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Monday, September 2, 2013
Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12

By Erik McKinney

There were some big positives from Pac-12 programs during college football’s opening weekend, as Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Utah and Washington all posted victories. The wins from the Bruins, Ducks and Huskies came in front of a large number of recruits, and, while there were no visible results in the form of verbal commitments, they definitely made an impression with everybody in attendance.

Biggest offer: The USC coaches are notorious for getting a jump on recruiting, which means Sept. 1 is a busy time at the John McKay Center. A number of recruits tweeted on Sunday that USC was the first school to contact them -- seniors may receive one phone call per week beginning and juniors may begin receiving recruiting material beginning on Sept. 1 -- and at least three big offers went out from the Trojans to players in the 2015 class. The first went to 2015 ESPN 300 defensive tackle Tim Settle (Manassas, Va./Stonewall Jackson), the No. 7 player in the country and No. 2 defensive tackle. Another went to 2015 ESPN 300 wide receiver Christian Kirk (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro), the No. 37 player in the country and No. 3 wide receiver. The third went to 2015 ESPN 300 outside linebacker Malik Jefferson (Mesquite, Texas/Poteet), the No. 64 overall player and No. 3 outside linebacker. All three recruits hold impressive offer sheets, but the Trojans have entered the race for them.

Best performance by a commit/target: Arizona quarterback commit Brandon Dawkins (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) put on a show in a 51-50 win against Bakersfield (Calif.) on Friday night. Dawkins completed 20 of 34 passes for 395 yards and six touchdowns. But he wasn’t the only quarterback who stood out. 2015 ESPN 300 quarterback Brady White (Newhall, Calif./Hart) completed 37 of 48 passes for 442 yards and three touchdowns, and added 57 yards and two scores on the ground.

Sticking on the offensive side of the ball but moving into the backfield, Oregon commit Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial) had a huge game, rushing 22 times for 340 yards and five touchdowns. The scary thing for future opponents is that those numbers might not be the biggest ones he posts during his senior season.

Most important visit: Anytime you can get the nation’s No. 1 quarterback on campus, it’s a big deal. That was the case Saturday night, when Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) -- the top-ranked quarterback in the 2015 class -- took an unofficial visit to UCLA with some teammates amidst a large number of recruits. Though Stanford looked to be the early leader, California has made recent noise in his recruitment and Rosen has said that he doesn’t feel much desire to stay local for the next level. The Bruins definitely put their best foot forward in showcasing the quarterback position in a blowout win over Nevada.

Biggest answer: Washington’s fans and recruits all wondered what would happen when the Huskies hosted nationally-ranked Boise State to open the renovated Husky Stadium over the weekend. We all found out quickly and emphatically, as Washington cruised to a big win over the Broncos. Any questions about whether head coach Steve Sarkisian has the program continuing on an upward trajectory after three seven-win seasons were temporarily alleviated, as all signs point to a big season from the Huskies. A number of Washington’s commits were there, as were several big targets -- four-star running back Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale) among them -- who raved out the experience and atmosphere.

Biggest question: Can Oregon State bounce back? It was a rough weekend for the Beavers, dropping a game against FCS opponent Eastern Washington, but it will be important for Mike Riley’s program to get back to its winning ways with a home game against Hawaii next weekend. Several important recruits will be in attendance -- including Jalen Brown (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe) and Alex Van Dyke (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks) -- so putting together a good effort will be imperative. The Beavers don’t generate a ton of recruiting press, but after last season, they have put themselves in the mix for some very talented four-star prospects in the West. Grabbing that momentum back will be big for their future success.