bears

Jaxson Moi at the Under Armour All-America camp in Phoenix.

Jaxson Moi at the Under Armour All-America camp in Phoenix.

  1. 3-star DL Nathan Burrell (Bellflower, CA)
  2. 3-star DL Jaxson Moi (San Diego, CA)
  3. 3-star RB Kaleb Johnson (Hamilton, OH)
  4. 3-star EDGE Curlee Thomas (Fort Worth, TX)
  5. 3-star OL Sioape Vatikani (Reno, NV)
  6. 3-star EDGE Nunie Tuitele (Aurora, CO)

Head Coach Justin Wilcox has the Bears headed in the right direction and appears determined to build out the defensive side of the ball. After all, that's what has gotten his team back in the conversation as one schools in the top half of the conference. 

Moi had offers from just about every school in the Pac-12 and is a pick up I really like for them, especially seeing that he was closely linked with Oregon after his cousin Jonah played for the Ducks. Add in that Cal is starting to breaking even further in to Southern Cal by adding Burrell from St. John Bosco, consistently one of the top schools in the country, and things are looking very nice in Berkeley. 

Colorado Buffaloes

Zach Courtney's commitment expands Colorado's reach into the Lone Star State.

Zach Courtney's commitment expands Colorado's reach into the Lone Star State.

  1. 3-star TE Zach Courtney (Post, TX)
  2. 3-star OT Carter Edwards (Hattiesburg, MS)
  3. 3-star CB Joshua Wiggins (Spring, TX)
  4. 3-star CB Ronald Lewis (New Orleans, LA)
  5. 3-star LB Kaden Ludwick (Clackamas, OR)

I think a lot of people forget that the Buffs went 4-2 in 2020 and surprised a lot of people in their first season under Karl Dorrell, who would go on to earn Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors. They haven't traditionally been the strongest team in the Pac-12 but they certainly have a stud in running back Jarek Broussard, the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, the first Buffalo to win the award on either side of the ball. 

Colorado has some great momentum on the trail right now and has done a better job marketing its brand on social media, which is an increasingly important element in  recruiting. The transfer of starting quarterback Sam Noyer to Oregon State was a bit of a shock, but they already have Texas gunslinger Owen McCown, which could be just what the doctor ordered. 

With that said, I really like what the Buffs have right now. 

Arizona Wildcats

Kyron Chambers chose Arizona over other Pac-12 schools and big-name programs closer to home.

Kyron Chambers chose Arizona over other Pac-12 schools and big-name programs closer to home.

  1. 3-star CB Kyron Chambers (Dallas, TX)
  2. 3-star OL Jonah Savaiinaea (Honolulu, HI)

I'm not going to sugarcoat it. Things are looking a bit bleak in Tucson following a winless 2020 season that saw the Wildcats lose 70-7 to Arizona State.  

But the program is getting an identity overhaul under new Head Coach Jedd Fisch and the summer got off to a good start by adding Chambers. If Arizona is going to get back to relevance it has to win the recruiting battles close to home and lock down in-state talent as well as taking what the staff can get in Texas.

Savaiinaea is a great addition because it shows the staff can land recruits from far away, and the staff already has its quarterback locked in with Servite's Noah Fifita. They're biggest name right now is Fifita's teammate--wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan, who is in a heated Pac-12 contest between the wildcats, Trojans, and the Ducks. 

To the casual observer, they may look like they have a bit of an outside shot, but McMillan told me there's a "very high chance" he ends up in Tucson. The appeal of playing with his best friend and quarterback since eighth grade is very real.

Read more: Pac-12 battle taking shape for WR Tetairoa McMillan

Arizona State Sun Devils

Florida safety Alfonzo Allen is one of the top commits in the Sun Devils' 2022 class.

Florida safety Alfonzo Allen is one of the top commits in the Sun Devils' 2022 class.

  1. 4-star RB Tevin White (Stafford, VA)

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I don't need to state too much of the obvious. An ongoing NCAA investigation could have massive fallout.

Despite the recent news, Herm Edwards and his staff landed a recent commitment from a good running back and will look to add some more recruits on offense to bring some balance to their 2022 haul. 

Oregon State Beavers

Melvin Jordan poses with the turnover chainsaw during a photoshoot in Corvallis.

Melvin Jordan poses with the turnover chainsaw during a photoshoot in Corvallis.

  1. 3-star OL Dylan Lopez (Bradenton, FL)
  2. 3-star S Carlos Mack (Fresno, CA)

The Beavers only hold six verbal commitments, but Head Coach Jonathan Smith has laid the foundation for a solid group.

It's saying something that the Beavers' top two commits are from the state of Florida, and I was shocked to see they had landed a recruit from IMG Academy in OL Dylan Lopez. This team wants to create all the momentum it can, and can sell recruits on recent success following a big win over Oregon and Jermar Jefferson's stellar college career that lead to him getting drafted by the Lions.

Washington Huskies

Parker Brailsford attends Arizona powerhouse Saguaro High, where the Huskies found DB Jacobe Covington. 

Parker Brailsford attends Arizona powerhouse Saguaro High, where the Huskies found DB Jacobe Covington. 

  1. 3-star OL Vega Loane (Graham, WA)

It's been a quiet month for the Huskies, but they've brought in a lot of big talent in June, including 2021 5-star JT Tuimoloau and 2022 4-star OL Joshua Conerly

The state of Washington has a lot of high end talent in 2022, including WR Tobias Merriweather and OL Dave Iuli. The Huskies are off to a good start with Loane and TE Chance Bogan, but they are going to have to fend off a lot of big-time schools if they want to keep the state's top talent home. 

Jimmy Lake and his staff have a lot of work to do, but will likely end up around the top third of the conference rankings when all is said and done for 2022.

Utah Utes

DL Aisea Moa headlines Utah's 2022 recruiting class.

DL Aisea Moa headlines Utah's 2022 recruiting class.

  1. 3-star QB Nate Johnson (Clovis, CA
  2. 3-star QB Brandon Rose (Murrieta, CA)
  3. 3-star WR Zion Steptoe (Frisco, TX)

Utah is off to a pretty slow start, but that's not really out of the ordinary, but that's no slight on the Utes. Simply put--Head Coach Kyle Whittingham has made a living off of developing the talent he has on the roster and he's one of the best in the business at doing the most with the least. 

That's not to say Utah is incapable of landing big names, but the program hasn't traditionally been known as a recruiting powerhouse. The Utes' top commit, Aisea Moa told Ducks Digest earlier this month that his recruitment is "100% open" and the Utes will have to fend off Oregon, as Mario Cristobal has snagged the top player from the state in each of the past two recruiting cycles. 

One positive for the Utes is that they have their quarterback in the fold in Brandon Rose from Murrieta, California.

Washington State Cougars

LB Taariq Al-Updah is the headliner of the WSU 2022 class.

LB Taariq Al-Updah is the headliner of the WSU 2022 class.

  1. 3-star LB Hudson Cedarland (Gig Harbor, WA)

Not very much to say here. Washington State has never been known as a major recruiting power but I'm a bit surprised at how slow things have been for the Cougars given the excitement Nick Rolovich injected into the program. 

It's encouraging that the staff is making a push into Southern California as well as Texas, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and Pullman is one of the harder college destinations to sell given the lack of recent success.

Stanford Cardinal

Sam Roush is the Cardinal's top commit in 2022.

Sam Roush is the Cardinal's top commit in 2022.

The only Pac-12 school to not land a commitment so far in June--the Cardinal have the most work to do in the conference. I think the brand they have to sell is incredibly underrated given the NFL success their players have had, their location in the Bay Area, and the top end education they have to offer. 

That said, the strict academic requirements absolutely serve as a hurdle on the recruiting trail and greatly limit the players David Shaw and company can recruit. I envision Stanford being one of the schools that is best positioned to benefit from the name, image and likeness era.

As for their 2022 class, it's good for the staff that they have a tight end committed in Sam Roush, as the Cardinal have made a name for themselves as "Tight End U", along with Iowa. It'll be big for them to keep recruiting him, as he moved from nearby San Jose across the country to Nashville.

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