Recruiting on the Pac-12 scene reach a fevered pitch over the course of this past week as coaches from within conference were out on the road, in full force mind you, attempting to lure potential prospects to their respective programs.
Naijiel Hale has attracted the interest from multiple Pac-12 Conference programs and Arizona appears to be the frontrunner for a commitment from the junior cornerback from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco.
This is not always an easy task, rest assured. Competition for players with proverbial resumes for Pac-12 play is fierce. Conference head honchos are going up against each other, naturally, all the while dealing with teams from all over the country interested in the same individuals. That said, here's an in-depth look at how things worked out.
Having already landed highly-regarded Rahshead Johnson, the Huskies should consider themselves lucky. The thing is, a commitment in late June from the 5-11 and 165-pound junior wide receiver from Long Beach (Calif.) Cabrillo has done little, or nothing, to prevent programs from attempting to flip him.
Johnson is one of the nation's best in the business, thus the added attention. He is the country's No. 30 player at his position in the 247Sports Composite Rankings. Johnson compares rather favorably with West Coast counterparts Mark Andrews from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain, Jalen Brown from Phoenix (Ariz.) Mountain Pointe and Erik Brown of Fontana (Calif.) Summit, among others.
“I committed to Washington because of the campus and coaching staff, I fell in love with the Huskies,'' Johnson said. “My name is out there though, I know that. I have a target on my back and people are talking about me. The plan is to keep my options open and listen to the some of the schools out there.''
He has more than 10 offers, most notably from Nebraska, Wisconsin and Syracuse. Closer to home, the Huskies need to be concerned about Pac-12 Conference rivals Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon State and Washington State. USC and UCLA could be on the verge of jumping on the bandwagon.
“Recruiting slowed down when I first committed to Washington, but it's going strong again,'' Johnson said. “Almost all the teams from the Pac-12 are on me. It's crazy to think about. Then I got the offer from Nebraska, that's when things started to go national. Things are blowing up. I'm in a good spot now.”
After taking a look at Naijiel Hale during last week's 7on7 passing tournament, B2G Sports Elite 16, in Los Angeles it was blatantly obvious that the junior from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco enjoyed a recent trip to Tucson. The 5-10 and 175-pound cornerback was dressed in Wildcats gear from head-to-toe.
Hale visited Arizona on April 5. While in the general vicinity, he made the most of his time and took a quick trip to nearby Arizona State the following day. Both schools have scholarships for him, along with Pac-12 Conference foes like Cal and Washington State. The Wildcats appear to be the favorite, however.
“I like the way they do things at Arizona, the coaching staff is great, so are the facilities, the Wildcats have a lot to offer,” Hale said. “Sometimes I think about closing out recruiting the whole process and making a decision. It's frustrating, at times. I'm open now, but I have thought about Arizona a lot lately.”
The Wildcats have some competition, there's no doubt about it. UCLA is in the mix and coach Jim Mora has assigned Steve Broussard as the lead recruiter for Hale. The Bruins, however, have not offered. “UCLA is interested and coach Mora and Broussard want to talk with me twice a week,'' Hale said.
Oregon is considered a threat to the Wildcats. Ducks assistant coach John Neal has communicated with Hale, the nation's No. 25 player at his position in the 247Composite rankings. “Coach Neal is visiting my school on May 5, and if I'm 5-10 and 175 pounds, the Ducks will offer me,'' Hale said.
WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
Interest from programs in the Pac-12 Conference continues to pick up for Greg Hoyd III. The Cougars, however, appear to be the frontrunner for the 6-2 and 210-pound junior outside linebacker from Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta. They have offered and remain in constant contact. The pressure is not-stop from coach Mike Leach & Co., with his assistant and lead recruiter Ken Wilson spearheading the interest.
“Washington State would be great fit for me,'' Hoyd III said. “I'm hearing a lot from the Cougars. They are showing me the most interest and I like that. They are after me. Coach Wilson is a great guy too, we talk all the time. He treats me right. I want to take a visit to the campus and it's going to happen soon.”
Washington State is not alone, rest assured. Utah has stepped up its collective efforts to secure a pledge from Hoyd III and a scholarship awaits him. USC has reached out as well, although the Trojans seem to be merely testing the waters. UCLA is also in the mix and he's recently made multiple visits to Westwood.
Duke, New Mexico State and Toledo have offered Hoyd III. Schools from the SEC have started to come around too. Hoyd III said plans are in the works for an in-home visit with Vanderbilt in May. Nevertheless, Washington State is in front for the nation's No. 39 player at his position in the 247Sports Rankings.
PAC-12 CONFERENCE NOTES
It was a mere matter of time before up-and-coming sophomore Josh Rosen locked down a Pac-12 offer. And sure enough, right around this time last week, the 6-2 and 180-pound pro-style quarterback from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco received his initial scholarship from a conference school when Oregon State jumped on the bandwagon. “I have not had a lot of contact with the Beavers, but they apparently like me,'' Rosen said. Stanford could give Oregon State a run for its money and he expects to take a trip to Palo Alto at some point in June.
Colorado does not appear to have much competition from its rivals for Zach Vaughan. The Buffaloes, in fact, are the only Pac-12 Conference team with an offer for the 6-4 and 220-pound junior from Austin (Tex.) McNeil. No. 39 in the nation at strong-side defensive end in the 247Sports Rankings, he said a recent trip to Boulder went rather well. Houston, Texas Tech and Rice have scholarships on the table. Oklahoma State and Texas A&M are high on the list of Vaughan. If he decides on playing Pac-12 ball largely on the West Coast, Colorado is the likely destination.
Seemingly no one on the West Coast, perhaps in the nation, had a better week than Rasheem Green. The 6-5 and 270-pound sophomore offensive lineman from Gardena (Calif.) Serra received four offers on Tuesday alone, three from those within the Pac-12 Conference. Cal, USC and Washington put scholarships on the table for Green. Florida was the other team. Prior to the flurry of action, UCLA was the only other program to offer him.
Similar to his teammate Green, the future is particularly bright for John Houston. The Class of 2015 prospect from Gardena (Calif.) Serra landed a pair of high-profile offers a few days ago, from USC and Florida. He has three scholarships total, the other being UCLA. It's reasonable to expect more of the same moving forward. Houston, after all, could end up as one of the more sought-after recruits in the country before all's said and done.
Oregon received an all-important commitment from Tyrell Crosby on Monday when the 6-5 and 290-pound junior offensive lineman from Henderson (Nev.) Green Valley decided the that Ducks were the best possible fit following a visit to Eugene a few days beforehand. The nation's No. 35 tackle in the 247Sports Composite Rankings had offers from Pac-12 Conference counterparts such as Arizona State, Oregon State, Utah and Washington.
In somewhat of a surprise move, Jalen Harvey ended the whole recruiting process when the 6-1 and 175-pound junior wide receiver from El Cerrito (Calif.) committed to Cal on Tuesday. With offers from six other Pac-12 Conference schools, his pledge appears to be solid. At this stage of the game, anyway. No. 9 in the country at his position according to the 247Sports Rankings, Harvey said he will not take anymore visits, official or not.
Less than a week ago, Brandon Simmons committed to Stanford and gave the program its first recruit for the Class of 2014. Cardinal assistant coach Mike Sanford had plenty to do with luring the 6-foot and 175-pound safety from Arlington (Tex.) Mansfield Timberview to Palo Alto. It was no small task given the fact that Simmons had close to 30 scholarships waiting for him. In the end, it appears as if Stanford was the place to be for him.