February 1, 2006

Pac-10 Breakdown

When you beat almost every team in the country, certainly you figure to top the recruiting rankings in your conference, and Southern Cal does. The Trojans signed a star-studded class with some big pickups late, particularly on their home turf.

However, Arizona, California and UCLA all put together impressive classes that ranked well nationally. Check out the results.

Breaking down the Pac-10
1. Southern Cal National Rank: 1st
Does this ever get old for Trojans fans? USC will sign another elite group that will finish on top nationally for the third time in three years. Pete Carroll and Co. closed as strong as anybody else in the nation, pulling in blue-chipper after blue-chipper as Signing Day rapidly approached.
Biggest recruit: Allen Bradford might be the top-ranked player in California, but here's betting that Stafon Johnson, C.J. Gable and Shareece Wright end up making just as big of an impact for the Men of Troy.
Sleeper: It's hard to have sleepers when you average four stars per signee. Three-star receiver Travon Patterson isn't the tallest player in California, but he has speed to burn and could be a threat in the slot or on special teams for USC.
2. UCLA National Rank: 17th
The Bruins positioned themselves as the No. 2 class in the Pac-10 with a great early effort along the offensive line. Six offensive linemen and a long-snapper are the foundation of this class, but there is firepower on defense, too, along the line.
Biggest recruit: Receiver Terrence Austin and offensive lineman Micah Kia have the shot to be special for the Bruins. Austin is an explosive receiver with an amazing extra gear. Kia is a massive offensive lineman from Hawaii.
Sleeper: Defensive tackle Darius Savage of San Diego Morse is a massive interior d-lineman who when he's in shape might be one of the best tackles in the West. Expect UCLA to whip him into shape where he's got a shot to be an impact player.
3. Arizona National Rank: 18th
Mike Stoops is beginning to build a monster in Tucson. The Wildcats have put together two great classes in a row and this year's group was once again built off a solid local effort, a great job in California and another bang-up job in Texas. Stoops has to be smiling from ear to ear after this group.
Biggest recruit: Louis Holmes is the nation's top junior college player, and he'll be an immediate star for the Wildcats. His game is good enough to dominate in the Pac-10. On the high school level, Devin Ross is a lock-down corner who should excel under Stoops.
Sleeper: Braylon Broughton is a player the Wildcats coaches are extremely excited about. The defensive end from Dallas has an amazing frame and if he continues to grow into it, he'll be a stud.
4. California National Rank: 19th
With all the attention on Arizona, UCLA and USC, the Bears quietly signed a top 20 recruiting class. The Bear defense got a major upgrade with several impact players, but the offensive line class is also special.
Biggest recruit: Defensive end Rulon Davis was a mid-term steal from Nebraska, and defensive tackle Derrick Hill is monster in the middle who could start from day one. Darian Hagan also has great bloodlines.
Sleeper: Charles Amadi is a fantastic athlete and a spectacular student. If he's anything like some other former Cal players of Nigerian descent, like Joe Igber, Adimchinobe Echemandu and Nnamdi Asomugha, the Bears have a major talent.
5. Arizona State National Rank: 28th
The Devils are in a similar situation as Cal. Most of the attention was focused on other teams in the Pac-10, but ASU signed an impressive class that ranked in the top 30 nationally. Recruiting coordinator Tom Nordquist proved again he's one of the better recruiters in the conference by taking several quality in-state gems.
Biggest recruit: ASU landed the top two players in-state with Jermaine Williams and Gerald Munns, but juco corner Justin Tryon was a major pickup for a pass defense that needs help.
Sleeper: It's hard to call a four-star player a sleeper, but many upper-level Pac-10 teams didn't recruit linebacker Travis Goethel. It's a decision they might regret three years from now. He's that good.
6. Washington National Rank: 35th
The Huskies did miss out on the top two players in-state with five-star players Taylor Mays and Stephen Schilling, but still this Husky class has plenty of bite. UDub still more than held its own in-state and they did a good job of recruiting California and other parts of the West.
Biggest recruit: Quarterback Jake Locker has superstar written all over him. He immediately should get a shot at playing early for UDub, not because of lack of depth but because he's that good.
Sleeper: Derek Kosub of Reno (Nevada) Hug was the state player of the year and he turned down a San Diego State pledge to head to Seattle. He's a strong defender with a great motor.
7. Oregon State National Rank: 43rd
The Beavers always seemingly finish toward the middle of the pack in the Pac-10, but they always seemingly find great players that were under-ranked, under-recruited or just flat out missed. There are several in this group that should continue to help OSU make the climb back up to the top.
Biggest recruit: Four-star linebackers Joey La Rocque and Gabe Miller should be have the ability to help OSU right away. La Rocque is one of the top junior college players, regardless of position.
Sleeper: How about sleepers? Twins Devin Unga and Kevin Unga were steals from Hawaii and both could play a number of different positions for the Beavers.
8. Washington State National Rank: 46th
The Cougars landed some good junior college talent, especially at the running back spots. And local players Skylar Jessen and Andy Mattingly were solid additions for a WSU class that will rank in the top 50.
Biggest recruit: Four-star juco rusher J.T. Diederichs was one of the top available backs in the nation, and he should team with Darrell Hutsona, another juco back, to give the Cougars a nice one-two punch.
Sleeper: Kerry Maddox of Tyler, Texas, committed to WSU, de-committed to Texas State and then flipped back to the Cougars. He's a hidden East Texas talent that's got a big-time upside.
9. Oregon National Rank: 49th
Coming off a great season many people expected the Ducks to make a bigger splash on the recruiting front, but a top 50 class is what Oregon landed this year. There are plenty of good players, but not as many California top 100 prospects as in the past.
Biggest recruit: Juco offensive lineman Fenuki Tupou is one of the top players in the junior college ranks. He is a four-star lineman that should play early at either guard or tackle.
Sleeper: It's not often that Oregon heads to North Carolina to recruit players, but this year that's what they did to land sleeper rusher Remene Alston. The 5-foot-8, 180-pounder could be a nice all-purpose and special teams star for the Ducks.
10. Stanford National Rank: 53rd
The Cardinal will sign a smaller class, thus leaving it at the bottom of the Pac-10. Yet, still the class will finish around the top 60, which is a nice feat for a program that recruits only the best student athletes.
Biggest recruit: Running back Toby Gerhart broke about every record there could be for rushers in California and he could be a nice fit for Walt Harris' offense. The 6-foot-1, 228-pounder has a tough running style with a splash of quickness.
Sleeper: Seffner (Fla.) Armwood offensive guard Bert McBride has a great frame and knows how to use leverage against defenders. He could develop into a very good player for the Cardinal.

More Breakdowns:
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Big East | SEC

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