Friday, August 2, 2013
Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Aug. 2
By Erik McKinney
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
No Pac-12 program was hotter last weekend than Arizona, which rounded up six commitments over the course of four days. The Wildcats kept that momentum going this past week, as they added a commitment from junior college linebacker Antonio Smothers (Scottsdale, Ariz./Scottsdale Community College). His commitment is a big one, considering there are as many as seven defensive backs in Arizona's 2014 class, but Smothers became the first true linebacker to join. While Arizona has the most verbal commits in the 2014 class, Arizona State has one of the smallest classes to this point. But the Sun Devils are getting hot as well. After ESPN 300 cornerback Tyler Whiley (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) joined the class last week, Arizona State added ESPN 300 wide receiver Nick Alexander (Lancaster, Texas/Lancaster) and offensive guard Alex Anderson (New Orleans/O. Perry Walker) over the weekend. Outside linebacker Christian Sam (Allen, Texas/Allen) made his commitment on Thursday, and the Sun Devils appear ready to keep rolling on the recruiting trail, with committed quarterback Manny Wilkins (Novato, Calif./San Marin) leading the way.
Cardinal have national appeal
Speaking of staying hot, Stanford is on a bit of a recruiting run right now. After offering and getting an immediate commitment from four-star outside linebacker Jordan Perez (Carlsbad, Calif./Carlsbad) last weekend, the Cardinal added commitments from offensive guard Austin Hall (Phoenix/Brophy Prep) and safety Denzel Franklin (Atlanta/Pace Academy). All three commitments proved how much power Stanford still has in recruiting. It took Perez no time at all to commit, Hall had Stanford positioned as his dream school, and Franklin sat on the offer for a little less than one day. They also show that Stanford recruits nationally as well as any program in the country, as its 12 commitments hail from eight different states.
Ducks lose a top target
It wasn't all additions for the Pac-12 this week, as one of the more interesting recruiting stories of the season came to light this past Monday. ESPN 300 outside linebacker Jordan Hoiem (Wailuku, Hawaii/Baldwin) -- the top-ranked player in the state and No. 256 recruit overall -- announced his decommitment, not only from Oregon, but from football altogether.
“I know it's going to attract negative attention, but it's something people won't understand," Hoiem told Andrew Greif of The Oregonian. "People won't accept it, but I had to do it because it was something I really didn't enjoy.”
Hoiem added that he would leave open the possibility of returning to the sport, but for now, the Ducks will need to deal with his departure from the class. While it's unlikely the Ducks suffer too much, considering their national reputation and their penchant for uncovering lanky, edge defenders who fit their scheme, Hoiem's story will be one to keep an eye on as the year progresses.
Bruins looking to bounce back
It looked as though UCLA was poised to go back-to-back with unbelievably strong offensive line classes. And while the Bruins will likely still reel in a few impressive big bodies thanks to offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, losing junior college standouts and one-time commitments Dominick Jackson (San Mateo, Calif./College of San Mateo) and Jermaine Eluemunor (Rockaway, N.J./Lackawanna) to Alabama and Arkansas, respectively, was a blow. Like last year, the Bruins will look across the country for linemen but won't forget about the ones close to home, evidenced by an offer extended to offensive guard Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch) on Thursday night. UCLA was also able to focus some attention on the defensive side of the ball this week, as the Bruins gained a commitment from safety Ron Robinson (Corona, Calif./Santiago) and could pair him with another talented safety in JoJo McIntosh (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade), who will announce his commitment between the Bruins and Boise State on Friday.
Cal hosts 2015 lineman
Class of 2015 ESPN 300 offensive guard Zach Okun (Newbury Park, Calif./Newbury Park) mentioned several times that he wanted to make a trip to Berkeley this summer. On Friday, the 6-foot-3, 320-pound linemen will indeed take a visit to see head coach Sonny Dykes' program.
Cal is one of the intriguing teams in the conference right now, considering there are more questions surrounding the program than perhaps any other in the Pac-12. From the way the players will rebound from a 3-9 season to what the offense and defense will look like under Dykes, not much will be settled until the first game of the season. One thing the staff has done thus far is recruit, and recruit well.
2014 quarterback commitment Luke Rubenzer (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro) was with his team for their training camp at Biola University in La Mirada (Calif.) this past week and he shared his enthusiasm for what is going on at Cal.
"They'll surprise people this year," Rubenzer said. "I keep telling people they're going to be a surprise. They're going to be right there in those big games against Ohio State and USC and those teams."
Rubenzer has also been doing his part for the recruiting class. He's friendly with fellow commits Jalen Harvey (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) and Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and said he's working on getting several uncommitted players to at least visit, including Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), Braxton Berrios (Raleigh, N.C./Leesville Road) and 2015 teammate Christian Kirk (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro).