NCF On The Trail: Marquis Ware

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.

Notebook: Mama will analyze USC 

December, 9, 2013
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ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) was a spectator to start the weekend, but he capped it with a championship trophy between his hands.

Mama accompanied good friends and fellow USC targets John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch) to the Inland Empire on Friday night, as the tight-knit group watched Trojans commits Viane Talamaivao and Austin Maloata of Corona (Calif.) Centennial capture yet another CIF Southern Section Inland Division title. On Saturday, it was Mama’s turn to hold the hardware with his friends watching from the stands at Angel Stadium.

As a result, Mama will have a little less time to focus on his recruitment as a 12-day dead period approaches. That might not be bad news for the Trojans.


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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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WeAreSC recruiting mailbag 

October, 4, 2013
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WeAreSC recruiting reporter Blair Angulo answers reader questions in his mailbag every week. Have a USC recruiting question of your own? Submit it via Twitter @WeAreSCstaff or @bangulo.

@godsoldier2k3: Hey, guys. How are we looking at picking up defensive backs that cover. Seems that other than defensive tackles, we need some long, athletic corners.


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It is a whole new ball game with recruits out West now that Lane Kiffin is out at USC.

The Trojans’ Class of 2014 recruiting efforts mirrored the product on the field. There were a few bright spots like highly regarded ESPN 300 defensive end Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), ESPN 300 linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) and ESPN 300 offensive lineman Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra), but it was also a class full of incompletions, fumbles and big misses.

[+] EnlargeTalamaivao
Erik McKinney/ESPN.comThe Trojans hope a new coaching staff will sway recruits like Viane Talamaivao (committed to Alabama) to USC.
The Trojans, in one of the deepest hotbeds of talent in the entire country and with one of the proudest football traditions around, were able to lure only seven commitments and watched conference rivals Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington blow past them on the recruiting trail. Recruits and high school coaches throughout the Southland also raised major concerns about the way Kiffin interacted with -- or some say flat-out ignored -- many top local prospects and coaches when they would come for unofficial visits or wanted to talk shop.

You have to win the recruiting wars in Los Angeles if you’re going to dominate at USC. It’s something that Pete Carroll figured out the second he stepped into Heritage Hall, but Kiffin was never able to fully embrace.

However, the Trojans now have a chance to reset things.

If USC makes the right hire, there’s still a real chance to lure a number of the West’s best prospects. Twenty-seven of the Top 100 and eight of the top 15 prospects in California have yet to make up their minds.

Plus, there will be kids who are committed to other schools that will take a long look at the Trojans again with a new coach in charge. You can bet that players like ESPN 300 offensive lineman and Alabama commit Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial), ESPN 300 athlete and Arizona commit Marquis Ware (Los Angeles/Salesian), Elite 11 quarterback and Miami commit Brad Kaaya (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade) and many other committed players in California will get calls from the new USC staff.

In recruiting, nothing can erase the errors of the old and give a school some new momentum like a coaching change.

USC now has the chance to right its recruiting wrongs. Coupled with the fact recruits and high school coaches still consider the Trojans Los Angeles’ football team, USC’s run to signing day in February could alter the Pac-12 for years to come.

Big 12 recruiting mailbag

September, 20, 2013
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In this week’s Big 12 mailbag we take a look at the likelihood of an ESPN 300 defensive back ending up at Oklahoma State, some concerns in Longhorns country, the latest on Iowa State and plenty more.

@Cylights: Any #Cyclones news?

You’re in luck. The Cyclones picked up their first commitment since July 25 on Monday with three-star athlete Dedric Brinson. Brinson (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) had plenty of other offers, including from Duke, Indiana, Marshall, Massachusetts, Central Florida, Wake Forest and Wisconsin. But he chose to travel out of state to play for Paul Rhodes and gives ISU another playmaker. The Cyclones already have commitments from ESPN 300 wide receiver Allen Lazard (Urbandale, Iowa/Urbandale), three-star running back Tommy Mister (Chicago, Ill./Saint Rita), three-star RB Martinez Syria (Houston/Nimitz), three-star WR Orion Salters (Dallas/Jesuit), three-star tight end Scott Schaffner (Peculiar, Mo./Ray-Pec)and three-star WR Jauan Wesley (Harvey, Ill./Thornton Township).




@Roberrttthom: It feels like Steven Parker is slightly favoring Oklahoma State right now, what are the chances that they land him?

They’re good. But I do believe OU and Texas A&M are just as much in the mix as they have been over the past few months. A few things to take into consideration regarding OSU’s chances: 1. Playing time at safety should be up for grabs with the upcoming graduation of Shamiel Gary and Daytawion Lowe. 2. He’s constantly hearing about OSU from current Pokes commitment and teammate Dylan Harding. It’s going to be Bedlam for his commitment. See what I did there?




@todd_spurgin: Do you think OU's recruiting is going to continue to be such a struggle getting big nasties/linebackers?

For the foreseeable future? Possibly. But I do think the Sooners will get it figured out by the time it’s all said and done. They missed out on a few guys who I thought they’d have right now in Ty Barrett and Frank Kee.




@JC22101022: What are recruits (who are considering Texas for this year and the future) saying about Texas current program state?

There are a few major concerns, which are completely understandable. The first, and obvious one, is Mack Brown’s future. If he goes you could see Texas recruiting take a hit if it doesn’t hire a home-run replacement. If he does stay, will the program have improved by year’s end? These recruits want to see if Texas can win like these players saw while they were growing up. You’ve got to remember, when these players were growing up, Texas was winning 10-plus games a season. There is also concern about Greg Robinson and the direction of this defense. Will he be the defensive coordinator long term? How will he relate to recruits if he is?




@msturdy51: Who do you see the Sooners getting in the upcoming weeks?

A few names to keep an eye on are Rowlett (Texas) defensive tackle Cedric Johnson, and Arizona linebacker commitments Jamardre Cobb and Marquis Ware. Johnson visited in the spring and one more visit could seal the deal. As for the LBs, they are committed to Arizona but are still going to take an official visit to OU on Oct. 4. That will be the Sooners’ best chance to add another California linebacker to their 2014 class.




@LundbergLance: My Horns haven’t been so hot as everyone knows the last few years. When will recruiting take a big hit because of that?

In some ways, it’s already affected them. You saw that during the 2013 recruiting cycle when numerous players decommitted. That never used to happen at UT under Mack Brown. You’ve seen two players decommit already in 2014. But where it could really hurt Texas is in 2015. The state is loaded with players who have high interest in the Longhorns but won’t commit unless they see improvement. Texas needs to win or risk losing out on a big opportunity in 2015.
The USC recruiting class fell out of the ESPN top-40 rankings last week with the decommitment of four-star defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central).

While verbal commitments from offensive linemen Jordan Austin (Claremont, Calif./Claremont), Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) and Jordan Poland (La Jolla, Calif./Country Day School) are as solid as they come, the Trojans will likely have to be successful on the field for the rest of this season to regain some recruiting momentum.


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Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

August, 28, 2013
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The same four Pac-12 teams -- Arizona, Arizona State, Stanford and USC -- are represented in this week’s recruiting class rankings, and two of those programs made the biggest jump, as it was more of the same from the two programs in the state of Arizona. Also, as the opening weekend of college football is finally here, keep an eye on several programs hosting home openers, as visitor lists begin taking shape.

Trending up: The Arizona schools

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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: The Pac-12 race got a whole lot more interesting after Arizona picked up a pair of ESPN 300 commits this week; Texas A&M is just one of the teams getting a head start on locking down top 2015 talent; and Beyonce wearing a Texas jersey creates social media excitement for the Longhorns.

Arizona pushing toward top in Pac 12
Arizona WildcatsThe race for the top recruiting class in the Pac 12 is heating up, especially after Arizona scored two ESPN 300 commitments on Wednesday. Los Angeles Salesian teammates Marquis Ware and Jamardre Cobb pledged to the Wildcats, helping bolster an Arizona class that already was ranked No. 32 overall. The additions of Ware, the No. 120 prospect and No. 15 athlete in the nation, and Cobb, the nation’s No. 185 player and No. 13 outside linebacker, will narrow the gap between Stanford and the Wildcats.

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The Pac-12 saw an ESPN 300 running back alter an official visit and could be adding an ESPN 300 defensive end on Friday. Also, several recruiting battles could be on tap once official visits get underway, and Oregon State has its sights set on hopefully landing a two-towers addition at receiver.


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Los Angeles Salesian High School teammates Marquis Ware and Jamardre Cobb committed to Arizona. Read below to see how our believe feel Ware, an athlete, and Cobb, a linebacker, fit into Arizona's plans:


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Arizona adds ESPN 300 teammates

August, 22, 2013
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The Arizona Wildcats received some big news Wednesday night, as ESPN 300 teammates Marquis Ware and Jamardre Cobb (Los Angeles/Salesian) announced their commitments.

The announcement came in the form of a text message to media members from Salesian assistant coach D'Vah Thomas.

Ware, the No. 120 prospect in the country and No. 9 recruit in California, is listed as an athlete but will likely play linebacker at the next level. Cobb, the nation's No. 185 recruit and No. 13 outside linebacker, is the No. 2 outside linebacker in California and one of the state's most physical players.

Both held offers from a number of national powers, including Boise State, Florida State, Miami (Fla), Ohio State and Wisconsin. Ware also held offers from Texas A&M, UCLA and Vanderbilt.

Arizona built its lead for both players over the summer, as it hosted them on an unofficial visit that blew them away. Though the new football facilities weren't completed when they were on campus, both spoke glowingly about their time in Tucson and they seemed ready to make a commitment for several weeks.

The commitments are big ones for the Wildcats, who now own verbal from three Salesian players, as athlete Rodney Carr previously gave his pledge to Arizona. The 2014 recruiting class now contains three ESPN 300 recruits and six four-star players. But perhaps more important, Arizona's presence in California moves up another notch. Of the Wildcats' 24 verbal commitments, 14 play high school or junior college football in the Golden State, which is the same number Rich Rodriguez's program pulled from California in the 2013 class. The Wildcats have commitments from four of the top 36 California recruits, which will only help them moving forward in future classes.

But like many recruitments, Cobb and Ware aren't completely finished with the recruiting process. Both have an official visit planned to Oklahoma on Oct. 4, which they still plan to take. It won't be surprising to see the teammates take all five of their visits, though one will definitely be to Arizona.

For now, these commitments will likely boost Arizona in the team recruiting rankings. The Wildcats sit at No. 32 overall and No. 2 in the Pac-12, but now Arizona now could make a serious run at Stanford for the top of the Pac-12 recruiting rankings.
The definition of a “must-have” recruit is not created equal for all Pac-12 programs. For some, it’s a player who would help the class the most. For others, it’s the local recruit who simply can’t get away. And for others still, it’s the recruit who would give the program the biggest splash in the recruiting world. With a number of West region recruits still undecided, there are “must-have” recruits out there for every Pac-12 program.

Arizona
ATH Marquis Ware
6-foot-2, 210 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 120
Arizona is off to a terrific start with the 2014 recruiting class and the Wildcats already have commitments from two ESPN 300 prospects. But perhaps more importantly, they also have sincere interest from Ware, who is capable of playing outside linebacker or tight end at the next level. Not only would reeling in Ware give Arizona some serious bragging rights in the recruiting hotbed of Los Angeles, but the big athlete is teammates with linebacker Jamardre Cobb, who could join Ware in college.


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Tales From the Road: USC 

June, 5, 2013
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Every Wednesday, the WeAreSC staff will take a quick-hit look at some of the top recruits and storylines facing USC recruiting for the week.

This week’s targets: A bevy of recruits will be on the USC campus this weekend for the school’s linemen and skill position camps. And though the Rising Stars Camp is the headliner this month, this weekend’s events generally draw some good talent as well. Anaheim (Calif.) Magnolia safety Jamal Scott, who has seen his stock skyrocket the last week, said he hoped to take an unofficial visit to USC soon, perhaps this week.


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