Another wild week in Pac-12 

December, 19, 2014
Dec 19
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The Pac-12 and the West region are capable of producing some wild weeks during the lead-up to signing day, with so many prospects in the area waiting until that day to make their commitment and rivals going after so many of the same prospects.

Top sleeper commits: SEC 

December, 19, 2014
Dec 19
1:30
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Five-star and ESPN 300 prospects create the most buzz, but with more than a hundred FBS programs competing for talent it takes more than just those top-rated prospects to have success. Rosters are built largely with prospects which enter college with little fanfare, but their development and contributions are key. Every year we see prospects that flew under the radar but developed into some of their conference's top players.

Throughout our evaluations we've come across many players who show promise and are great additions based on their upside for development and/or scheme fit.

Here are five commitments in the SEC that we feel are unheralded, but great additions worth keeping an eye on.


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In the 100 days leading up to signing day, RecruitingNation is looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and counting down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Amari Cooper, No. 49 in 2012 class

Cooper came out of Miami Northwestern as a relatively unheralded prospect until his senior season after being limited because of a junior-season injury. He committed to Alabama in September 2011 over Miami and Florida State in a decision that would prove to be a huge loss for the hometown Hurricanes. Cooper was part of the Crimson Tide’s No. 1-ranked class that included Landon Collins, T.J. Yeldon, Cyrus Jones, Denzel Devall, Reggie Ragland and many others.

Cooper burst onto the college football scene as a freshman in 2012, catching 59 passes for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns, including six catches for 105 yards and two scores in the Crimson Tide’s BCS National Championship game blowout victory over Notre Dame. Cooper was selected to several Freshman All-American teams and the SEC All-Freshman team by the league's coaches.

As a sophomore, Cooper’s numbers took a dip because of nagging injuries and constant bracketed coverage. He managed to finish the season with 45 receptions for 736 yards in 12 games.

Cooper has been arguably the best player in college football in 2014. Headed into the inaugural College Football Playoff, Cooper has 115 receptions for 1,656 yards and 14 touchdown under first-year Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin. He won the Biletnikoff Award, was a Heisman Trophy finalist and a unanimous All-American. With a year of eligibility remaining, he's already the school's all-time leader in receiving touchdowns and holds several other school records.

Cooper is expected to forgo his final season of eligibility and would almost certainly be a top-10 selection in the NFL draft this spring.

Honorable mention: Gerod Holliman, No. 49 in 2011 class; and Aaron Hernandez, No. 49 in 2007 class. Holliman picked Louisville over Ole Miss coming out of Miami Southridge, but was forced to go to prep school before enrolling at Louisville. He won the Jim Thorpe Award and was a unanimous All-American this season after picking off an NCAA FBS-record tying 14 passes.
Oklahoma has secured a commitment from ESPN 300 defensive end/outside linebacker Ricky DeBerry. What does mean to Bob Stoops' 2015 class?


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Under Armour All-American quarterback Jarrett Stidham, a one-time Texas Tech verbal, is now on board with Baylor. Below, see how Stidham can help Art Briles continue to terrorize Big 12 defenses:


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Under Armour All-American Malik Jefferson is now the top-rated prospect in Charlie Strong's 2015 class. Below, find out what Jefferson brings to the improving Texas Longhorns defense:


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If Jim Harbaugh takes the Michigan job, it could shake up the recruiting race in the Big Ten. Plus, Paul Chryst’s hiring at Wisconsin makes a lot of sense.


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Michigan reportedly offered its head coach position to San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh on Wednesday. That move perked up the ears of Michigan commitments and potential targets with the possibility of a big-name coach coming to Ann Arbor.

Coming off a losing season With six current commitments, Michigan is in an interesting situation, wanting to make a big splash with this hire. When former coach Brady Hoke was hired from San Diego State, some of the top national recruits had concerns about the coach because they didn’t know much about him and didn’t know if he could win at the highest level.

Both of those concerns would not be an issue with Harbaugh, as he is prominently known across the country and has proven to be a winner on all levels.

When 50 ESPN 300 Michigan commitments and targets were polled by ESPN.com earlier this month, 22 said they would like to see Michigan hire Harbaugh. If the Wolverines are able to reel in the coach, it could yield immediate results.

ESPN 300 tight end Chris Clark had been committed to Michigan since June 19, but decommitted on Dec. 2 to explore new options. Clark tweeted that he hopes Michigan does hire Harbaugh and said it would definitely help Michigan to get him back in the fold.


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Top sleeper recruits: Pac-12 

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
1:30
PM ET
Five-star and ESPN 300 prospects create the most buzz, but with more than a hundred FBS programs competing for talent, it takes more than just those top-rated prospects to have success. Rosters are built largely with prospects who enter college with little fanfare, but their development and contributions are key. Every year we see prospects who flew under the radar but developed into some of their conference's top players.

Throughout our evaluations, we come across many players who show promise and are great additions based on their upside for development and/or scheme fit.

Here are five commitments in the Pac-12 that we believe are unheralded, but great additions worth keeping an eye on.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Midyear additions:  Minnesota

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
1:24
PM ET
Minnesota has signed one junior college player to a national letter of intent and three high school recruits to financial aid agreements, according to the program's official site GopherSports.com. The additions include:

Jacob Huff, S
HT: 5-10 WT: 205
Positional Rank: #59 S
Stars: 3

Julian Huff, ILB
HT: 5-11 WT: 220
Positional Rank: #36 ILB
Stars: 3

Tyler Moore, OG
HT: 6-5 WT: 336
Positional Rank: #56 OG
Stars: 3

Charlie Rogers, S
HT: 6-1 WT: 205
Positional Rank: #7 S (JC)
Stars: 3
In the 100 days leading up to signing day 2015, RecruitingNation will be looking back at our ESPN recruiting rankings from 2006 to the present and counting down the best player of the past 10 years at each ranking position, No. 100 to No. 1.

Leonard Williams, No. 50 in 2012 class

Williams was not a nationally talked about prospect through his junior season, but that all changed in the late spring of 2011 through his senior season. The Under Armour All-America Game alumni ended up signing with the USC, with the Trojans pulling the major upset over Florida, Florida State and Auburn for the Dayton Beach (Fla.) Mainland product. Williams was part of a Top 10 USC class that included Nelson Agholor, and offensive linemen Zach Banner, Max Tuerk, and Jordan Simmons.

Williams burst onto the scene as a freshman in Los Angeles. He not only appeared in all 13 games, but also started nine at defensive tackle. He had 64 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and eight sacks. Following the season, he was named to various All-Pac 12 and Freshman All-American teams.

Williams moved to defensive end as a sophomore, and his dominance remained the same. In 13 starts, the 2013 All-Pac-12 first team selection recorded 74 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks.

In 2014, Williams' junior and likely final season at USC, he started 12 games making 71 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and six sacks, again earning All-Pac-12 postseason honors. He was named AP All-American second team this week.

Should Williams forgo his final season of eligibility as expected, he is a near lock to be selected in the Top 10 picks of the 2015 NFL draft.

Honorable mention: LeSean McCoy, No. 50 in 2006 class. McCoy was originally headed to Miami (FL) out of high school, but the firing of Larry Coker led the explosive back to Pittsburgh to play for then head coach Dave Wannstedt after a year at prep school. He played only two years for the Panthers before heading to the NFL due to being three years removed from high school. After 3,365 all-purpose yards and 36 touchdowns in two seasons at Pittsburgh, McCoy was selected in the second round (No. 53 overall) by the Philadelphia Eagles. He has been selected to Pro Bowl’s following the 2011 and 2013 seasons. Two prospects ranked No. 50 that played at Florida -- Xavier Nixon (2009 class) and Jaylen Watkins (2010 class) -- currently play in the NFL. Ohio State sophomore safety Vonn Bell, No. 50 in 2013, is expected to be a high NFL draft choice in the next couple of years.

Midyear additions: Washington State

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
12:15
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Washington State has signed the following players to national letters of intent, according to the school's official site, WSUCougars.com:

Shalom Luani, S
HT: 6-1 WT: 200
Positional Rank: No. 3 S (JC)
Stars: 3

Jeremiah Mitchell, DE
HT: 6-4 WT: 260
Positional Rank: No. 12 DE (JC)
Stars: 3

Midyear additions:  California

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
12:11
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Cal has signed two junior college players to national letters of intent and one high school recruit to a financial aid agreement. The following players are expected to enroll in January:

Ross Bowers, QB-PP
HT: 6-1 WT: 175
Positional Rank: No. 13 QB-PP
Stars: 4

Derron Williams-Brown, S
HT: 6-1 WT: 190
Positional Rank: No. 11 S (JC)
Stars: 3

DeVante Wilson, DE
HT: 6-5 WT: 260
Positional Rank: No. 9 DE (JC)
Stars: 3

Midyear additions:  Louisville

December, 18, 2014
Dec 18
9:51
AM ET
Louisville has signed seven players for the spring semester, according to ESPN's Gerry Hamilton:

Jaire Alexander, CB
HT: 5-11 WT: 165
Positional Rank: #67 CB
Stars: 3

Drew Bailey, DE
HT: 6-4 WT: 280
Positional Rank: N/A (JC)
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Tim Cook, ATH
HT: 6-1 WT: 235
Positional Rank: #4 ATH (JC)
Stars: 3

Paul Harris, WR
HT: 6-3 WT: 205
Positional Rank: #N/A (JC)
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Khalil Hunter, OT
HT: 6-4 WT: 295
Positional Rank: #14 OT (JC)
Stars: 3

Traveon Samuel, ATH
HT: 5-7 WT: 175
Positional Rank: #17 ATH
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#187)

Jeremy Smith, RB
HT: 6-1 WT: 225
Positional Rank: #6 RB (JC)
Stars: 3
Midterm junior college signing day winners are headlined by Ole Miss and Oklahoma, but they weren’t the only programs that improved Wednesday.

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