Recruiting in college football consists of a delicate balance of reeling in talent while still addressing needs. Today we take a look at the Pac-12 and what needs each program will be attempting to address in the class of 2014.
Andrew Mike is atop several recruting boards in the Pac-12.
Biggest need – Offensive line. Rich Rodriguez is looking to add offensive line depth and he wants to reclaim the state of Arizona, keeping local prospects at home. Those two interests align with some elite prospects on the offensive line situated right down the road. Most notably, 6-foot-7 Tuscon native Andrew Mike is going to be a major priorty for Rodriguez.
Top Target – Andrew Mike, OT, Tuscon (Ariz.) Sabino
Biggest need – Quarterback. Signing day in 2013 brought bad news for Arizona State when long-time commit and talented signal-caller Josh Dobbs made the last-minute decision to sign with Tennessee. With that, Todd Graham was left without a quarterback in the class of 2013 so immediately the position becomes a must-hit priority in 2014.
Top Target – Kyle Allen, QB, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain
Biggest need – Safety. The Cal roster is relatively thin at the safety position and it didn’t get much help in that regard from the class of 2013. Look for Sonny Dykes to continue to address defense as much as offense in his first full class, starting at the quarterback of the secondary.
Top Target – Koa Farmer, S, Riverside (Calif.) Notre Dame
Biggest need – Tight end. Colorado returns no starters at the tight end position in 2013 and they signed no tight ends in the 2013 recruiting class. New head coach Mike MacIntyre’s second leading receiver in terms of yardage in 2012 for San Jose State was tight end Ryan Otten. With limited talent on the roster, expect MacIntyre to attack tight end and sell early playing time – and mean it.
Top Target – Darrell Cloy, TE, Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) St. Paul
Biggest need – Defensive tackle. Oregon hasn’t signed a true prototypical interior defensive lineman over the last two recruiting cycles. With the arrival of new defensive line coach Ron Aiken, you can be sure that he will be anxious to get that hole filled very quickly.
Top Target: Enoch Smith Jr., DT, Chicago (Ill.) Mount Carmel
Biggest need - Offensive line. A small offensive line class in 2013 (two signees) equals a big offensive line class in 2014. More specifically Oregon State is going to be chasing big athletic edge protectors. That emphasis has shown up early on as already offensive tackle has been one of the most actively offered positions in the 2014 cycle for the Beavers.
Top Target – Kaleb McGarry, OT, Battle Ground (Wash.) High School
Biggest need –Running Back. Stanford has had a high hit ratio on its signees under Jim Harbaugh and David Shaw and in 2014 they hope to hit on a running back. The 2013 class saw no new faces at the position and in 2012, only Barry Sanders Jr. jumped on board. With four seniors currently on the roster at the position, Stanford needs at least one impact guy that can compete as a freshman.
Top Target – Christian McCaffrey, RB, Littleton (Colo.) Valor Christian
Biggest need – Running Back. UCLA will need to find a replacement for the talented Jonathan Franklin in 2013 but Jim Mora Jr. better find a replacement for his replacement as well. After the Bruins were unable to land RB Terrell Newby in 2013 and academics kept Craig Lee from heading to Westwood, running back suddenly became a can’t miss position for 2014.
Top Target – Joe Mixon, RB, Oakley (Calif.) Freedom
Biggest need – Offensive tackle. The bad news is that NCAA sanctions and a slow finish to 2013 has left USC with several areas of major need from a positional standpoint. The good news is that perhaps the biggest need out there, offensive tackle, has already been addressed significantly in the 2014 class. USC has signed three four-star offensive tackles so far in 2014 and probably has the top OL class at this early stage.
Top Target – Casey Tucker, OT, Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton
Biggest need – Offensive tackle. Over the last two recruiting classes, Washington has recruited well at offensive line but 2014 will be the year in which it looks for an athletic edge protector to complement some of the good interior guys they’ve been able to land. The offers have gone out early and often to offensive tackles in hopes of landing a franchise type prospect.
Top Target – Layth Friekh, OT, Peoria (Ariz.) Centennial
Biggest need – Defensive backs. Mike Leach is known for offense but he’s going to need some playmakers in the secondary if he is going to be known for winning games in Pullman. Washington State is looking to load up on back end defensive talent in 2014 and it could use some help at both the safety and cornerback spots.
Top Target – John Smith, S, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly
Biggest need – Outside linebacker. Utah needs to find an impact outside linebacker in this 2014 group, particularly after 2013’s class only signed one linebacker in Uaea Masina, who is more of a mike candidate. The offers have been flooding out to athletic outside linebacker candidates and they’ve been sent everywhere from Florida to Hawaii.
Top Target – Derik Calhoun, OLB, El Cerrito (Calif.) High School