Thursday, October 10, 2013
Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Oct. 10
By Erik McKinney
A Pacific Northwest showdown, big home games for Washington State, Utah and UCLA, and an important commitment for USC round out the top Pac-12 recruiting storylines this week.
"College GameDay" brings out the best for Huskies-Ducks
ESPN 300 safety Bishard Baker has Oregon and Washington high on his list and will visit the matchup between the two schools in Seattle.
Washington takes center stage for the second week in a row, as the Huskies host the Oregon Ducks after traveling to Stanford last Saturday. At this point, it appears as though offensive lineman Layth Friekh (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) will be the only scheduled official visitor, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see a late addition or two on that list before Saturday's game. But even without a deep list of official visitors, there will be two very important unofficial visitors for both programs, as No. 8 safety Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) will be in attendance, as will offensive tackle Kaleb McGary (Fife, Wash./Fife). Both prospects hold offers from the Ducks and Huskies, and while other programs continue to push hard for their commitments, a strong showing from one of these two programs could push them in front for the talented prospects. Washington will also have long-time commit Rahshead Johnson (Long Beach, Calif./Cabrillo) in attendance on an unofficial visit. Johnson said he can't wait to get back to Husky Stadium for what is certain to be an electric atmosphere. It's also safe to expect Johnson to be leading the recruiting charge among prospects who attend the game.
Cougars getting a number of visitors
Washington isn't the only game in town this weekend, as Washington State hosts Oregon State and a very solid group of official visitors. A number of commitments are scheduled to be on official visits, including linebacker Greg Hoyd (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta), running back Calvin Green (Sacramento, Calif./Luther Burbank), cornerback Kevin Griffin (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) and junior college cornerback Joseph Turner (San Mateo, Calif./College of San Mateo). It's likely that all the commitments will have their sights set on two big uncommitted unofficial visitors, offensive lineman Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch) and defensive end Uriah-Dillon Leiataua (Compton, Calif./Dominguez). Delp has collected offers from up and down the conference -- including Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah and Washington -- while Leiataua could see his recruitment skyrocket after collecting an offer from Stanford earlier this week. Both would be huge additions for the Cougars.
USC hits on a local riser
The USC Trojans got some much-needed good news on Wednesday, as local linebacker Uchenna Nwosu (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) announced his commitment just a few days after receiving an offer from the Trojans. It's big for several reasons, not the least of which is that Nwosu is a high-upside recruit who should fit well into the defensive scheme at USC. It also speaks volumes that he is a local recruit for the Trojans. After Lane Kiffin's regime was painted as one that would bypass homegrown talent for out-of-state stars, it was noticeable that interim coach Ed Orgeron extended several offers to local players. Orgeron's Trojans will also have a chance to show recruits the new direction of the program, as they get Thursday night all to themselves with a home game against an extremely dangerous Arizona team.
Bruins are back home with a big visitor
It's been a while since UCLA's last home game -- a 59-13 beating of New Mexico State on Sept. 21 -- which should mean a terrific atmosphere for Saturday's likely sellout at the Rose Bowl against California. It appears the Bruins will get an official visit from wide receiver Alex Van Dyke (Cosumnes Oaks, Calif./Elk Grove), a 6-foot-4, 200-pound, three-star receiver who has already visited Oregon State and has said he is looking to schedule visits to Cal and Oregon. With USC playing on Thursday, UCLA will have a chance to round up an impressive group of local unofficial visitors as well.
Utes have a chance to make a huge impression
Utah has a challenging visit from Stanford this weekend, and the Utes will take on the Cardinal in front of a very good group of visitors. It's defensive back-heavy, with cornerbacks Naijiel Hale (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Denzel Fisher (Compton, Calif./Centennial) joining safety Darren Gardenhire (Long Beach, Calif./Cabrillo). All three recruits are committed to other programs -- Hale to Arizona, Fisher to UCLA, Gardenhire to San Jose State -- but Gardenhire recently added an offer from Utah and a positive visit could have the standout safety seriously considering the Pac-12 program. There is also a chance that juco cornerback DeMarlon Morris (Mesa, Ariz./Mesa College) could be along on an official visit.