NCF On The Trail: Manny Wilkins

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: With coaches on the road visiting high schools in the spring, they bump into prospects all the time wearing gear of a rival school. So does that make coaches think differently of those prospects? Plus, one of the nation's top quarterbacks makes his decision Friday.

ESPN JC 50 WR Lauderdale selects ASU 

January, 24, 2014
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The potential passing attack headed to Arizona State in the 2014 class got a little more potent on Friday as ESPN Junior College 50 wide receiver Eric Lauderdale (Fayetteville, Ga./Saddleback College) announced his commitment to the Sun Devils.

Lauderdale, the nation's No. 23 overall junior college prospect and No. 3 juco receiver, had narrowed his choices down to Arizona State, Florida and Nebraska before making his decision. Though the announcement appeared to be a foregone conclusion following Lauderdale's decision to cancel an official visit to Oregon immediately after returning from an official trip to Arizona State, that won't dampen the excitement for the Sun Devils' coaching staff.


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Key recruiting visits -- Pac-12 

January, 17, 2014
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The recruiting dead period is over, and it's full speed ahead for a number of Pac-12 programs as coaches look to load up on official visitors over the next three weekends. A list of important official visitors for Pac-12 programs this weekend could easily extend to two or even three dozen names, so limiting it to just the top 10 was challenging -- though likely not as difficult as the task facing conference coaches looking to wrap up their recruiting classes as national signing day approaches.

1. CB Kweishi Brown (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont College) visiting Arizona State. The ESPN Junior College 50 cornerback made an early commitment to Arkansas but pulled away from that as more Pac-12 programs expressed interest. Brown, the nation's No. 3 juco cornerback, will be at Arizona State as part of a huge group of official visitors and will be one of the main targets committed quarterback Manny Wilkins (Novato, Calif./San Marin) sets his sights on this weekend.


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Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Dec. 19 

December, 19, 2013
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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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ASU grabs another ESPN 300 recruit

December, 13, 2013
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Arizona State continued its march toward the top of the Pac-12 recruiting rankings, landing ESPN 300 defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central East).

Smallwood gave his verbal commitment to the Arizona State coaches during an in-home visit Wednesday.

Smallwood, the nation's No. 240 overall prospect, gives Arizona State six ESPN 300 prospects and is the second former USC commit to pledge to the Sun Devils, joining ESPN 300 linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito).

After decommitting from USC earlier this fall, there was little doubt Smallwood would wind up in Tempe, though he also looked at Alabama and Oklahoma -- and took an official visit to see the Sooners. Smallwood and his father consistently mentioned Arizona State's standout defensive tackle Will Sutton and believed the 6-foot, 290-pound Smallwood could replicate Sutton's production in the desert.

The Sun Devils now have 21 commitments in the 2014 class, and have put together some significant momentum in December. Smallwood's commitment came just one day after a pledge from three-star athlete Kalen Ballage (Peyton, Colo./Falcon). Four-star running back Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale) and three-star juco defensive end Jonathon Johnson (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) also committed to Arizona State earlier this month.

While plenty of credit for Smallwood's commitment goes to the Arizona State coaches, a hat tip must again be given to quarterback commit Manny Wilkins (Novato, Calif./San Marin), who has established himself as one of the top recruiters in this class.

Recruits watching: Stanford at ASU 

December, 6, 2013
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Saturday offers the final game of the Pac-12 season, as Stanford visits Arizona State in the conference title game. The Sun Devils and Cardinal sit at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively, in the Pac-12 class recruiting rankings, and this weekend will give both a chance to impress recruits on a national platform.

Many recruits from the 2014 and 2015 classes will have their attention focused on the Pac-12 title game, but here are 10 seniors who likely will be paying especially close attention.

OG Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch): The three-star offensive lineman is a priority target for a number of Pac-12 programs, with Arizona State among them. Delp has taken official visits to Arizona State and Washington State, while UCLA remains the likely leader. A conference championship for Arizona State would send a strong message to recruits -- Delp included -- and there is plenty of room for the big lineman in ASU's class, as the Sun Devils hold commits from just two offensive linemen so far.


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'Zona, ASU make impressions on recruits 

November, 24, 2013
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The Pac-12 conference was all but officially shut out of the national championship discussion this weekend, but that won't dampen the spirits of the program that caused the dismissal -- Arizona -- or the one that will benefit most from it -- Arizona State.


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Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Nov. 7 

November, 7, 2013
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The game of the year in the Pac-12 is finally here, as recruits will tune in Thursday night to watch Stanford host Oregon (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET). The UCLA Bruins proved that the offensive line recruiting magic from last year's class is still alive and well. Official visitors will be on hand at Utah and Cal. And fans of Arizona State and Oregon could get a glimpse of the future during a high-stakes high school clash on Saturday.

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Arizona State adds ESPN 300 WR 

October, 22, 2013
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Arizona State was riding high after a big win over Washington this past weekend, and that momentum carried through Monday on the recruiting trail.


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Sun Devils pick good time for statement 

October, 20, 2013
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While Stanford made the most obvious noise on the field in the Pac-12 this weekend -- topping previously unbeated and No. 9-ranked UCLA, 24-10 -- Arizona State positioned itself to make the biggest statement on the recruiting trail.

The Sun Devils targeted their matchup with the Washington Huskies as the weekend to load up on visitors and that decision paid off handsomely, as Arizona State rolled to a 53-24 win.

Leading the recruiting charge was quarterback commit Manny Wilkins (Novato, Calif./San Marin), who has been as vocal a recruiter for his future program as any prospect in the country.

While one game won't carry as much influence in a recruits' decision as many fans believe, a blowout win such as that one is a great way to begin a weekend of recruiting for a coaching staff.

"It was a great game to have some of the top recruits in the nation in attendance," Wilkins said.

Wilkins certainly did his part in getting recruits to the game, as he helped talk Cal commit and ESPN 300 prospect Jalen Harvey (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) into taking an official visit this weekend. Harvey was joined on an official visit by his teammate, and USC commit, D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito). It was the first official visit for Calhoun and it paid off in a big way for the Sun Devils, as they are now firmly among his top three schools -- alongside UCLA and USC.

"The whole experience was nice, especially with the coaches, and the academic breakdown they did was great," Calhoun said. "Watching the game was nice, being able to see how the team operates with each other."

Calhoun, the nation's No. 226 prospect, said the Arizona State coaches see him stepping in for senior defensive end Junior Onyeali, an undersized defensive end who became a pass rushing force for the Sun Devils.

"They want me to rush the quarterback and take No. 5's position," Calhoun said. "I love it all."

The teammates were joined on official visits by four-star offensive tackle Sam Jones (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge), who tweeted a simple message toward the end of his visit.



It was the second official visit for Jones, who slid the Oregon Ducks toward the top of his list after visiting them in early September. Things could now get interesting for Jones, who holds offers from a majority of the conference.

But from the Sun Devils' perspective, the two biggest recruits in attendance were likely there on unofficial visits, as Arizona State coaches were able to put on a show in front of local ESPN 300 prospects and teammates Casey Tucker and Qualen Cunningham (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton).

Both Tucker and Cunningham are very quiet when it comes to recruiting, as they have chosen to focus on their senior seasons first, but it's easy to notice that both have kept Arizona State among their final few schools. The Sun Devils will push hard for both, and while programs such as Oregon, Stanford and Texas A&M are in the mix, Arizona State will absolutely take advantage of getting those two recruits in front of the kind of scene that unfolded Saturday night.

Apparently the student section noticed Tucker, as the nation's No. 38 player retweeted a message directed at him by an Arizona State fan.

Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Oct. 17 

October, 17, 2013
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Several Pac-12 programs have an opportunity to make statements on the recruiting trail this weekend, headlined by Arizona State hosting Washington, and including USC's trip to Notre Dame and the biggest clash in the conference -- UCLA visiting Stanford. The following day, the B2G West Coast Bowl will draw plenty of interest, as Pac-12 commits and targets are separated into two teams for the late January all-star game.

Manny being Manny

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Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

October, 9, 2013
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Each Wednesday, ESPN RecruitingNation updates its national class rankings. For an in-depth look at the Pac-12, check out our conference rankings:

1. Arizona, 24 commits: The Wildcats check in at No. 23 in the RecruitingNation class rankings with a class that includes four ESPN300 commitments, including No. 120 overall Marquis Ware and No. 185 Jamardre Cobb of Salesian High in Los Angeles. Arizona will take its shot with No. 17 overall Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy), and teammate Dae'Juan Funderburk (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy) in December.


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Pac-12 2014 recruiting scenarios 

October, 8, 2013
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This week's list offers a look through the Pac-12 at the potential best-case and worst-case scenarios that the 2014 recruiting cycle could bring for various programs. While a few of the best-case scenarios might be close to within reach for some programs, many of the worst-case scenarios would take a special brand of bad luck.

Arizona
Best-case scenario: Arizona doesn't hold onto all of its 24 verbal commits, but keeps all of its priority recruits in the fold. In exchange for some of the decommitments, the Wildcats are rewarded with a big splash from either ESPN 300 prospect John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) or Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure). A strong finish to the season also helps Arizona clean up in its home state, landing commitments from offensive linemen Natrell Curtis (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe), Andrew Mike (Tucson, Ariz./Sabino), Layth Friekh (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) and junior college defensive lineman Claudeson Pelon (Mesa, Ariz./Mesa College).

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Critical positions in Pac-12 recruiting 

September, 3, 2013
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Recruiting for the 2014 class bumped up another notch this past Sunday, when college coaches could begin making their one phone call per week to high school seniors. Today, we take a look at what position group those Pac-12 coaches might consider their most important position to add talent with this class.


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Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Aug. 2 

August, 2, 2013
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There were a number of commitments in the Pac-12 over the past seven days, as several teams kept their strong momentum on the recruiting trail. Programs on a roll with the 2014 class highlight this week's Pac-12 storylines.

Desert programs stay hot


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