NCF On The Trail: Chris Clark

Big Ten 2015 recruiting in review 

February, 11, 2015
Feb 11
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The 2015 recruiting class is in the rear-view mirror, but there are still some important topics to discuss with the class. Here is a look at how the conference panned out and what could lie ahead for some of the prospects.

Chris Clark, Cordell Broadus, Soso JamaboESPN Images, USA TODAY Sports, Icon SportswireChris Clark, Cordell Broadus, Soso Jamabo have elevated UCLA's 2015 class ranking to No. 11.
If you're looking for what a difference a year can make in recruiting, look no further than the UCLA Bruins. On signing day 2014, head coach Jim Mora went full on "Casey at the Bat," taking a vicious swing at a number of high-profile recruits on signing day and coming up empty.

The recruiting class overall was very good, and UCLA did add linebacker Kenny Young on signing day, but Solomon Thomas, Malachi Dupre, Mattrell McGraw, Rashaan Evans and Adoree' Jackson were all ESPN 300 prospects who selected other programs over UCLA in announcements televised on ESPNU. Those announcements came one day after the Bruins lost out on ESPN 300 recruit Budda Baker, and UCLA also missed out on flipping ESPN 300 defensive end Davon Godchaux from LSU, and three-star athlete Kalen Ballage from Arizona State on signing day.

One year later, there was plenty of rejoicing in Mudville -- or Westwood, as it were -- as UCLA went into signing day with the potential for the same elation or disappointment, depending on how televised commitments played out.


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Michigan’s late start on the recruiting trail left the Wolverines in more down-to-the-wire recruiting battles than any team in the Big Ten this February.

Five of the 14 prospects in the class waited until this week to announce that they would be headed to Ann Arbor. Nine players who made their announcements Wednesday had Michigan among their final choices. Four of them selected the Wolverines, four went another direction and Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith remains undecided after initially declaring he would play for UCLA. Here’s a breakdown of where Harbaugh & Co. hit or missed during a drama-filled signing day.

Hits

Keith Washington, DB -- Prattville High School, Alabama

Washington played quarterback at Prattville, but is expected to play cornerback (where he has some high school experience) when he arrives at Michigan. The 6-foot-1, 161-pound athlete committed to Cal in late January but changed his mind Wednesday. He won Harbaugh’s affection when he offered to prove his 4.3-second 40-yard dash time in the parking lot after the coach questioned its legitimacy on a recent recruiting visit.

“And he was serious, dead serious,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “I liked him even more, and I knew he'd go out; I knew he was a competitor.”

Karan Higdon, RB -- Riverview High School, Florida

Higdon flew relatively under the radar as a potential Michigan prospect until he flipped from Iowa to the Wolverines Wednesday morning. Billed as a tough inside runner, Higdon gives Michigan its only running back in a class that was heavy on the offensive side of the ball. His late change of heart may have cost the Wolverines a chance to land the top player in their home state. More on that later.

Shelton Johnson, DE -- Atlantic Community High School, Florida

[+] EnlargeT.J. Wheatley
Erik McKinney/ESPNMichigan legacy Ty Wheatley Jr. could play defensive end or tight end, but will likely start on offense.
One of the last players to make his decision public Wednesday, Johnson was expected to land at Florida State. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound pass-rusher has some filling out to do, but has the potential to grow into a physical and fast edge player in D.J. Durkin's defense. He’s also one of three Florida natives that give Harbaugh’s staff a strong start in the Sunshine State. With Durkin’s ties there from his time with the Gators there is a good chance that success will continue in the future.

Ty Wheatley Jr., TE -- Canisius High School, New York

When Ty Wheatley Sr., the former Big Ten rushing champion, returned to his alma mater in early January as an assistant coach it seemed inevitable that his son would eventually follow. The younger Wheatley waited until Wednesday to follow in dad’s footsteps. Before his Michigan connection grew stronger, the top player in New York was strongly considering heading to the West Coast or to Alabama for college. He has the potential to play defensive end or tight end at Michigan, but will likely start on offense.

Misses

Mike Weber, RB -- Cass Tech High School, Michigan

The first head-to-head battle between Harbaugh and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer goes to Meyer, although he had a healthy head start in recruiting Weber that made it less than a fair fight. Ranked by ESPN as the top player in Michigan, Weber was originally committed to come to Ann Arbor, but flipped to Ohio State when Brady Hoke was fired in December.

Weber remained torn between the two rivals until Wednesday morning. He told reporters at his announcement that Higdon’s decision to choose the Wolverines made his choice to stay with the Buckeyes much easier. Had Weber stayed home, Michigan would have finished with three of the top four high school seniors in the state, according to ESPN’s rankings.

Chris Clark, TE -- Avon Old Farms, Connecticut

Like Weber, Clark committed to Michigan this summer but backed away when the 2014 season spiraled out of control. He visited Michigan and UCLA on back-to-back days last month and ultimately decided to join the Bruins, who signed several highly touted prospects Wednesday. Harbaugh’s track record of making tight ends a centerpiece of his offense at Stanford was appealing to Clark, but not enough to sway him away from Los Angeles.

Iman Marshall, CB -- Long Beach Poly High School, California

The country’s top cornerback was a prime example of the power many believe Harbaugh’s brand can wield for Michigan on the recruiting trail. Marshall’s interest in coming to Ann Arbor piqued when Harbaugh arrived. Any school other than USC (where Marshall eventually signed) was considered a long shot to land him, but his initial interest should leave Michigan optimistic that Harbaugh’s reputation will allow the Wolverines to get a foot in the door with high-profile recruits who might not have otherwise considered them.

Van Jefferson, WR -- Ravenwood High School, Tennessee

Jefferson pushed back his decision multiple times Wednesday while trying to pick between Ole Miss, Michigan and Georgia. The four-star wideout would have been the fifth ESPN 300 recruit to select Michigan if he flipped. The Wolverines added receiver Grant Perry, a high school teammate of early enrollee quarterback Alex Malzone, earlier this week. Athlete Brian Cole, another early enrollee, will also start his college career at wide receiver. Jefferson would have rounded out a strong receiver class, but opted to stick to his commitment at Ole Miss.
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Stop, for a moment, at the close of another wild and unpredictable signing day, and remember these eight therapeutic words: Not a single football game was played Wednesday.

Now, proceed to lose your mind.

In possibly the final signing day of its kind, college football grabbed the spotlight for its annual, offseason showcase of the bizarre. Winners and losers emerged. Mostly, though, it went off about as scripted -- and by that, we mean totally, beautifully unscripted.

[+] EnlargeSoso Jamabo
Matt Garnett/Icon SportswireSoso Jamabo helped start signing day, and UCLA's run, with his commitment to the Bruins.
Wednesday out West, signs pointed to a raising of the stakes in the Pac-12.

UCLA won the morning with big scores over Michigan for tight end Chris Clark, Texas for athlete Soso Jamabo, Georgia for No. 2 outside linebacker Roquan Smith -- more on Smith later -- and Oklahoma for offensive guard Joshua Wariboko.

The Bruins later snagged receiver Cordell Broadus, son of Snoop Dogg, but by mid-afternoon, the fireworks shifted to the USC Trojans' side of town.

USC won out for top-ranked inside linebacker John Houston Jr., No. 1 cornerback Iman Marshall and defensive tackle Rasheem Green Wednesday, along with athlete Porter Gustin, linebacker Osa Masina and defensive tackle Kevin Scott earlier in January. The Trojans' late rush helped their class finish No. 3 overall.

National champion Ohio State of the Big Ten made a morning splash by retaining the commitment of quarterback Torrance Gibson, who gave late consideration to Auburn and LSU. The Buckeyes flipped offensive tackle Isaiah Prince from Alabama's No. 1 class, which was otherwise largely put to bed weeks ago.

Texas flipped safety P.J. Locke from Oregon to punctuate Charlie Strong's 29-man, No. 9-ranked class that might signal the return to prominence of the Longhorns.

And the SEC added its share of drama, starting with the Auburn-Florida battles, in which former Gators coach Will Muschamp loomed large.

Muschamp's new program beat his old one for linebacker Jeffery Holland and the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, defensive end Byron Cowart of Seffner (Florida) Armwood.

Cowart, though, failed to fax his signed letter of intent to Auburn for some seven hours while reports bounced back and forth about his eventual decision.

Clearly, he was torn, feeling compelled to consider Florida coach Jim McElwain and his staff, on the job for two months.

"It's not their fault they're new," Cowart said. "In the recruiting process, [coaches] tell you what you want to hear, and when you get there, everything switches."

So ultimately, Cowart went with Auburn -- and the coach he trusted.

The Tigers, after the great start, lost No. 1 offensive tackle Martez Ivey and second-rated defensive end CeCe Jefferson to Florida and top-ranked defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. to Missouri.

Tennessee claimed victory with the signing of elite defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, a longtime commitment out of California, and the late flip of offensive tackle Drew Richmond from Ole Miss to secure the nation's fifth-rated class -- No. 2 in the SEC.

Ranked No. 1 nationally, for the fourth straight year, was the Crimson Tide.

"One of the very good things about this class is we didn't have a lot of drama today," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "These guys have been committed to us for a while.
"That's not the way to get the most attention from the media, but that certainly speaks highly of what a commitment means."

LSU, with its new all-star cast of recruiters headlined by Ed Orgeron, finished with good news early in the week on defensive end Arden Key, followed by the Wednesday addition of guard Toby Weathersby -- a former Texas pledge -- and the flip of receiver Brandon Martin from Missouri.

Martin punctuated his change of heart with this hashtag on Twitter.



And then there was the case of Smith, the linebacker out of Macon County High School in Montezuma, Georgia, who announced his choice of UCLA over Georgia on ESPNU but never faxed his letter of intent.

Why? Because in the moments after signing, Smith learned from reporters at his school -- as Georgia coaches furiously called with the same news -- that UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich was up for a job as the Atlanta Falcons' linebackers coach.

Ulbrich recruited Smith, who plans to wait "a couple days to figure things out," Macon County coach Larry Harold told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ah, there's nothing quite like signing day, which could change considerably for the next class of recruits if a proposal is approved this spring by the Division I conference commissioners to add a three-day early signing period in December.

So, if this was the last of its kind -- with the full-on drama and star power that only a once-a-year event can provide -- then signing day as we know it went out in style.
videoThe national signing day ceremonies have concluded, the ink has dried and the fax machines have been turned off. The Class of 2015 is mostly in the books. As is the case annually, there were a number of winners -- and a couple of losers -- on national signing day. Here is a look at the schools that excelled and the schools that had a rough day.

SCHOOLS THAT FARED WELL

UCLA: The Bruins began the day at No. 17 in the ESPN RecruitingNation class rankings, but they quickly moved up to No. 11 with a run of ESPN 300 commitments. No. 111 prospect Chris Clark, a tight end, got the day started and was followed by RB Soso Jamabo (No. 28), OG Joshua Wariboko (No. 105) and OLB Roquan Smith (No. 29). The day got even better in the early afternoon when No. 130 recruit Cordell Broadus, a wide receiver, picked the Bruins over Arizona State. All five of the recruits who committed to UCLA on Wednesday are from different states.

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Chris Clark, Maxx WilliamsIcon Sportswire, USA TODAY SportsESPN 300 tight end Chris Clark is big and athletic like Minnesota standout Maxx Williams.
Chris Clark, the No. 4-ranked tight end in the ESPN 300, has committed to UCLA over Michigan. The nation's No. 111-ranked overall prospect chose the Bruins live on ESPNU and gives UCLA its first ESPN 300 tight end since Morrell Presley in 2009.

Clark had been committed to North Carolina and Michigan before decommitting from the Wolverines in December. After his decommitment, he narrowed his list to UCLA and Michigan, visited both schools and agonized over the decision.

Clark said the two schools were very similar in what they could offer academically and athletically and he knew he couldn’t go wrong with either school. The Bruins ultimately won out in the end, though, and he gives the UCLA coaching staff an outstanding option at tight end.

A big part of his decision had to do with a conversation he had with one UCLA coach while on his official visit. The coach told Clark he could come play for the Bruins and be a part of big-time football while still being a normal person.

At UCLA, Clark could go to class without being hounded but still have an opportunity to win championships. That pitch, along with a few other factors, convinced Clark that UCLA was the place for him.

[+] EnlargeChris Clark
Joe Faraoni/ESPN ImagesNo. 4-ranked tight end Chris Clark committed to UCLA on signing day.
Commitment impact: The four-star tight end is the first ESPN 300 signee at his position for UCLA since 2009. Bruins coach Jim Mora sold Clark on the fact that UCLA wants to utilize the tight end more in the offense and that Clark could be a fixture in that picture.

With the addition of quarterback Josh Rosen and a few other offensive weapons, Clark could help the Bruins build a well-balanced offense in the future.

What he brings:

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Big Ten signing day primer

February, 3, 2015
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ESPNU will have 11 hours of coverage on national signing day (Feb. 4), with analysis and live commitments from some of the top prospects in the country. A few of those recruits are considering Big Ten teams, and there are some big questions going into signing day.

For team-by-team coverage of the Big Ten, check out the conference’s recruiting pages:
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Maryland
Michigan
Michigan State
Minnesota
Nebraska
Northwestern
Ohio State
Penn State
Purdue
Rutgers
Wisconsin

Programming schedule:
Signing Day Special (8 a.m. ET- 5 p.m. ET): ESPNU or Watch ESPN

Here is a look at a few items to watch when all the action happens on the big day.

One storyline to watch: Michigan is currently sitting at nine commitments and is hoping to close out strong. The Wolverines are being considered by three prospects announcing on ESPNU: defensive back Iman Marshall, tight end Chris Clark and linebacker Roquan Smith.

There are a few other targets still out there, including Jarius Adams, a Rutgers commit. This class won’t make or break Michigan, but how the program closes could be impactful in the near future.

If the coaches can land one of the big three announcing on ESPNU, it would be a huge deal for the program. Marshall could be an immediate, impact-type prospect, and Clark would be a huge addition to the offense. Either of these would boost the depth and competition level on the roster and would be a huge positive for Michigan heading into spring ball. One recruit to watch: Torrance Gibson is currently committed to Ohio State but has been listening to overtures from Auburn, LSU and Miami. Other than a few tweets, the five-star prospect hasn’t been talking much about his commitment.

Gibson hosted coaches from Auburn, LSU and Ohio State on in-home visits, and now fans are waiting to see what he does. The opportunity to play quarterback is there at all the schools. Auburn might have the best opportunity for early playing time and be the best fit for Gibson.

He is still committed to the Buckeyes, however, and could very well stay that way. His decision hasn’t gone public yet, so this is definitely something to watch as we head into signing day.

One signing day surprise: It might not be too much of a surprise at this point, but it looks as though Ohio State will close strong. Wide receiver K.J. Hill and defensive back Damon Arnette could very well choose the Buckeyes.

It’s tough to put the Buckeyes in this category because Ohio State fans aren’t surprised by Urban Meyer's closing strong this late in the process, but besides Ohio State, Michigan and potentially Maryland, there might not be too many big surprises for the Big Ten.

The Terps have a chance to surprise, though, if they can pull in defensive lineman Austrian Robinson and ESPN 300 offensive lineman Isaiah Prince. It would be a big close for coach Randy Edsall and his staff, who have some positive momentum.

Running back Mike Weber could be on this list as well, if he doesn't announce anything until signing day. Weber is currently committed to Ohio State, but he has been listening to Michigan recently. He has kept quiet about his final decision, so there is still some intrigue with him.

Pac-12 signing day primer

February, 3, 2015
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We’re now just one day away from national signing day as recruits across the country prepare to sign their national letters of intent with the school of their choice. ESPNU and Watch ESPN will provide 11 hours of continuous coverage throughout Wednesday beginning at 8 a.m. ET, and ESPN’s RecruitingNation will provide one-stop shopping for breaking news, announcements and a day-long chat. Fans of Pac-12 programs will be especially interested in the televised announcements on Wednesday, as of the 17 recruits scheduled to announce on ESPNU, Pac-12 programs are potential destinations for 10. While a majority of each conference class will sign on Wednesday without any drama, there are still several top prospects who could shake up the conference rankings and signing day is always good for a few interesting twists.

For team-by-team coverage of the Pac-12, check out the conference’s recruiting pages:
Arizona
Arizona State
California
Colorado
Oregon
Oregon State
Stanford
UCLA
USC
Utah
Washington
Washington State

One storyline to watch: All eyes will be on the two Los Angeles programs, as UCLA and USC have a chance to dominate the televised announcements. The Bruins are contenders for tight end Chris Clark, athlete Soso Jamabo, linebacker Jeffery Holland, offensive guard Josh Wariboko, outside linebacker Roquan Smith, wide receiver Cordell Broadus and defensive tackle Joseph Wicker. The Trojans are finalists for linebacker John Houston Jr. and defensive tackle Rasheem Green. And both schools are among the finalists for cornerback Iman Marshall. In 2014, signing day finished on two completely different notes for the crosstown programs, as UCLA swung big and missed at a number of out-of-state recruits, while USC scored with its three top local targets. This year, save for Marshall perhaps giving one program the edge, there could be plenty of happy coaches in Los Angeles.

One recruit to watch: Marshall. It’s unlikely many recruits have frustrated more fan bases than Marshall during this recruiting cycle, but that’s mostly because he’s been so difficult to read and still has so many options on the table. With six schools left -- and perhaps all of them feeling as though they have a shot at landing the nation’s top cornerback -- Marshall could have just about everybody guessing when it’s his time to announce on Wednesday. He would be a significant addition to either Los Angeles program, and would give either Jim Mora and UCLA or Steve Sarkisian and USC bragging rights when it came to landing the region’s top prospect in this class. But Florida State, LSU, Michigan and Notre Dame remain in the mix as well.

One signing day surprise: It might sound like something of a cop-out, but the surprise of signing day in the Pac-12 could turn out to be just how few surprises there actually are. In terms of commitments into the conference, there could be fireworks all day, with a number of ESPN 300 prospects and dynamic three- and four-star recruits set to make their decisions. But when it comes to shocking flips between conference programs, it appears that Wednesday could be relatively quiet. The recruiting carousel spun rapidly throughout the Pac-12 in January, but the music appears to be slowing and just about everybody appears to have found a seat, with very few committed prospects having taken official visits elsewhere and seriously considering a flip. If there is a shock, it could come from the state of Texas, where UCLA holds a commitment from ESPN 300 wide receiver Ryan Newsome. While it would be surprising if Newsome made the flip, it can be difficult to go through with going away to school when the hometown team comes charging late.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

February, 3, 2015
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Signing day is almost here and this past weekend was a big, final push for a lot of Big Ten teams to pull in last-minute commits. Some of the teams within the conference have set themselves up well for signing day and were able to focus on the 2016 class.

Here is a look at the biggest news from the past weekend within the Big Ten.


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New Year's Day and national signing day used to be the two most disheartening days on the Big Ten football calendar.

Make no mistake, New Year's Day had been much more of a buzzkill. The Big Ten's poor results on an afternoon where it clustered its top postseason games on big stages damaged the league's reputation and depressed its fans.

National signing day had been a different kind of downer. Unlike New Year's Day, when the Big Ten's collective struggles were front and center, national signing day pushed the league off to the side. The Big Ten went from being embarrassed on Jan. 1 to being largely ignored on the first Wednesday in February.

[+] EnlargeUrban Meyer
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesOhio State raised a trophy in January and raised expectations for the Big Ten on signing day.
Of course, this was ESPN's fault, as all things were/are. ESPN's in-season obsession with all things SEC spilled into its recruiting coverage, Big Ten fans contended.

Two things to note:

1. Recruiting rankings are inherently subjective

2. The numbers don't lie. Every recruiting list shows more elite prospects in the South -- many of whom choose to play for SEC schools -- than in the Midwest

The bottom line is signing day had become more of an SEC and ACC event than a Big Ten exposition. There's a reason why every year around this time, I snarkily ask our friends in ACC country if they're ready for the biggest day on their football calendar.

But signing day 2015, arriving in just 36 hours, could have a different feel around the Big Ten. For the first time in a while, the Big Ten is the most talked-about league in the sport. Ohio State just won the first College Football Playoff national championship, securing its first title -- and the Big Ten's -- in 12 seasons. The Buckeyes capped a Big Ten bowl season that far surpassed expectations (6-5 overall, 2-0 in New Year's Six games).

Michigan made the top coaching move of the offseason by landing Jim Harbaugh. Two former Big Ten quarterbacks shined Sunday night in Super Bowl XLIX, with former Michigan signal-caller Tom Brady coming away with his fourth ring.

The Big Ten has tangible momentum that it wants to sustain through the offseason, beginning with national signing day.

How realistic is that goal?

Signing day is largely about hype, and the Big Ten undoubtedly will be discussed more this year than in the past.

Ohio State's class, ranked No. 7 nationally by ESPN RecruitingNation, will be examined as the Buckeyes bring in standouts such as Justin Hilliard and Jashon Cornell, and hope to keep Torrance Gibson. Unlike many Big Ten coaches, Ohio State's Urban Meyer eschews redshirting and has quickly turned young players into key contributors. Meyer's first full class in 2013 -- featuring Joey Bosa, J.T. Barrett, Ezekiel Elliott, Vonn Bell, Jalin Marshall and Darron Lee -- played a huge role in this year's title run.

Michigan's first class under Harbaugh also will be in the spotlight. It will be small -- the Wolverines have only nine verbal commitments -- but Harbaugh already has bolstered the quarterback spot with Zach Gentry, who had originally picked Texas. Michigan could finish strong with tight end Chris Clark, linebacker Roquan Smith and cornerback Iman Marshall, all of whom are announcing their decisions on signing day.

James Franklin's first full class at Penn State should get Lions fans excited for the future. Franklin and his staff put much of the group together last spring, landing 13 commitments before the end of May. They've upgraded their top problem unit, offensive line, with recruitsSterling Jenkins and Ryan Bates, to go along with junior college transfer Paris Palmer.

Michigan State is arguably the nation's top player development program. But after consecutive top-5 finishes, the Spartans' recruiting efforts are getting noticed. MSU is poised to sign a top-30 class and might have locked up its future offensive backfield with quarterback Brian Lewerke and running back L.J. Scott. Twin brothers Andrew and David Dowell, one-time Northwestern and Kentucky commits, recently switched their pledge to MSU.

Wisconsin and Nebraska also could end up among ESPN RecruitingNation's top 30 classes. Not surprisingly, the Badgers have seen attrition in their class after the surprising departure of coach Gary Andersen to Oregon State, but they've bolstered their offense with running backs Bradrick Shaw and Jordan Stevenson, tight end Kyle Penniston and quarterback Austin Kafentzis. Nebraska also went through a coaching change but has made a nice push under Mike Riley and his innovative recruiting approach, landing offensive lineman Jalin Barnett and holding onto defensive back Eric Lee and others.

As colleague Mitch Sherman wrote last week, Big Ten coaches had no consensus about whether the league's recent on-field surge would improve recruiting, especially for non-traditional powers. Maryland, despite losing two recruits to Indiana this past weekend, will be a program to watch Wednesday as linemen Austrian Robinson and Isaiah Prince make their decisions. Illinois hopes to upgrade its defensive line with Jamal Milan, who also is considering Minnesota and Indiana. Minnesota, Rutgers, Northwestern, Indiana and others look to lock up solid classes on Wednesday.

There will be Big Ten teams that don't move the needle regionally or nationally, as there are every year. But there's optimism about the league's overall recruiting efforts, fueled by the bowl/playoff momentum.

The Big Ten changed its fortunes on New Year's Day. National signing day looms, and league should gain a greater market share of the spotlight, providing a springboard to the offseason.
Predictions are always difficult to make around signing day because recruits keep things so close to the vest. A few Big Ten teams are waiting to see what some of their targets will do on signing day, so here are a few predictions for some of those recruits.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

January, 27, 2015
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We are in the home stretch to signing day with roughly one week to go. This past weekend was a huge part of the Big Ten's recruiting efforts, so here is a look at the most important events of the weekend.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

January, 27, 2015
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It was a busy weekend in the conference, as 14 prospects made commitments between Friday and Monday night and several others backed out of Pac-12 recruiting classes. It looks as though this could be a sign of things to come, as the conference recruiting race is heating up with little more than a week until signing day.


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Pac-12 tipping point classes 

January, 26, 2015
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It's a fairly unusual year for recruiting when it comes to the two Los Angeles programs. While this is usually a zero sum war with a clear winner and loser -- as was the case with the 2014 class, when the Trojans finished 3-for-3 on the final three huge uncommitted prospects in Southern California -- this signing day provides the opportunity for both programs to either finish strong or fizzle out, without one much affecting the other.


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Best of the visits: Pac-12

January, 25, 2015
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It was another big weekend for visits in the Pac-12, as programs are looking to line up strong finishes in the run up to signing day on Feb. 4.

Bruins looking to close with Clark

UCLA and Michigan are in a neck-and-neck battle for ESPN 300 tight end Chris Clark. And after visiting the Wolverines two weekends ago, Clark was in Los Angeles this weekend.


The Bruins also received some help from former UCLA and current Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis.


Clark would be a significant addition for either program, and the Bruins are hoping they can sway him into becoming the lone true tight end on the roster and a potential immediate-impact player.

UCLA also hosted LSU offensive line commit Maea Teuhema. The nation's No. 71 overall prospect has been committed to the Tigers since February, but the Bruins are looking to make the nation's No. 2 offensive guard part of their strong finish in the state of Texas.


And although not from Texas -- but close enough -- ESPN 300 offensive guard Josh Wariboko could also be part of a massive closing stretch for UCLA. The No. 105 overall prospect was in Los Angeles for the B2G West Coast Bowl over the weekend and had an opportunity to spend time with UCLA commits Colin Samuel and Bolu Olorunfunmi.

Sun Devils host two standouts

Arizona State hosted ESPN 300 defenders Rasheem Green and Porter Gustin this weekend, and the Sun Devils look to be in competition with USC for both prospects.


While Arizona State hasn't been discussed much in terms of top classes during this recruiting cycle, Todd Graham's program has an opportunity to close in a big way with some impact prospects still on the board. And speaking of impact, Green had an opportunity during his visit to meet an NFL superstar who can make an impact with any recruit (regardless of the typo in his last name).

Oregon State's big weekend

The new Oregon State coaches hit the ground running when they took over the program after Mike Riley took much of his staff with him to Nebraska. Gary Andersen's staff has reshaped much of the recruiting class and added a big one recently when they were able to flip defensive end Keivonnis Davis from his Syracuse commitment. Davis was on his official visit this weekend and took some time to get to know the Oregon State mascot.


Oregon State is also in on fellow defensive end Simi Moala, who holds offers from Miami, Utah and Washington State. At 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds, Moala is an intriguing prospect along the defensive line.

Cal hopes to catch another

The Golden Bears have done well at the wide receiver spot in this class, but head coach Sonny Dykes obviously feels there can't be enough talent at that position on his roster. High three-star Texas receiver A.D. Miller took an official visit to Cal over the weekend and had a simple question for Golden Bears fans.

Utes host commit

Part of Oregon State's recent run on the recruiting trail has come at the expense of Utah, as former Ute assistant coaches made their way to Corvallis and were able to flip two commitments in the process. But Utah still holds a strong class, especially with the recent flip of former Cal commit Johnny Capra. The offensive tackle makes four nice additions at that position for the Utes, including three-star Arizona prospect Nick Carman, who took his official visit to Utah over the weekend.

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