NCF On The Trail: Uriah Leiataua

Signing day wrap: Pac-12

February, 5, 2014
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While it was a terrific day for the Pac-12 overall, USC stole the signing day spotlight on Wednesday, hitting for the cycle in landing its top four targets.

The day began well for new coach Steve Sarkisian, as three-star cornerback Lamont Simmons (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines) faxed over his signature, but that was only an appetizer for the Trojans. With 19 scholarships available this year -- NCAA sanctions limited the Trojans to just 15 scholarships in this class and USC was able to roll four unused rides over from the 2013 class -- Simmons took the class to 16. Left on the board were a trio of Southern California ESPN 300 prospects in No. 9 overall prospect, cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), No. 24 overall prospect, athlete John "JuJu" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and No. 67 overall prospect, offensive guard Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco).

[+] EnlargeJohn
Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY SportsJohn "JuJu" Smith was part of a huge signing day for USC.
Sarkisian and the Trojans were able to land all three, giving USC one of the best signing days of any program in the country. The signings give USC 19 additions in the 2014 class, including nine ESPN 300 pledges, one ESPN JC 50 prospect and impact players on both sides of the ball. There is really no way to overstate how well Sarkisian and the Trojans closed on signing day, posting what amounted to a perfect day.

The Trojans wound up with the No. 1 class in the Pac-12, but the rankings in the conference were bunched at the top.

Stanford made a huge run late, landing commitments from all six recruits it targeted over the past two months. The Cardinal added signatures from ESPN 300 defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Tex./Coppell) -- at No. 25 overall, the highest rated Stanford addition since ESPN began its rankings in 2006 -- and three-star cornerback Terrence Alexander (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian). Though the Cardinal lost a late commitment from defensive end Uriah Leiataua (Compton, Calif./Dominguez), it was a very strong visit and a terrific class headed to the Farm.

Alexander wasn't the only recruit from John Curtis Christian to commit to the Pac-12, as Oregon and UCLA took their biggest commitments of the day from that program. The Ducks landed ESPN 300 safety Mattrell McGraw, while UCLA picked up its lone signing day commit in Kenny Young.

Oregon missed out on Smith and defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio/Earl Warren) but was able to land safety Khalil Oliver (Meridian, Id./Rocky Mountain) in a battle against Washington.

UCLA coaches will likely be disappointed with the day. Although the Bruins did reel in Young, UCLA missed on Thomas, No. 1 overall wide receiver Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian) and the Southern California trio, which made matters worse for Jim Mora & Co. by committing to the Trojans. UCLA brought a very good recruiting class into signing day and did a good job of holding onto everybody, but the Bruins took some big swings at some big prospects across the country and didn't get the results they were hoping for.

Arizona State slid a few spots in the national rankings, but the Sun Devils did everything they could on signing day. Todd Graham brought a relatively full class into the day and was able to add two huge signatures in ESPN JC 50 prospects defensive tackle Dalvon Stuckey (De Funiak Springs, Fla./Pearl River CC) and cornerback Kweishi Brown (El Cajon, Calif./Grossmont). The Sun Devils were also able to hold onto another junior college standout in wide receiver Eric Lauderdale (Fayetteville, Ga./Saddleback College), who received a significant late push from Florida.

Arizona was relatively quiet. The Wildcats brought in a huge list of verbal commitments and didn't lose anybody off the top of the class, landing five ESPN 300 prospects. Defensive tackle Marcus Griffin (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) was the big addition, as the big lineman selected Arizona over Cal, Mississippi State and Washington State.

Oregon State grabbed a signature from offensive guard Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch), who will play defensive tackle for the Beavers. Utah announced defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham) as a part of this class after he attempted to sign with the Utes in 2013.

Washington's big addition came Tuesday night in the form of ESPN 300 safety Bishard "Budda" Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue), but Chris Petersen and the Huskies also received a signing day commitment from intriguing 6-foot-5 receiver Brayden Lenius (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade). The Washington State Cougars closed with their second four-star commitment in this class, safety Deion Singleton (Paco, Wash./Chiawana).

But the day in the West belonged to USC, which jumped from No. 4 in the conference to landing the Pac-12's top 2014 recruiting class. Nationally, the Trojans moved from No. 24 to No. 15 overall.

Stanford (15th), Arizona State (21st) and Arizona (23rd) all finished among the top 25 recruiting classes in the nation.

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.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

November, 25, 2013
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The weekend didn't offer as much recruiting action in the Pac-12 as the hectic days of early last week, but there were still several commitments in the conference and a number of big performance's from Pac-12 programs and recruits. Despite Arizona State grabbing the most important win and sending a message to recruits across the region, UCLA was a big winner on the recruiting trail, getting a number of top prospects to the Rose Bowl and reeling in a commitment from a 2015 standout that ranks No. 1 at his position.


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Recruits watching Stanford at USC 

November, 15, 2013
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While it's true again that one game won't tell the recruiting fortunes of either Stanford or USC, it's also fair to say that this is a very important game for the Trojans. Stanford is sitting at 16 solid verbal commitments and with the No. 2 class in the Pac-12. The Cardinal’s goal between now and signing day is to close the deal with several impact uncommitted recruits still on the board.

But USC, with only nine commitments, has an opportunity to make a huge statement to recruits in both the 2014 and 2015 classes on Saturday night. A win would give interim head coach Ed Orgeron even more momentum toward taking the position on a permanent basis, which would infuse even more energy and success into the recruiting efforts for the Trojans. Even with a positive showing, it wouldn't be a surprise to hear high profile recruits pick up the chatter about their interest in USC.

Here are 10 impact recruits who will have their sights set on the Coliseum, as USC hosts Stanford.

2015 WR Cordell Broadus (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar): Broadus made waves when he now famously said following the dismissal of former USC head coach Lane Kiffin, "He should have been fired a while ago." Broadus said he was very much looking forward to what USC will do at the head coaching position and is excited about the future of the Trojans. He'll be in attendance Saturday night and will be looking to experience, first-hand, the direction of the program under Orgeron.

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Recruits react to Stanford's big win 

November, 8, 2013
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In a game in which few people outside Stanford's fan base, players and committed recruits thought it had any chance to beat Oregon, the Cardinal proved that they belong among the nation's elite programs. It was a 26-20 victory that had Stanford's recruits throwing out terms such as "national powerhouse" and believing things could get even better for "Nerd Nation" on the recruiting trail.


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Recruits watching: Oregon-Stanford 

November, 7, 2013
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This marquee matchup will likely have fewer recruits in attendance than any showdown between top-10 teams this season due to the game taking place on Thursday night and Stanford's desire to not bring in official visitors during the season. But plenty of eyes will be glued to televisions, as a number of top recruits will be watching Oregon travel to Stanford for a game that will likely decide the Pac-12 North representative in the conference championship game.

While the Cardinal and Ducks don't battle over many of the same prospects, here are 10 recruits who will definitely be taking a look at what Oregon and Stanford have to offer.

Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue): The No. 9 safety in the country was blown away when he watched Oregon take on Washington earlier this fall. Although he will continue to look at the Huskies -- as well as Notre Dame, Texas A&M and UCLA -- it's the Ducks who likely have the lead in the race for the No. 147 overall prospect.

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Most important targets: Pac-12 

October, 22, 2013
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After a few weeks of additions and subtractions to the Pac-12's recruiting classes, it's time to take another look at the most important target in the 2014 class for each program. While some schools are still in search of the same recruit from our previous report, others have either missed or reeled in that target and are on to another. A number of local prospects dot the list, while Stanford chases a national prospect -- and the top recruit in the West is heard from several times.


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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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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

October, 7, 2013
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Two unofficial visits highlight something of a quiet weekend in the Pac-12, where there were only four home games in the conference. While Washington and Arizona State came close to making national statements, nothing meant more than Stanford's home win in front of ESPN 300 prospects. At the high school level, Pac-12 quarterback targets shone brightly last week, while a new name could be close to joining several conference recruiting boards.

Biggest commitment: Colorado showed some fight against Oregon, but still obviously doesn't have enough to hang with the class of the Pac-12. But the Buffaloes rebounded nicely on the recruiting trail Sunday evening, scoring a verbal commitment from running back Jomon Dotson (American Canyon, Calif./American Canyon). Dotson -- a highly-recruited and dynamic athlete -- holds offers from Arizona State, Iowa State, Nevada, Northwestern, San Jose State and Yale, among others. The 5-foot-10, 160-pound back is the kind of offensive weapon that Colorado could look to get on the field early in his career. Dotson will take his official visit to Colorado in December.

Biggest offer: Stanford made noise on Sunday night when the coaches extended an offer to defensive end Uriah Leiataua (Compton, Calif./Dominguez). It's a huge offer for Leiataua, who adds it to offers from Colorado, Washington State, Wisconsin, and others. Leiataua has already taken an official visit to Wisconsin and has been looking hard at Washington State, but this offer from Stanford could vault the Cardinal right into the mix. Leiataua is a 6-foot-3, 232-pound defensive end who would likely fit well into the Stanford front seven. It should also be noted that Stanford found some success with the last prospect they reeled in from Compton Centennial -- cornerback Richard Sherman. It wouldn't be surprising to see offers begin piling up for Leiataua now that Stanford has entered the picture.

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