Monday, October 7, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12
By Erik McKinney
Two unofficial visits highlight something of a quiet weekend in the Pac-12, where there were only four home games in the conference. While Washington and Arizona State came close to making national statements, nothing meant more than Stanford's home win in front of ESPN 300 prospects. At the high school level, Pac-12 quarterback targets shone brightly last week, while a new name could be close to joining several conference recruiting boards.
Biggest commitment: Colorado showed some fight against Oregon, but still obviously doesn't have enough to hang with the class of the Pac-12. But the Buffaloes rebounded nicely on the recruiting trail Sunday evening, scoring a verbal commitment from running back Jomon Dotson (American Canyon, Calif./American Canyon). Dotson -- a highly-recruited and dynamic athlete -- holds offers from Arizona State, Iowa State, Nevada, Northwestern, San Jose State and Yale, among others. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound back is the kind of offensive weapon that Colorado could look to get on the field early in his career. Dotson will take his official visit to Colorado in December.
Biggest offer: Stanford made noise on Sunday night when the coaches extended an offer to defensive end Uriah Leiataua (Compton, Calif./Dominguez). It's a huge offer for Leiataua, who adds it to offers from Colorado, Washington State, Wisconsin, and others. Leiataua has already taken an official visit to Wisconsin and has been looking hard at Washington State, but this offer from Stanford could vault the Cardinal right into the mix. Leiataua is a 6-foot-3, 232-pound defensive end who would likely fit well into the Stanford front seven. It should also be noted that Stanford found some success with the last prospect they reeled in from Compton Centennial -- cornerback Richard Sherman. It wouldn't be surprising to see offers begin piling up for Leiataua now that Stanford has entered the picture.
Best performance by a commit/target: It's a quarterback-driven group from this weekend.
Nobody was better than 2015 ESPN 300 quarterback Brett Rypien (Spokane, Wash./Shadle Park) this week, as the nation's No. 114 prospect set a Washington state record with 613 passing yards. Rypien threw for eight touchdowns and added another score on the ground.
It was great to see 2015 ESPN 300 quarterback Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) back on the field, as he returned Friday night from a shoulder injury he suffered on Sept. 14. All Rosen did in his first game back was lead the Braves to a 75-35 win over Los Angeles Crenshaw, by throwing for 223 yards and five touchdowns, and adding another score on the ground.
Sticking with the 2015 theme, Dalton Sneed (Scottsdale, Ariz./Horizon) put together a tremendous game on Friday. Sneed threw for 363 yards and seven touchdowns in a 52-21 win. He accounted for 216 yards and five of the scores in the second quarter alone.
Not many quarterbacks could make this list by completing just three passes for 70 yards and a touchdown, but Arizona State commit Coltin Gerhart (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) deserves a nod here after he added 196 yards and four scores on 13 carries. Gerhart will likely play defense for the Sun Devils, and he proved this week how valuable he can be as a pure athlete at any position.
ESPN 300 defensive end Solomon Thomas took in Stanford over the weekend.
On the other side of the ball, senior linebacker Malik Hutchings (Antioch, Calif./Deer Valley) turned in a huge performance in a 45-34 win, as he tallied 17 tackles, three tackles for loss, forced four fumbles and had two fumble recoveries. It was only the fifth football game for the 6-foot-4, 230-pound athlete who had been a basketball player only before this season. Hutchings -- the younger brother of USC linebacker Michael Hutchings -- already has offers from Hawaii, UC Davis and UTEP and could be closing in on Pac-12 offers with a few more performances like that.
Most important visit: Stanford received unofficial visits from arguably its top two remaining targets in the 2014 class. Defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Tex./Coppell) and offensive tackle Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) were both on the Stanford campus for the Cardinal's game against Washington and to spend some time with the coaching staff. Both are ESPN 300 prospects -- Thomas is No. 31 overall, Tucker is No. 38 overall -- and would be huge additions to the Stanford class if they ultimately make that decision. Both recruits basically have their choice of any program in the country, although the decision to take an unofficial visit to Stanford over the weekend speaks loudly -- specifically for Thomas, who had family members accompany him on the trip and spent several days on the Palo Alto campus. Tucker will still look at programs such as Arizona State, Oregon, Texas A&M, USC and Washington, but he might have tipped his hand somewhat at the end of the summer, when he said he would no longer look to enroll early at his school of choice. Stanford does not allow prospects to enroll in January, and that would now seem to fit perfectly into Tucker's plan of staying at Hamilton for the spring semester.
Biggest question: Can Washington State keep its momentum going?
A 55-17 blowout loss against Stanford proved that Washington State isn't quite ready to challenge the Pac-12 North elite, but a blowout win over Cal this weekend shows that the Cougars are very much in the Pac-12 mix. This coming weekend, Washington State will host Oregon State in what will be a huge game for the Cougars. Washington State made a statement last month by going into Los Angeles and beating the Trojans, but back-to-back wins over Pac-12 North rivals could have an even bigger effect on recruits. Washington State commits Kevin Griffin (Concord, Calif./De La Salle), Greg Hoyd (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) and Calvin Green (Sacramento, Calif./Luther Burbank) have said they will take their official visit this weekend, but the big name to watch is Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch), a talented offensive lineman being sought after by the likes of Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah and Washington.