- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
Though several Pac-12 teams gained commitments over the past week, Stanford stole the show with a huge pickup on Saturday. Wednesday’s class rankings reflect the Cardinal’s big day, as David Shaw’s program jumped several spots and widened the gap between its top class and Arizona, which holds firm at No. 2 in the conference.
Trending up: Stanford
The Cardinal moved from No. 30 to No. 27, thanks to the commitments of three-star defenders Joey Alfieri (Portland, Ore./Jesuit), Kirk Tucker (Tucker, Ga./Tucker) and Bobby Okereke (Tustin, Calif./Foothill). Stanford already holds the Pac-12’s top recruiting class and could be poised to close in a big way, as ESPN 300 prospects Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Tex./Coppell), Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), Dalton Schultz (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham), Garrett Dickerson (Oradell, NJ/Bergen Catholic) and Nifae Lealao (Sacramento, Calif./Capital Christian) all have the Cardinal on their short lists.
Trending down: Oregon
Don’t expect the Ducks to stay down for long, as they are sure to shoot up the rankings when official visits begin and that high-powered attack and those flashy uniforms hit the field this fall. But for now, things haven’t been going the Ducks' way on the recruiting trail. They lost a big commitment two weeks ago when ESPN 300 linebacker Jordan Hoiem (Wailuku, Hawaii/Baldwin) made the decision to quit football. In state, the Ducks weren’t able to lock up the top talent, as Alfieri is headed to Stanford while ESPN 300 defensive end Connor Humphreys (Portland, Ore./Central Catholic) never received an Oregon offer.
One to watch: Connor Humphreys
Humphreys will announce his decision on Saturday, with five schools in the running to land his verbal commitment. The Pac-12 is well represented, as his finalists are Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, USC and Wisconsin. This could be a big in-state get for the Beavers, although Humphreys enjoyed unofficial visits to UCLA and Wisconsin.
Bold prediction: Pac-12 closes strong
With 11 of the top 20 West recruits still uncommitted, the Pac-12 will finish with commitments from at least eight of them. So much talk this off-season has been about other power conferences coming in and stealing the West’s talent, as schools such as Texas A&M, Michigan and Alabama have caught the attention -- and three top-12 commitments -- of top West recruits. But when the Pac-12 teams hit the field this fall and show how improved the conference is from top to bottom, the region’s recruits will shift their attention much closer to home.