Thursday, November 14, 2013
Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Nov. 14
By Erik McKinney
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
ESPN 300 guard Damien Mama will be among a star-studded group of recruits headed to USC to see the Trojans play Stanford.
The first time this season that USC coaches looked to load up the Coliseum sidelines with recruits, it backfired in a big way, as a number of Trojans targets were in attendance for a 10-7 loss to Washington State that had fans booing and the recruits close to writing off USC. Fast forward two months, and it appears the Trojans are looking to make another big impact this weekend with another head coach. Not only are virtually all of the Trojans' 2014 verbal commitments planning to be in attendance, it looks as though USC could receive visits from ESPN 300 prospects Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) and possibly Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra). The 2015 class figured to be well represented as well, with quarterback Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), cornerback Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and wide receivers Cordell Broadus (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar) and Kanya Bell (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar) attending the game, among others.
Oregon's big visitors
Oregon will have an opportunity to right itself on the field, as the Ducks host Utah following a tough loss to Stanford. It will also get a chance to make a statement on the recruiting trail, as at least three official visitors will be on hand. Committed quarterback Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) won't need to hear a recruiting pitch from the coaches, but he'll definitely be giving one of his own to ESPN 300 safety Bishard Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) and four-star offensive tackle Chris Brown (Los Angeles/Loyola). Baker, the No. 147 overall prospect, will be taking his first official visit and this is a trip that could give the Ducks a permanent edge over hometown Washington and Pac-12 rival UCLA.
Three-star defensive tackle Marcus Griffin (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) is back on the market this week after announcing his decommitment from Washington State. The 6-foot-2, 299-pound lineman will still consider the Cougars, but offers from California and Washington, as well as increasing interest from UCLA, could turn this into an interesting recruitment. Bruins coaches are using the success of true freshman Myles Jack, who attended the same high school as Griffin and Baker, on the recruiting trail.
ESPN 300 defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central East) plans to hit the road this weekend, taking an unofficial visit to Arizona State. There has been plenty of buzz surrounding the Sun Devils and Smallwood, who likes what Will Sutton has been able to do in the middle of the Arizona State defense and believes he could develop into the same type of player. Smallwood took an official visit to Oklahoma earlier this fall, but the Sun Devils could make a statement this weekend.
Big opportunity for Washington schools
There won't be a ton of recruits in attendance for UCLA's home game against Washington on Friday night, as the playoffs get going in Southern California. But it's a big game for both schools in terms of recruiting. The Huskies always look to make an impact in Los Angeles and this is Washington's one trip to the region this year. On the other side of the state, Washington State has a similar opportunity against a Pac-12 South member, as the Huskies travel to Arizona to take on the Wildcats. The Cougars have hit something of a lull in recruiting, with just one commitment since the end of September, as they have dropped three games in a row. A win this weekend would allow them to take some momentum into their final home game, and then the Apple Cup showdown at Washington.