In recruiting, winning the home state is always a crucial battleground but there are key regions outside of a program’s back yard that become major priorities as well. We take a look at each Pac-12 program and one region outside of its local territory that will be a major priority in the class of 2014.
He's a southeast standout but Bryson Allen-Williams has all kinds of West coast interest.
Arizona – California
If you want to recruit well in the Pac-12, you have to recruit California well and Rich Rodriguez understands that, having already landed one of the state’s top running backs for 2014 in Nick Wilson. A pair of St. John Bosco standouts remain high on Arizona as well in Naijiel Hale and Malik Dorton but Arizona is looking for more. Rodriguez has handed out upwards of 30 offers in the state of California and they are working in the northern and southern regions of the state. Most notably, four mobile California quarterbacks have landed offers led by Manny Wilkins.
Arizona State – Southern California
Over the past couple of recruiting cycles, Arizona State has been as successful as any non-California program in digging out some elite talent from California. They will look to add to that resume in 2014 and have already picked up a big one by getting four-star safety Jaleel Wadood to commit early to Todd Graham. Wadood is the younger brother of current Sun Devil Rashaad Wadood and is one of the more high profile southern California recruits in the 2014 class. He’s also a member of one of maybe the most talented team in the state at St. John Bosco. A similar in-road helped them with Long Beach Poly in the 2012 class and they hope history will repeat itself in 2014.
California – Los Angeles
Cal’s new staff has already taken the bull by the horns its native northern California region and has stirred up some good energy and excitement about the program but it’s clear that Sonny Dykes and company aren’t satisfied with simply winning its fair share of Bay Area talent. In Southern California Cal has already made some good progress with four-star cornerback Naijiel Hale. Look for more Los Angeles area prospects to visit and gain interest in the coming months.
Colorado - Houston
With Mike McIntyre’s arrival at Colorado from San Jose State, California will obviously be an emphasis but the state of Texas may welcome an even stronger push from the Buffs. Dakota Allen, Keenen Brown, Josh Mabin, Otaro Alaka, Dakota Allen, Joshua Kalu and a host of other Houston-area prospects already hold offers from the Colorado staff. While the new Colorado staff has a lot of west coast roots, new defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat’s experience at the University of Houston certainly gives the staff some perspective into the region.
Oregon – Texas
Every program in the Pac-12 better have a presence in California and Oregon certainly understands that and will continue to recruit work hard in that hotbed. But Oregon has also found tremendous success in the state of Texas landing the likes of Jordan Huff, Bralon Addison, and Torrodney Prevot in recent years. Four-star safety Jamal Adams out of Carrolton (Texas) Hebron is one candidate that the Ducks are chasing but look for Mark Helfrich to continue to drum up more as Oregon looks to keep the pipeline wide open.
Oregon State – Texas and California
Oregon State has a heavyweight in its own backyard that it has to compete with in Oregon. And that’s a small back yard. That’s why the Beavers can’t afford not to recruit well in the talent-heavy states of both Texas and California. There has been plenty of success to speak of in both arenas and in 2014, Oregon State has thrown out a couple of early offers to the likes of speedster T.V. Williams out of McKinney, Texas and it was one of the first on fast-rising wide receiver Erik Brown out of Fontana, Calif.
Stanford – National
Spots in Stanford’s classes are limited every year and it’s hard to find prospects that can help the Cardinal realistically compete for a Pac-12 championship and still handle the rigorous academic load required of Stanford students. That’s why Stanford has to continue to have the national presence that it had in 2013. Less than half of that 12-man haul was from California and each of the other seven was from a different state all over the country. That approach is crucial to Stanford’s success and look for New Jersey, Iowa, Utah and a host of other lower profile states to be potential sources for signees.
UCLA – Georgia
In Jim Mora Jr.’s first full recruiting effort in the 2013 recruiting cycle, the staff immediately tapped into it’s southern roots by recruiting heavily early in the state of Georgia. While they landed early commitments from the likes of quarterback Eddie Printz and running back Keyante Green out of Georgia, those didn’t ultimately stick. We don’t expect that to slow the Bruins’ efforts in 2014 though. Four-star linebacker Bryson Allen-Williams is one of the early targets.
USC – Georgia
The Trojans have a national brand, a national recruiting footprint and have had plenty of national success in recent history on the recruiting trail. After getting burned late on a couple of national prospects in the class of 2013, USC may stay a little closer to home in the 2014 cycle but the state of Georgia will still get plenty of Trojan love. Both Ed Orgeron and Tee Martin have had major success recruiting in the state and the region and among the select offers handed out early on by USC, eight have gone to Georgians. Five-star linebacker Rakewon McMillian and the nation’s No. 3 player Lorenzo Carter are two of the top targets in the early going for USC with Georgia potentially being the barometer for USC’s continued national recruiting pull.
Utah – Arizona
2014 is an outstanding year for talent in the state of Arizona and while Utah will try to maintain a heavy presence in California and Texas along with their annual choke-hold on the in-state talent, they will look to Arizona to support those pushes in a big way. The Utes have already handed out no less than 10 offers in the state of Arizona. Among those offers are tight ends Trevor Wood and Matt Bushman and offensive linemen Layth Friekh, Andrew Mike and Natrell Curtis.
Washington – Southern California
Washington is recruiting at an extremely high level under Steve Sarkisian. In 2013 the Huskies finished at No. 3 in the 247Composite Pac-12 class rankings. Much of that success has been due to some new momentum in the state of California, particularly southern Cal. With Tosh Lupoi and Keith Heyward leading the way, Washington has become a threat to land some of the top prospects in the region. In 2014, their sites are set on prospects like four-stars Ainuu Taua and Viane Talamaivao to keep the pipeline strong though in-state success will be a major focus as well.
Washington State – Texas
In the same way that Oregon State has found success out of the state of Texas with finds like Jacquizz and James Rodgers and Storm Woods, Washington State is looking for some spillover impact talent as well. With Mike Leach’s background, the relationships and expertise is there to land those gems. In the class of 2013, Leach almost found his steal with the commitment of sleeper stud Montrel Meander. Unfortunately for the Cougars, Texas perked up late snatched up the four-star. In 2014, the attention turns to prospects like Ty Barrett out of Dallas, josh Pelzel out of Rockdale and linebacker Derrick Dixon as Leach continues to try to steal a star out of Texas.