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Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Most important targets: Pac-12

By Erik McKinney


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.

Arizona
OT Andrew Mike (Tucson, Ariz./Sabino)
6-foot-6, 278 pounds

Arizona grabbed two commitments along the offensive line early this week, but you can never be in on too many big men in a recruiting class. Mike has a number of impressive offers, and the three-star tackle has narrowed things to Arizona, Arizona State, Vanderbilt and Washington, which means he would be a big get for the Wildcats.

Arizona State
OT Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton)
6-foot-6, 290 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 38

It's going to be very difficult to keep Tucker away from Stanford, but he would be a huge addition for the Sun Devils. A local star, Tucker's commitment likely would give Arizona State a true freshman starter on the offensive line and a big chip to play when courting in-state recruits. On the other side of the ball, Tucker's teammate and fellow ESPN 300 prospect, defensive end Qualen Cunningham, would be another big get for Todd Graham's program.

California
RB Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom)
6-foot-1, 209 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 100

After a tremendous start on the recruiting trail for coach Sonny Dykes, the Golden Bears have hit something of a rough patch as the losses mount on the field. But getting Mixon into this class would put things back on track in a big way. A dynamic offensive prospect, Mixon would give the Golden Bears an elite running back, and he is also a very capable receiver out of the backfield or in the slot. Not only is Mixon a local prospect, he's the type of recruit who would attract other talented recruits looking to play with him in Berkeley.

Colorado
OT Sam Jones (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge)
6-foot-5, 275 pounds

If Colorado is going to turn its program around and put itself in the mix in the Pac-12, the Buffaloes need to start keeping some of the in-state talent home. Already, two of the top five prospects in the state of Colorado have committed to other programs. Jones took an official visit to Oregon in early September and just returned from an official visit to Arizona State. The Ducks and Sun Devils could prove tough to beat -- and several other Pac-12 programs are in the mix, as well -- but if the Buffaloes continue to take steps forward this season, they'll be able to make a much stronger pitch to local recruits, including Jones.

Oregon
CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra)
5-foot-10, 182 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 6

A phenomenal talent as a cornerback, running back, wide receiver and special-teams returner, Jackson would be a weapon in any college offense. But he might be able to take his talents to another level in the Oregon attack. He is similar to former Los Angeles standout De'Anthony Thomas, who made a huge impact at running back for the Ducks. Jackson would play wide receiver for Oregon, but he might be able to make the same kind of impression. This also would be a huge recruiting victory for the Ducks, as they would beat out a number of SEC and Pac-12 programs for a top-10 recruit.

Oregon State
OT Kolton Miller (Roseville, Calif./Roseville)
6-foot-8, 281 pounds

The Beavers would love to flip Cal commit Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and add him to their skill-position haul, but of the uncommitted recruits on the board, Miller is one of the biggest targets. While Oregon State continues to put up eye-popping passing numbers, it all starts behind an offensive line that would benefit in a big way by adding Miller. Miller would give Oregon State another recruiting victory in California, over more than a few Pac-12 rivals.

Stanford
DE Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell)
6-foot-3, 256 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 31

Reeling in the aforementioned Tucker is important and would add to the Cardinal's growing legacy of offensive line recruiting, but picking up a commitment from Thomas would be huge. A national prospect, Thomas is the No. 5 defensive end in the nation and would be a big boost from a perception standpoint. Plus, he would add another talented player to the Cardinal front seven.

UCLA
CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra)
5-foot-10, 182 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 6

The Bruins might have their sights set on recruits across the country, but there is nothing more important for a Los Angeles program than locking down the local area. The Bruins already have a good mix of offensive and defensive skill talent in their 2014 class, but adding Jackson to the group would help UCLA make a statement that it is the recruiting king of the conference. The five-star Jackson has phenomenal skills that translate to defense, offense and special teams. He would give the Bruins a true talent on the field while also drawing prospects to Westwood to play alongside him.

USC
CB Adoree' Jackson
5-foot-10, 182 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 6

With so much negativity surrounding USC's start to the season, the Trojans still have a chance to get things back to normal before signing day 2014. Because Jackson won't announce his commitment until signing day, he should have all the answers to the questions surrounding USC's next head coach by then. Jackson would like to play wide receiver at the next level, and the Trojans will definitely pitch the fact that walk-on receivers are being called on to play significant snaps due to injuries and a lack of bodies at the position. That could be a factor for a recruit looking to get on the field early. Jackson is also a must-get for USC as the Trojans look to keep their pipeline into Serra open; Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and George Farmer are three former Cavaliers who signed with USC.

Utah
TE Dalton Schultz (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham)
6-foot-6, 235 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 153

As is the case with Colorado, keeping in-state talent home will be big for Utah as Kyle Whittingham's program looks to make its presence felt in the Pac-12. Schultz has his sights set on several Pac-12 programs, including Stanford and Washington, but the big tight end will give the hometown Utes a long look. This relationship between recruit and program is similar to a number of others on this list. Schultz would serve as a recruiting victory over rival programs and would serve notice to local recruits in the 2015 and 2016 classes that there is no need to look out of state for a future home.

Washington
S Budda Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue)
5-foot-9, 174
ESPN 300 rank: 141

Another local prospect on the list, Baker has said in the past that he isn't looking to go far for college, but he also has said that Notre Dame and Texas A&M have his interest, in addition to Oregon and UCLA. Keeping Baker in state would be a huge recruiting victory for the Huskies and coach Steve Sarkisian, who signed just two of the state's top 10 recruits in the 2013 class.

Washington State
DE Uriah Leiataua (Compton, Calif./Dominguez)
6-foot-3, 232-pounds

There are higher-rated prospects on the Cougars' board, but reeling in Leiataua would make a resounding statement. Washington State was able to get the three-star defensive end on campus for an official visit, but he also took one to Wisconsin and received a recent offer from Stanford. The Cougars have taken a step forward on the defensive side of the ball this season, and adding Leiataua would help serve notice that another one could be coming.