NCF On The Trail: Tashon Smallwood

Top position classes: DL 

February, 14, 2014
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With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.

Nationally (and SEC)
Texas A&M went into the 2014 class knowing that size and athleticism was an absolute must on its defensive front. And Kevin Sumlin and staff delivered on those glaring needs. Leading the way is No. 1 defensive end and five-star player Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/James Martin), who has the size, speed and power combination to be a difference-maker early on next fall. The 6-foot-5, 247-pound Garrett is joined at defensive end by ESPN 300 No. 203 Qualen Cunningham (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), and high three-star Jarrett Johnson (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes), who has a nonstop motor. While the Aggies have some talented young defensive tackles, continuing to add size and athleticism to the interior was a must. No. 150 DeShawn Washington (Nederland, Texas/Nederland) and four-star early enrollee Zaycoven Henderson (Longview, Texas/Longview) add disruptive explosiveness and athleticism.

The Aggies had the nation’s best defensive line class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:

A recent string of commitments heading into the dead period has left USC with only five remaining slots in its 2014 recruiting class. The Trojans have 19 total spots to use, as long as four of them are mid-year enrollees.

Here's a position-by-position look at how USC could allocate those empty spots, with a projection of how many players at each position the Trojans will try to sign:

Offensive line: 6

The Trojans hold five commitments on the offensive line, two of those from mid-year enrollees who already have signed financial aid agreements. They might not be done, though, as a big fish is still out there and possibly leaning toward signing with his childhood favorite. If the coaching staff decides a scholarship would be more important at another position, the Trojans might have to part ways with a prospect from this bunch.


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Sun Devils land ESPN JC 50 DE 

December, 16, 2013
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The booms keep coming for Arizona State in the 2014 recruiting class.

On Monday, the Sun Devils added another passenger to the Boom Bus -- the term Arizona State coaches are using for this Sun Devils' recruiting class -- in the form of ESPN JC 50 defensive end Edmond Boateng (Roswell, N.M./New Mexico Military Institute).

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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.

Scouts' Take: Smallwood next for ASU 

December, 13, 2013
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Arizona State improved its top-25 class Thursday, gaining a commitment from ESPN 300 defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central East), who will bring a skill set to Tempe, Ariz., that Sun Devils fans are accustomed to seeing. Our scouts' take on the news:


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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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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

November, 18, 2013
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A huge win at USC was witnessed by a number of big-time recruits, while Washington added a second commitment to its 2015 class and UCLA provided another statement to recruits, utilizing the talents of a two-way freshman. Also, a USC commit had a big day, and the top tailback in the West region went even bigger, in this week's Pac-12 weekend recruiting wrap.


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A number of Pac-12 programs will have a chance to make statements this weekend that could help them greatly on the recruiting trail. The biggest game will take place at the Coliseum, as USC hosts Stanford, but both Washington programs will have a chance to make statements, while Oregon will have two important visitors on campus.

USC's second chance


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Questions for signing day: Big 12 

November, 12, 2013
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The countdown is on.

With signing day less than three months away, many questions are being answered early with Big 12 targets and with players in the Midlands Region. While the list of uncommitted players gets smaller each day, there are still a few players looking to solidify their college futures. Some may decide soon; others will make coaches sweat a little longer.

Here are 10 questions as we inch closer to the big day, Feb. 5.


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Juco DT Wyche drops USC for Miami 

October, 22, 2013
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The recruiting woes continued for USC on Tuesday when junior college defensive tackle Michael Wyche (Chesapeake, Va./East Los Angeles College) decommitted from the Trojans and flipped to Miami, in large part to return to the East Coast next year.


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Recruits watching Washington at ASU 

October, 18, 2013
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It won't have the national appeal of UCLA's trip to Stanford, or the history of USC visiting Notre Dame, but it's unlikely that any Pac-12 game will have more impact recruits in attendance this weekend than Washington at Arizona State. Here is a look at 10 of the dozens of recruits who will be paying close attention to the goings on in Tempe, Ariz., this weekend.

OL Quinn Bailey (Gilbert, Ariz./Higley): Bailey is a solid offensive lineman that both Arizona State and Washington targeted early in the process. Oregon and Arizona will have a say in what happens with Bailey's recruitment, but it's the Sun Devils and Huskies that have a chance to make a statement this weekend.


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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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Is this the week for Oklahoma? The numbers will be there for the Sooners to have a huge recruiting weekend as Oklahoma hosts several big targets for its game against TCU. And speaking of TCU, will one of its top commits switch positions in college?

Here are some of the Big 12 recruiting storylines for the week:


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Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

October, 2, 2013
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There was no movement again from Pac-12 programs in the updated team recruiting rankings, as Arizona held firm with the top spot in the conference and the No. 23 class in the country. Stanford checks in right behind the Wildcats, at No. 24 overall, while Arizona State checks in at No. 35.

Trending up: Oregon

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WeAreSC recruiting mailbag 

September, 13, 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.

Dustin Perlberg, via @dustinperlberg: Is USC even recruiting Demario Richard?


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