The recruiting class that Lane Kiffin is putting together at USC is getting all the headlines in the Pac-12 but there are plenty of other storylines and talent out West. We take a look at the current state of recruiting in the Pac-12.
Max Browne, the nation's No. 1 quarterback prospect, is the highest-rated recruit in USC's class, which is No. 1 according to 247Sports.
Best Class- 247Sports, 247Composite, five-stars, four-stars, whatever metric you choose to use to evaluate recruiting classes, USC is leading the way in the Pac-12. With the number one class in the country, USC would be leading the pack in any conference. The only title that USC is surely not going to win is that of “most signees”. With limited scholarship numbers available, the Trojans have a precious few spots in this 2013 class and that makes what they’ve done to date all the more impressive.
USC currently has six of the top ten prospects out of the state of California committed including the state’s top prospect in Su’a Cravens. USC also has the state’s top prospect out of Washington, Maryland, Tennessee and Illinois.
The top prospect in the class is Max Browne, the heir apparent to the storied history of quarterbacks at USC. Browne is a five-star prospect and the best quarterback in the country on 247Sports.
Amazingly enough, this USC class could even be better. Already it has dealt with the departure of four-star safety commit Max Redfield and several other high profile commits have taken some official visits elsewhere. It won’t be an easy task holding this imposing group together but don’t expect to see anyone else atop the Pac-12 standings by National Signing Day.
Biggest commitment gained- Though he was highly-regarded back in June when he committed to Arizona State, Joshua Dobbs’ profile out of Alpharetta, Ga. has only grown since that early pledge. Dobbs has emerged as not only one of the top passers in the state of Georgia but one of the top quarterbacks anywhere in the country.
Dobbs has seen his stock soar over the course of his senior season and has added strong interest from the likes of Mississippi State, Texas and others. A quarterback with good size and a strong arm, Dobbs also adds terrific athleticism and the mentality acuity to really excel at the quarterback position.
Arizona State will have to continue to fight off other suitors to hold on to the talented passer so rare that even Yale remains as a school in heavy pursuit.
Sleeper class- You won’t see Stanford’s class leading any rankings lists but it’s not due to lack of quality talent. It’s only due to lack of quantity of talent. Currently Stanford has nine commitments in its class of 2013. David Shaw only plans on adding a handful more before closing the door on his class but that doesn’t mean that it’s not chalk full of difference makers.
Oregon running back commit Thomas Tyner has the ability to step in and contribute right away.
Sean Barton out of Utah has the look of one of the top safeties in the country on film. Vanderbilt decommit Mike Tyler emerged as a senior to rack up 18 sacks and emerge on the Stanford radar while linebackers Kevin Palma and Peter Kalambayi are four-star elite prospects. Add in the golden-armed Ryan Burns and Stanford’s class may be small but it is certainly complete.
Instant contributor- Oregon head coach Chip Kelly has never been shy about putting talented freshmen on the field early in their career and he’s never had a freshman come in with the physical tools that Thomas Tyner possesses. Even with the horde of skill players present in Eugene, Tyner and his 6-0, 210-pound frame paired with his 10.35 100 meter dash speed is too unique to envision sitting on the sideline as a freshman.
Biggest prize left- It has never been easy to nail down the favorites of five-star cornerback Priest Willis. The Tempe (Ariz.) Marcos De Niza product has been all over the place, literally. With official visits completed to Florida State and Nebraska, Willis still has officials to Virginia (this weekend) and LSU scheduled. However, the Pac-12 remains in the hunt. Arizona State and UCLA are the leading candidates out of the west to land the imposing cornerback prospect.
In addition to Willis, four-stars Tahaan Goodman (considering UCLA, LSU, USC and Washington among others) and Max Redfield (once a USC commit, now considering Notre Dame and Oregon along with the Trojans) are also class-changing type targets still left uncommitted.
Best position group- USC has an embarrassment of riches at the defensive back positions in the class of 2013. While the Trojans have struggled defensively during the 2012 season there may be multiple freshman contributors out of the class of 2013 in the secondary.
Jalen Ramsey, a 247Composite five-star out of Nashville, Tenn., may be the most college ready of them all with polish, size, length and elite athleticism. Ramsey’s physicality out of the cornerback position is part of the reason why he’s the No. 5 cornerback in the country. He is teamed with Su’a Cravens who is the most disruptive safety in the country with his ball-hawking and in-the-box versatility.
Chris Hawkins is the third defensive back among the group and while he has some size limitation, he is instinctively one of the best cornerbacks you’ll find anywhere. USC is working to get Max Redfield back into the unit and could also add Tahaan Goodman to the fold. If those additions happen, this group could go from a photo finish as the best position group in the conference to the runaway winner.
Has some work to do- Kelly has never been one to follow the crowd and his recruiting approach follows a similar philosophy. The Ducks are currently 10th in the conference and only No. 70 nationally in the 247Sports team rankings but Kelly has a plan and that plan has proven to work.
A slower evaluation process and a more deliberate approach to recruiting than most has the Ducks looking up at the rest of the Pac-12. However some major targets still available could help Oregon rise quickly in the closing months.
Max Redfield and Leon McQuay III are each Top100 safeties that have the Ducks among their finalists. DE Austin Hooper out of Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, TE Thomas Duarte out of Mater Dei (Calif.) and Top100 wide receiver James Quick are all among the targets left that could help build the Oregon class up to a recruiting ranking more closely aligned with its on-the-field ranking.