NCF On The Trail: Chandler Leniu

Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

January, 29, 2014
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In the final updated ESPN recruiting class rankings before national signing day, six Pac-12 schools remain among the top 40 classes in the country, and all are within striking distance of claiming the top spot in the conference. Arizona State remains No. 1 in the conference and No. 17 in the nation, and Stanford made a big jump for the second straight week, moving to No. 2 in the Pac-12 and No. 19 overall. Arizona slid one spot with Stanford's move, checking in at No. 21, and USC and Oregon remain tightly bunched at Nos. 24 and 25, respectively. UCLA rounds out the group from the Pac-12 at No. 28.


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Key recruiting visits -- Pac-12 

January, 24, 2014
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Just two weekends of official visits remain before signing day, so it's no surprise that just about every Pac-12 program will have visitors on campus this weekend. It's a huge opportunity for USC, which will have arguably it's most important host weekend of the recruiting calendar. Other programs will have a few recruits on hand in hopes of making a big splash the following weekend. While every visit is big at this stage of the game, here are a look at 10 of the most important for the Jan. 24 weekend:

1. ATH John "JuJu" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly)
Visiting: USC


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The dead period runs through Jan. 15, and some recruits have said they will use that to take a break from recruiting, but that doesn't mean it will shut down for everyone. Coaches are still able to contact recruits during the dead period -- just no in-person contact -- and a number of recruits will be making commitments during this time. Over the next few weeks and through the holidays, Pac-12 recruiting fans will have a number of things to keep an eye on, including these five topics.

Who sets January visits?

With the dead period wiping out an entire weekend normally dedicated to official visits, recruits will have just three January weekends available to take visits -- the 17th, 24th and 31st -- if they'd like to commit and sign on signing day. Every Pac-12 program is looking to load up on official visits during those weekends. Stanford and USC look as though they will be very busy on Jan. 17, and Oregon is always able to grab a few late official visitors -- ESPN JC 50 WR Eric Lauderdale (Fayetteville, Ga./Saddleback College) is scheduled for Jan. 31. There are plenty of Pac-12 targets saying they will likely set up January officials to various schools.


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Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

December, 18, 2013
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There's a new No. 1 team in the Pac-12, according to the updated team rankings released on Wednesday.

Arizona State made the biggest jump of any team in the rankings, leaping from No. 22 to No. 17 overall, and in the process, bypassing Arizona, which moved from No. 18 to No. 19.

Six Pac-12 teams are now in the rankings, with the addition of USC at No. 39. Stanford fell back one spot to No. 26, due to Penn State's rise, while Oregon remains at No. 29, and UCLA rounds out the rankings at No. 40.

Trending up: Red and gold in the Pac-12 South.

Sure, it's not really red for either program, but whether it's the maroon of Arizona State or the cardinal of USC, those two programs shined on the recruiting trail this past week. Few teams anywhere are as hot as Arizona State, which added six commitments --including two four-stars -- in past week. The haul featured three defensive linemen, two running backs and an offensive tackle. But if any Pac-12 program can challenge the Sun Devils over that same period, it's USC, which added three four-star commitments and a three-star cornerback since last Wednesday. The Trojans are the newest Pac-12 program to appear in the updated class rankings, as USC checks in at No. 39.

Even though those two programs have been hot over the past week, it seems slightly unfair to leave this category without mentioning the fact that a case could be made for virtually every Pac-12 program. Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah, Washington and Washington State all received verbal commitments from important recruits over the past week, in what was an incredibly successful seven days for Pac-12 coaches on the recruiting trail and hosting official visitors.


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Arizona State and Oregon added to top-40 classes earlier this week, as the Sun Devils grabbed another ESPN 300 prospect and the Ducks flexed their muscles in Texas. USC softened its policy against in-season visitors, while UCLA will look to take advantage of hosting a committed visitor of its own this weekend.

Arizona State adds another

It didn't come as much of a surprise when ESPN 300 outside linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) verbally committed to Arizona State this past Sunday, but that didn't make the commitment any less important for the Sun Devils. Head coach Todd Graham's program is picking up steam on the recruiting trail as it puts together wins on the field. Calhoun joins teammate Jalen Harvey and four-star tackle Sam Jones (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge) as recent commitments for Arizona State, while quarterback Manny Wilkins (Novato, Calif./San Marin) continues to do an excellent job in selling the program to recruits. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Sun Devils eventually reel in California prospects Michael Lazarus (Berkeley, Calif./Berkeley), Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch) and Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdae), as the buzz -- especially in California -- continues to grow. Arizona State now has the nation's No. 25 recruiting class -- up three spots due to the updated ESPN 300 -- and sits just behind No. 24 Stanford and No. 20 Arizona as the third-best class in the Pac-12.

Hollins hollers for Oregon


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Weekly Commitment Roundup

September, 27, 2013
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AAC
Louisville
Ross Trail | QB-PP | Olive Branch, Miss./Olive Branch
HT: 6-2 WT: 200
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3
Class of 2015

ACC
Duke
Shaun Wilson | RB | Charlotte, N.C./West Mecklenburg
HT: 5-9 WT: 170
Positional Rank: #45 RB
Stars: 4

Florida State
Ryan Izzo | TE-Y | Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII
HT: 6-6 WT: 215
Positional Rank: #18 TE-Y
Stars: 3

Georgia Tech
Gary Brown | OG | Tampa, Fla./Alonso
HT: 6-1 WT: 284
Positional Rank: #71 OG
Stars: 3

Big 12
Iowa State
Colin Downing | K | Whitefish Bay, Wis./Whitefish Bay
HT: 6-0 WT: 170
Positional Rank: #18 K
Stars: 3

Texas Tech
Keland McElrath | DT | Clarksdale, Miss./Coahoma CC
HT: 6-5 WT: 290
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Big Ten
Iowa
Marcel Joly | ATH | Forestville, Md./Forestville
HT: 5-11 WT: 175
Positional Rank: #145 ATH
Stars: 3

Michigan State
Jake Hartbarger | K | Whitehouse, Ohio/Anthony Wayne
HT: 6-3 WT: 171
Positional Rank: #4
Stars: 3

Wisconsin
Lubern Figaro | S | Everett, Mass./Everett
HT: 6-1 WT: 180
Positional Rank: #98 S
Stars: 3

Pac-12
Arizona State
Brendan Landman | TE-Y | Danville, Calif./Monte Vista
HT: 6-5 WT: 220
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Washington State
Sean Krepsz | OT | Riverside, Calif./M.L. King
HT: 6-4 WT: 293
Positional Rank: #84 OT
Stars: 3

Chandler Leniu | OLB | Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco
HT: 6-0 WT: 216
Positional Rank: #113 OLB
Stars: 3

SEC
Georgia
Keyon Brown | DE | Wauchula, Fla./Hardee County
HT: 6-3 WT: 235
Positional Rank: #19 DE
Stars: 4
ESPN 300 (#210)

LSU
Blake Ferguson | LS | Buford, Ga./Buford
HT: 6-2 WT: 240
Class of 2015

Dylan Moses | ILB | Baton Rouge, La./University Lab
HT: 6-1 WT: 213
Class of 2017

Missouri
Ishmael Witter | RB | Tampa, Fla./Alonso
HT: 5-8 WT: 184
Positional Rank: #107 RB
Stars: 3

Tennessee
Preston Williams | WR | Lovejoy, Ga./Lovejoy
HT: 6-4 WT: 185
Positional Rank: N/A
Stars: 3
Class of 2015

Mountain West
Hawaii
D.J. Riggins | RB | Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian
HT: 5-11 WT: 170
Positional Rank: #148 RB
Stars: 3

San Jose State
Trevon Benton | OLB | Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood
HT: 6-0 WT: 180

Sun Belt
Texas State
Chris Bradley | DE | Shreveport, La./Evangel Christian
HT: 6-2 WT: 255

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

September, 23, 2013
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On the field, it was another perfect weekend for the Pac-12 in nonconference play and Stanford made a statement with a big win over Arizona State. Five conference programs had home games, but it was Washington State who made the most noise on the recruiting trail, hosting several official visitors and making a big impression with a blowout win.


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Three Pac-12 programs added commitments in the past week, while several more appear poised to close this class in a big way. A number of Pac-12 programs are off this weekend, but one program in particular looks to be in line for a busy recruiting weekend.
Cardinal closing strong

There was only one team that made any kind of movement in Wednesday's updated team recruiting rankings, and it was a big jump for the Stanford Cardinal. On the strength of a commitment from ESPN 300 defensive tackle Nifae Lealao (Sacramento, Calif./Capital Christian), Stanford moved up four places, from No. 28 to No. 24 overall. It seems to be only a matter of time before Stanford is sitting atop the Pac-12 conference, as ESPN 300 prospects Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) and Dalton Schultz (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham) appear to be strong leans to the Cardinal. Several other four-star prospects across the country are giving the program a long look.

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The Trinity League has been home to some of the California's top teams of the past several decades. Santa Ana Mater Dei, Anaheim Servite, Rancho Santa Margarita Santa Margarita and Orange Lutheran have all taken their turns as state and regional powers, but in just three years at the helm of his alma mater, head coach Jason Negro has Bellflower St. John Bosco in the national spotlight.

After building up the program in 2010 and 2011, defeating Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran in 2011, St. John Bosco rolled through the Trinity League's fearsome foursome in 2012, with no win coming by fewer than 12 points. In 2013, the Braves are expected to compete for a state championship.


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Previewing the Oakland NFTC 

May, 16, 2013
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A number of USC recruiting targets are expected to put their skills on display this weekend when the Nike Football Training Camp tour hits the Bay Area.


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The first annual B2G 7v7 Elite 16 Tournament is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday and will feature 16 of the top passing league teams from Southern California. There will be some familiar faces out at Fullerton (Calif.) College this weekend, as well as others looking to play their way onto the scene. Big performances will determine who comes out victorious, but heading into the weekend, here are five storylines we'll be on the lookout for.

B2G’s to lose?

It’s B2G’s tournament, and with four teams in the field of 16, the program should be favored to capture its first 7-on-7 title of the spring. Wide receiver Daniel Kahn (Sherman Oaks, Calif./Notre Dame) put on a show at last weekend’s Passing Down tournament, and fellow wideout Trenton Irwin (Newhall, Calif./Hart) should be back on the field after missing the last event. Quarterback Brady White (Newhall, Calif./Hart) has been upping his performances each time out, so we’ll see if the Five Star team can click on all cylinders this weekend.


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The first Nike Football Training Camp of 2013 will take place this Sunday at Redondo Beach (Calif.) Redondo Union. The elite players in the West region will take part in what is unquestionably the biggest and most prestigious camp of the offseason. Heading into Sunday’s event, there are several storylines that will be worth watching as top recruits will be put to the test in individual, one-on-one and team situations.

Who gets the first invitations to The Opening?
The first Nike camp of the spring means the first invitations to The Opening will be handed out. Last year, five recruits earned invitations immediately following the Los Angeles Nike camp. This year, is there a chance that with the talent scheduled to be on hand, the number could double? Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra) won the linebacker MVP award at this camp last year and has his sights set on the ultimate prize.

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Linebackers are often overlooked in 7-on-7 play, as so much attention is placed on the matchups between offensive skill players and defensive backs. But at the NLA 7-on-7 West regional in Las Vegas on the weekend, middle linebacker Chandler Leniu (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) led AIGA to the tournament title as the anchor of one of the top defenses in attendance.


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