NCF On The Trail: Colorado Buffaloes

Even though recruiters aren't in attendance at events like this past weekend's The Opening regional in Los Angeles, they're easily able to find out who performed well. Melquise Stovall was one of the players that stood out in everything he did and his stock is now red hot with colleges.

video
The past few seasons have shown that two-way football is back in the Pac-12, and if the recruiting trail is any indication, it’s here to stay for the foreseeable future.

Coaches such as USC’s Steve Sarkisian, UCLA’s Jim Mora and Washington’s Chris Petersen have mentioned how difficult it can be to put players on the field going both ways -- from managing the physical load during games and at practice, to the mental load of what meetings to attend and how much of the playbook needs mastering. But they might need to find a way to make it easier going forward, because the two-way football recruiting pitch has become one of the loudest and most noteworthy for 2016 recruits, with many of them believing that’s what could await them at the next level.

Though Myles Jack at UCLA, Adoree' Jackson at USC, and Shaq Thompson at Washington received the most attention for their two-way exploits, Arizona State has done it, too, and all four programs are being mentioned by prospects as selling the possibility of playing both ways in college. Colorado could soon join the mix with George Frazier going both ways. At this point, the pitch is working.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

video
REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- JuJu, Biggie and now Jack Jack.

Over the past 20 years, Long Beach (California) Poly has a tradition of producing some of the best skill position players in Southern California. But recently that run has included talent recruited on such a national scale that fans and college coaches simply know the players by their nicknames.

In the 2014 class, John "JuJu" Smith was the nation's No. 24 player and a household name out of Poly. He had his pick of schools but eventually signed with USC and had 754 yards receiving as a true freshman for the Trojans. Then in Poly's 2015 class, Iman Marshall, better known as "Biggie," was the fourth-best player in the country before he inked with USC, too. Next in line at Poly is 2016 two-way star Jackie Jones, who goes by the nickname "Jack Jack."

Jack Jack proved at Sunday's The Opening regional at Redondo Union High School that he, too, is ready for the national stage. After a strong performance in the testing phase of the camp and an even better showing during drills and one-on-ones, Jones was one of six players that earned an invitation to The Opening finals on Nike's campus in Beaverton, Oregon.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Signing day has come and gone and with it an entirely new batch of Pac-12 players is joining the conference (269 players, to be exact).

With the Pac-12 gaining more national recognition, it’s no surprise to see the recruiting trends heading further outside of what was typically considered “Pac-12 territory.”

For example, the most heavily recruited area was -- unsurprisingly -- the West Coast and states that are the home to one or more Pac-12 programs. But right after that, the next-biggest target was the South and Southeast: SEC territory. The Pac-12 signed the same number of recruits from Texas as it did Arizona. Louisiana was a big state for the conference as well -- Pac-12 schools signed 13 players from the Bayou State.

Here’s a closer look at where exactly the conference picked up its Class of 2015 talent:
Observations:
  • One obvious note is the number of players from California -- players from the Golden State account for 48 percent of Pac-12 signees in 2015. That’s not too surprising, considering how large and talent-rich the state is. Of the top 25 players in California, 21 signed with Pac-12 schools. The other four signed with Alabama, Tennessee, Notre Dame and San Jose State.
  • Each Pac-12 program signed at least one player from California in the 2015 class (that’s the only state with which that’s true this season). On average, there are 11 signees from California in each recruiting class this season. Though it’s USC who leads the way with 17 signees from California, Washington State was right on the Trojans’ heels with 16 signees from Cali.
  • The state of Washington showed out pretty well in the conference. While there was only one player from Washington in the ESPN 300, there were 16 signees from the state who landed with Pac-12 programs.
  • The only program to not sign a player from the program’s home state was Oregon. However, there were five players from Oregon that did sign with Pac-12 programs. Those players ended up at Arizona (1), Oregon State (2), Stanford (1) and Washington (1).
  • Players staying home: Arizona and Arizona State signed seven players from Arizona; California, Stanford, UCLA and USC signed 48 players from California; Colorado signed four players from Colorado; Oregon State signed two players from Oregon; Utah signed three players from Utah; and Washington and Wazzu signed a total of nine players from Washington.
  • The most national class (meaning the team that signed the players from the most number of states) was Stanford, which signed players from 13 states. The least national class was USC, which signed players from just six states.

But what about the concentration of top talent in the 2015 class?

Again, unsurprisingly, California leads the way. The Golden State makes up half of the four-star and five-star players in the 2015 Pac-12 class. USC snagged five-star cornerback Iman Marshall, who hails from Long Beach, California, and 33 of the 66 four-stars in the 2015 class are also from California.

But this is where there’s a bit of a changeup. Of the 14 players from Texas that signed in the 2015 class, five (36 percent) are four-star players who landed at Pac-12 programs. After that -- with the exception of three four-star players from Georgia -- the majority of the top talent, again, hails from the traditional Pac-12 region.

[+] EnlargeChris Clark
Joe Faraoni/ESPN ImagesIt's not often that the Pac-12 pulls top prospects from Connecticut, such as UCLA-bound tight end Chris Clark.
Five-stars:

  • Hawaii: 1
  • California: 1
Four-stars:
  • California: 33
  • Texas: 5
  • Washington: 4
  • Arizona: 3
  • Georgia: 3
  • Utah: 3
  • Two four-star signees: Louisiana, North Carolina, Nevada, Oklahoma
  • One four-star signee: South Carolina, Colorado, Missouri, Tennessee, Florida, Connecticut, Hawaii

More notes:
  • Notably, the conference signed a four-star and five-star player from Hawaii. There were only four players in the state that were four- or five-star players. The two players who didn’t sign with a Pac-12 team went to Texas Tech and BYU. Both had Pac-12 offers.
  • The conference also cleaned up -- in regard to snagging the limited top talent out of state -- in Nevada. There were only three four-star players in Nevada and two ended up in the Pac-12 (UCLA and USC). The other player signed with Notre Dame.
  • More impressively, the conference was able to sign one of two four-star players out of Connecticut (TE Chris Clark, UCLA). When considering the distance between Nevada and the Pac-12 and Connecticut and the Pac-12, this is quite a recruiting feat.

As these players get more into the programs and possibly become big Pac-12 contributors, it will only open up these national pipelines more, making the conference’s footprint even bigger.

Completed class: Colorado Buffaloes

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
7:20
PM ET
Colorado has announced its 2015 class:

Four-stars
Tim Lynott OG -- Regis Jesuit High School, Colorado
Patrick Carr RB -- The Woodlands High School, Texas
Donald Gordon RB -- Millikan High School, California

Three-stars
Steven Montez QB-DT -- Del Valle High School, Texas
Justin Jan WR -- Chandler High School, Arizona
Nick Fisher CB -- Great Oak High School, California
Jordan Carrell DT -- American River, College, California
Dillon Middlemiss OG -- Pomona High School, Colorado
Alex Kinney K -- Rocky Mountain High School, Colorado
Isaiah Oliver WR -- Brophy Prep, Arizona
Afolabi Laguda S -- Butler, Community, College GA
Frank Umu DT -- Heritage High School, Colorado
Blake Robbins DE -- Georgia Military, College SC
N.J. Falo OLB -- Inderkum High School, California
Aaron Haigler OT -- Notre Dame High School, California

Two-stars
Chris Bounds TE-Y -- Chaminade, College Prep, California
Brett Tonz DT -- Centennial High School, Arizona

Ungraded
Lyle Tuiloma DT -- Nanakuli High School, Hawaii
Aaron Baltazar RB -- Southwestern, College, California

Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

January, 30, 2015
Jan 30
9:00
AM ET

It's the final weekend for official visits before signing day on Wednesday, Feb. 4, and Pac-12 programs are looking to make that final in-person push as they close in on finishing out their classes. We take a look at the top three visit weekends in the conference.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Pac-12 recruiting class breakdowns

January, 26, 2015
Jan 26
4:30
PM ET

Here's a look at how programs in the Pac-12 are faring on the recruiting trail heading into national signing day on Feb. 4.

Arizona

Commitments: 28

ESPN 300 commitments: 1

Who they have: The Wildcats hit it big with their top two commitments in ESPN 300 offensive tackle Keenan Walker and ESPN JC 50 defensive tackle Anthony Fotu. Arizona also will add four-star tackle Cody Creason, three-star tackle Harper Sherman and three-star guards Alex Kosinski and Nathan Eldrige to the offensive line. There are a number of skill players on both sides of the ball, including running backs Orlando Bradford and Darick Holmes Jr., cornerbacks Shun Brown, Anthony Mariscal, Samuel Morrison and Dane Cruikshank, wide receiver Cedric Peterson and athletes Antonio Parks and Brion Anduze.

Who they want: There aren't many spots left in this class for the Wildcats, but there are a few important names left on the board. The wide receiver spot could see another addition with Jaylinn Hawkins, though rival Arizona State will put up a fight there. Arizona also will look to continue its run of success in Louisiana, as teammates Arthur McGinnis and Darrell Clark (New Orleans/Warren Easton) are two of the top prospects left for the Wildcats, as well as teammates of Arizona commit Kendal Franklin.



To read the rest of our Pac-12 recruiting class breakdowns, click here Insider.

Top recruiting targets in the Pac-12 

January, 16, 2015
Jan 16
10:30
AM ET
With a little more than two weeks before signing day, a number of uncommitted prospects remain who could greatly alter both the college football landscape as well as the way recruiting classes are perceived on Feb. 4. Remaining “must get” recruits don’t check all the same boxes for every program, as some schools already have commitments from their must gets (for example, Arizona with Keenan Walker, or UCLA with Josh Rosen) and some of these prospects won’t exactly break a class if they don’t wind up there. But whether it’s keeping a local prospect at home, landing a five-star standout or filling a position of need, these are the uncommitted must-get recruits for every Pac-12 program between now and signing day.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Semper Fi All-American notebook: Day 1 

December, 31, 2014
12/31/14
9:07
PM ET
SANTA ANA, Calif. -- Practices for the 2015 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl began Wednesday morning, as an extended walk-through period eventually gave way to one-on-one, seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 work. After Day 1, here's a look through some of the news and notes from the West squad.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Another wild week in Pac-12 

December, 19, 2014
12/19/14
3:00
PM ET
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.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Top sleeper recruits: Pac-12 

December, 18, 2014
12/18/14
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

Best of the visits: Pac-12

December, 14, 2014
12/14/14
1:00
PM ET
The final weekend before the month-long dead period saw a number of official visitors on Pac-12 campuses. Here is a look at those trips through the eyes of the recruits on social media.

Hollywood in Westwood

UCLA hosted ESPN 300 prospect Malik Jefferson and four-star athlete DeAndre McNeal from Texas, and the Lone Star State prospects were introduced to life in Los Angeles via an encounter with actress Kerry Washington. While McNeal tweeted about the meeting, Jefferson, the nation's No. 35 recruit, snapped a picture of his mother meeting the actress.
The visitors to UCLA were also treated to a basketball game at Pauley Pavilion, from where McNeal delivered this tweet. The Bruins have made their presence felt in Texas the past few years and grabbing commitments from these two would send a significant message about head coach Jim Mora's recruiting momentum.

UCLA also hosted wide receiver commit L.J. Reed on his official visit. Cal's big weekend

From the looks of the photo tweeted by Cal quarterback Ross Bowers, the Golden Bears hosted at least nine official visitors this weekend. The Golden Bears have 15 commitments with room for several more. Bowers was joined on the trip by juco defensive end and Washington State commit DeVante Wilson, Duke commit and dual-threat quarterback DePriest Turner and tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe, among others. Utes host local linebacker

It's a big year for talent in Utah and the Utes look like they'll miss out on the three big ESPN 300 prospect in state -- Andre James, Osa Masina and Porter Gustin. After losing a commitment from four-star offensive tackle Branden Bowen, it'll be important for Utah to land several in-state prospects, as they have just one commitment from any of the top-10 prospects in Utah.

This past weekend, the Utes hosted linebacker Christian Folau -- a former Stanford commit -- and are among the top three programs for him. Trojans chasing Ross

USC gained a significant commitment from ESPN 300 tight end Tyler Petite on Friday, then hosted a trio of recruits over the weekend, including ESPN 300 athlete Ykili Ross. Capable of playing cornerback or safety, Ross looks to be a primary target for USC head coach Steve Sarkisian down the stretch. The Trojans also brought in athletic director Pat Haden during the trip. Buffs bring in commits

After an impressive showing last weekend that eventually netted two commitments, Colorado posted another big weekend, with a number of verbal commitments making the trip. ESPN 300 lineman Timmy Lynott is the most important commitment in Colorado's class, and was on hand. The Buffs also received an official visit from four-star running back Donald Gordon, who appeared to very much enjoy the trip.

Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

December, 12, 2014
12/12/14
9:00
AM ET
It's the last opportunity for college coaches to host official visitors before the month-long dead period begins Monday, and Pac-12 campuses will be full of top prospects this weekend. Virtually every Pac-12 program is hosting an important weekend, with ESPN 300 prospects scheduled to visit at least four schools in the conference.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Best of the visits: Pac-12

December, 7, 2014
12/07/14
1:25
PM ET
While Arizona and Oregon spent last week focused on battling for the Pac-12 title, several other conference teams were preparing to host significant recruiting weekends. Colorado, USC, Washington and Washington State all had a number of official visitors on hand, as the recruiting season ramped up another notch following the conclusion of the regular season. Here is a look at those visit weekends through the eyes of recruits on social media.

Buffs' weekend stampede

Colorado coaches made a dedicated push to bring in a number of uncommitted visitors -- along with a couple committed prospects -- in what turned out to be their biggest recruiting weekend of the year thus far. Buff commits Lausii Sewell and T.J. Fehoko were in attendance and looked to help the coaches make headway with ESPN 300 defensive end Mika Tafua, along with junior college prospect Afolabi Laguda and linebacker Gabe Sewell.

It's never easy to make a recruiting trip all the way out from Hawaii, and Tafua -- along with Utah commit Tuli Wily-Matagi -- definitely took a red-eye out to visit Colorado.
For several other commitments, donning the jerseys and checking out the locker room proved to be a high point. Cougars stock up on juco defenders

Washington State landed commitments from four junior college teammates this weekend. It started with cornerback Treshon Broughton, who flipped his commitment from Oregon State. The Cougars then hosted DeVante Wilson, Jonah Moi and Jeremiah Mitchell on official visits and landed commitments from all three. The Cougars also had defensive end Mufi Hunt on campus for an official visit. Hunt has offers or interest from a number of Pac-12 programs, but his connection to several members of the Washington State staff is strong. Huskies host prospects

Across the state, Washington played host to several official visitors as well. Two-way standout Octavius Spencer has seen his recruitment take off following his senior season, as Cal, Oregon, UCLA and Washington have now all offered. This past weekend, Spencer took his official visit to see the Huskies. Also at Washington this past weekend was a very interesting visitor, in ESPN 300 running back Austin Joyner. The standout running back and cornerback initially committed to the previous staff of the Huskies, but eventually pulled back when Steve Sarkisian and company left for USC. Joyner then made a commitment to Washington State, but took that back when two Cougars defensive coaches were let go. The visit to Washington this past weekend will be followed by a trip to Boise State this coming weekend. While the Cougars are still in the mix for Joyner, this recruitment could get interesting, with several programs looking to land an ESPN 300 prospect who could play on either side of the ball. Big weekend for Trojans

USC didn't receive official visits from ESPN 300 prospects Christian Kirk or Porter Gustin, which had been planned, but the Trojans did get six official visitors on campus this past weekend -- four of them from uncommitted prospects.

The farthest traveler was ESPN 300 athlete Terry Godwin, the nation's No. 38 prospect, who shared this photo from inside the Coliseum. Also on hand was the nation's No. 24 juco prospect, wide receiver Isaac Whitney, who has USC among his final choices and will announce his decision on Dec. 18.

Pac-12's top recruiting visits 

December, 5, 2014
12/05/14
9:00
AM ET
video
The regular season might be over, but that just means the recruiting season will be heating up, and the Pac-12 will host at least two significant weekends. Also, the nation’s No. 5 overall prospect is scheduled to be on a Pac-12 campus this weekend

Colorado


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES