If you look at the subjective rankings of the scouting services the Pac Ten ended up in a virtual dead heat near the top as UCLA, Washington, USC, Arizona State, and Oregon all turned in what could be termed as top twenty recruiting classes depending on which recruiting service you agree with. I like Scout because Rivals does not have enough evaluation going on West of the Mississipi.
How good are these classes? Well it takes 3-4 years to figure out that one, but I like Washington's class because all the kids are on track to qualify and be here this Fall. Signing them is one thing, getting them all in for school in the Fall is a "whole nother enchilada" unless the admissions office works for the Dennis Erickson.
It takes gall for Arizona football coach Mike Stoops to take another shot at Arizona State academics on football signing day when his program has lost six scholarships over the first two years of NCAA enforced penalties for the lowest Academic Progress Rate in the Pac-10.
Don't you just love feuds, fires, and train wrecks when you aren't involved?
Nathan popped into the recruiting banquet at UW last night, and delivers these impressions.
I was curious about how many people were at last night's recruiting banquet. At one point, one of the speakers said "600" and that's probably a pretty good estimate. That's at least double of what I expected. The Tyee council did a nice job putting the event together. I've been to many banquet-style events at UW and this was one of the best ones. Well-organized.
Pac Ten Alley
Let's take our weekly walk down the coast to see how our neighbors did with their recruiting classes.
According to the services the UCLA Bruins had the top rated class in the conference this year. Most of this class was put together by Walker, and Dorrell, but Neuheisel probably will never leave the top ten while he is coach at his alma mater.
The talent infusion was needed for a program that has meandered in recent seasons. UCLA was 6-7 in 2007."We addressed a lot of critical needs, especially at skill positions, both on offense and defense," Neuheisel said. Particularly at running back. Besides Knox, the Bruins landed Aundre Dean of Katy, Texas, who was ranked among the top 10 running backs nationally. Dean had 4,609 yards rushing and scored 53 touchdowns the last two seasons. "He's a ready-made physical player," Neuheisel said. "He's a prototype tailback." Add to that Knox, who scored 103 touchdowns in four high school seasons. He was twice selected the Los Angeles City Section player of the year. "We're excited to have both of these guys," Neuheisel said. "It's a huge deal for [Knox] to be staying home."
USC was a little down this year as some of the marquee talent took a good look at the Trojan depth chart and felt they could play earlier elsewhere. USC loaded up on the lines, and that is how you build championships.
When you consider how important linemen are for a program, it's hard to argue with USC's decision to take 10 in its recruiting class. Last year was a good example how valuable linemen are when the Trojans lost so many offensive linemen to injuries, including two on one play.The mistake some people are making is to think it's an either/or proposition between linemen and skill players, etc. If Will Hill (Florida), Darrell Scott (Colorado), Patrick Johnson (LSU), Arthur Brown (Miami), Joe Adams (Arkansas) or Chris Polk (Washington) wanted to come to USC, there would be a scholarship.On its own merit, this is an excellent class that at the same time lost out on some marquee recruits who would have made it a consensus top three class.
The Ducks had another solid year, and picked up a surprise at the last minute. The Ducks lost out on a few studs at the end that would hav eput their class over the top.
Here are a couple round ups for the day. Rickert breaks down the class, Moseley gives his recap of Bellotti's press conference, and here's Bellotti's conference in video with bios for each recruit. This is a very, very good class: 19th in the nation and 3rd in the Pac-10. We continue to add very, very good pieces that will thrive in the system. Oregon football is not fading. We've got great coaches and great kids. GO DUCKS! We have received letters of intent from:
Hamani Stevens, C -- His signing is not updated on the Oregon signed LOI page, but Rivals has him indicated as already signed his LOI. We now have his LOI.
Ellis Krout, WR (JC) (From Rickert. Note: Scout has him only as a verbal, no LOI.)
John Boyett, CB
Kiko Alonso, LB
Kenjon Barner, RB/DB
Chris Harper, QB
LaMichael James, RB
Dion Jordan, WR/TE
Mychal Rivera, TE
Scott Grady, CB
Nick Cody, OL
Dewitt Stuckey, LB
Justin Thompson, DL (JC)
Josh Kaddu, LB
Blake Cantu, WR
Garrett Embry, WR
Zach Taylor, LS (JC)
LaGarrette Blount, RB (JC)
Blake Ferras, DT (JC)
Darron Thomas, QB
Dennis Erickson went heavy on JC talent as usual this year. Analysts think it may be one of the best classes ever at ASU, but I think Erickson is just warming up. another thing that I think Erickson is doing is inching his team toward a lot of potential problems. Things have loosened up in the admissions office over in Tempe.
Arizona State football coach Dennis Erickson joked Wednesday about the Suns' single newcomer being bigger than his 27. But most of the new Sun Devils figure to be around longer than Shaquille O'Neal, and Erickson hopes there's a championship to be had in a recruiting class that long-timers believe is ASU's best since the Frank Kush or Darryl Rogers eras.
With the signing-day addition of defensive end Jamaar Jarrett, Scouts, Inc. bumped Erickson's first full-year recruiting class up six spots to No. 17 nationally. Scout.com puts the Sun Devils at No. 16 and Rivals.com at No. 21. All have ASU among the top four in the Pac-Ten.
California had kind of a down year in recruiting. It is still a good class, but as far as past rankings under Tedford go it was sub par.
The Bears announced the signing of 21 players Wednesday, a class that is ranked 32nd nationally by Scout.com and 35th by Rivals.com. The group of newcomers isn't considered as strong as it's been in recent years, a sign that perhaps the team's struggles during the second half of last season turned off some prospects. But most recruiting experts believe Cal addressed most of its pressing needs by bringing in a solid group of wide receivers, defensive backs and defensive linemen.
Over at Arizona Mike Stoops wasn't very happy with Erickson. Sttops has recruited strong since he arrived, but this year was sub par for him and the Wildcats, blame that on the increased competition from ASU.
Score this in-state recruiting round to Arizona State, but University of Arizona coach Mike Stoops managed to sneak in a verbal jab on signing day."Obviously," Stoops said, "Arizona State has turned into a JC, and we're a four-year college."Here's the background: The state's top two players - receiver/athlete Gerell Robinson from Phoenix Hamilton and receiver Jarrell Barbour from Peoria Centennial - signed with ASU after originally committing to Arizona. Running back Ryan Bass from Corona, Calif., did the same.
Oregon State had another solid year evaluating out on the fringe. Riley can evaluate and develop talent, plus he has the latitude to be able to sign JC's which are a big help.
The people's choice for the most popular potential recruit seems to be Jacquizz Rodgers, brother of James Rodgers, out of Lamaar Consolidated High School in Texas. Jacquizz helped his team to the State Championship his senior year with ridiculous statistics like 2,903 yards and 37 touchdowns. We're talkin' one season here. You want his career stats? 8,246 yards and a state-record 136 touchdowns. He even has his own website, Jacquizz.com. How cool is that? If Jacquizz/'Quizz/'the Wizz/whatever you prefer is anything like his brother, (Jacquizz is faster? What?) Beaver Nation is in for a treat.
Gil Dobie once said that you can't win national championships with Phi Betta Kappa's. Jim Harbaugh is trying to overcome that obstacle at Stanford. Ty made a nice run at Decastro, but in the end he decided to go to Stanford.
Andrew Luck had his eyes on Stanford even before the school hired Jim Harbaugh in December 2006. But the coach's presence sealed the deal for the highly touted quarterback from Houston.
When Luck submitted a letter-of-intent Wednesday along with 17 others, he became the first five-star quarterback to sign with the Cardinal since Trent Edwards arrived six years ago.
This pretty much sums up what most people think of the Cougar class of 2008. Wulff will have better classes in the future, and depite the rankings he did pick up some good looking sleepers. Never evaluate a coaches recruiting skills in the first year. I think Wulff will bring in an excellent class next year. Keep an eye on Cal Schmidtke, the kid is a leader, and he can play.
Happy NLI Day. I'm back from the casino with a couple pages of notes; $20 bucks more than I had when I left the house (I hit it big in 3-hand poker); and clothes that reek of cigarette smoke.
Out of Conference Opponents
The BYU Blog decides to close. Too bad, but we wish you the very best of luck!
I have very reluctantly concluded that I do not have the time necessary to continue writing about BYU sports. Articles about athletics usually need to be posted in a timely fashion, but my work schedule and other priorities prevent me from being able to write in such a manner.
Oklahoma as usual pulled in another strong class.
These are the recruits who have landed at Oklahoma. They are in order of when their letters were received and hopefully the list isn't complete yet because there are a few names missing. Live recruiting updates can be found here.
Notre Dame's class came in ranked #2 in the nation.
You really have to like how this class ended up. New defensive coordinator Corwin Brown made an instant impact last spring and the Irish kept it up all season long despite the poor record. It really is amazing to come off of a 3-9 season and still have a top 5 class. So hats off to the entire coaching staff who kept off opposing coaches and kept the class together. Another thing to like is the chemistry in this class. Weis credited Braxston Cave and Dayne Crist for putting this class together and it seems like they were the most cohesive group at all of the all-star games. While the class is a top 5 class, there were still a couple of pieces that would have been nice to include. The Omar Hunter deflection really hurt our defensive recruiting, although we do have a couple of guys who are great "back-up" plans. I would have also liked to see one or two more offensive tackles. You build an offense off of a strong line and we need to have impressive o-line hauls every year if we want to build a championship caliber team. Overall however, Irish fans should be very happy with the 23 guys committed to Notre Dame.