Grading the recruiting classes: Pac-12

February, 5, 2015
Feb 5

Here's a team-by-team breakdown of the 2015 recruiting classes in the Pac-12.


1. USC Trojans

National rank: 3

Coach Steve Sarkisian's first full class is very impressive, as more than half are in the ESPN 300. The Trojans proved they could close as well with five-star corner Iman Marshall and Serra teammates John Houston Jr, the No. 1 ILB, and Rasheem Green, the No. 8 DT announcing on signing day. They also have commitments from two of the nation's best quarterbacks, No. 115 Sam Darnold and No. 124 Ricky Town, who flipped from Alabama. The Trojans added ESPN 300 RB Ronald Jones II at the Under Armour Game. Protecting those future QBs will be No. 21 Chuma Edoga and three-star Roy Hemsley. Future USC pass-catchers are junior college prospects Isaac Whitney and De'Quan Hampton and ESPN 300 tight end Tyler Petite, who flipped from Duke. On defense, No. 141 Jacob Daniel is a key pledge on the interior, and three-star Noah Jefferson is full of upside at tackle. ESPN 300 inside linebacker Cameron Smith (No. 300) is a run-stuffer, and was joined in January by No. 77 Osa Masina. No. 137 Isaiah Langley is one of the top cover corners in the country. The Trojans added No. 99 Marvell Tell and No. 286 Ykili Ross on Jan. 4. Porter Gustin was a big get just prior to signing day. He has the physical tools to be a presence off the edge.

To see the rest of the grades from the Pac-12, click here. Insider


UCLA makes signing day splash

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
LOS ANGELES -- Smug isn't the right word, because it wasn't smugness. But it wasn't full-blown humility, either. For now, let's call it a profound sense of satisfaction as UCLA coach Jim Mora stood at the podium and ran off the highlights of the Bruins' 2015 recruiting class.

"Depending on what stock you put into rankings or what recruiting service you look at, as we stand here right now, we have the No. 1 average star rating in the United States of America," Mora said. "The No. 1 quarterback [Josh Rosen], the No. 1 running back [Soso Jamabo], the No. 1 tight end [Chris Clark], the No. 1 offensive guard [or center, Fred Ulu-Perry] and the No. 1 offensive line class in America. That's pretty impressive."

The day started at 3:15 a.m. PT at the IHOP in Encino, California, over a stack of buttermilk pancakes. And 13 hours later, Mora and his staff were the talk of signing day.

[+] EnlargeJim Mora
Joe Robbins/Getty Images"On national TV, guys were pulling out UCLA hats," Jim Mora said. "I'm not going to lie to you, that feels pretty good."
Three years ago, Mora was a college football outsider. His hiring was met with raised eyebrows, and many questioned whether a coach who spent so much time in the NFL could jump right into the shark tank that is recruiting. And not just any region -- but Southern California -- where he'd be going head-to-head with USC. Three years later (and three straight wins over the Trojans) Mora has deafened his critics with a resounding eight clap that rippled across seven different states Wednesday.

"I never doubted myself or that I couldn't do the job," Mora said. "I'm sure I had a little apprehension because I'd never done it before, but I never doubted whether I could do it. I don't hold grudges or harbor feelings.

"On national TV, guys were pulling out UCLA hats. I'm not going to lie to you, that feels pretty good. When on national TV there's an Ohio State hat and a UCLA hat and a Michigan hat and they pick up that beautiful UCLA hat and put it on, it feels pretty good."

To be fair, it's not like the Trojans flopped. Some have ranked USC's haul -- which includes 16 players in the ESPN 300 -- as high as No. 1 in the country. Most agree USC's class is top three. UCLA's rankings vary from No. 4 ( to No. 13 ( and No. 11 (ESPN).

The Bruins might boost their ranking further if Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith ends up picking UCLA. Smith, the No. 29 recruit, according to the ESPN 300, announced he was headed to UCLA. But news broke Wednesday that new Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn was pursuing UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich as his linebackers coach, and that gave Smith pause.

"Jeff has assured me he has not come to a conclusion yet," said Mora, who promoted Ulbrich last year when Lou Spanos departed for the NFL. "He is contemplating whether or not he wants to do that. I'm going to fight tooth and nail to keep him here because I think he's an outstanding coach. He's been very forthright with the recruits that signed today in communicating where he stands. He's also reached out to the parents. He's handled this well."

Because Smith hasn't signed a national letter of intent, Mora is not allowed to comment on him. He did say he was "hopeful" they would add more names to the 2015 class.

Mora hasn't given Ulbrich a timetable for a decision -- at least not yet. But his possible departure is likely tied to Smith's decision.

"We haven't gotten there yet," Mora said. "… I'm not ready to put that pressure on him yet. The fact that he's been in contact with recruits is the right way to handle it. I'm going to fight like crazy to keep that sucker. It's going to be a heck of a battle because Dan Quinn is also a fighter."

Even if they lose out on Smith, this year's group marks a big win for Mora & Co. Last year, they watched a lot of those same UCLA hats stay on the table rather than end up on heads. UCLA closed the 2014 recruiting season with the No. 26 class. This year, the momentum built early and kept rolling as the Bruins were the biggest movers on signing day.

"There are always triumphs and there are always disappointments," Mora said. "There are guys you think you're going to get and they slip somewhere else for some reason and then there's guys you don't think you're going to get, and you get them. And it's exciting. And when it all comes together, yes, it feels very good."
Each of the four teams in the inaugural College Football Playoff relied on a freshman or two, and some in valuable positions.

Here are five teams that helped their playoff chances with the recruiting classes signed on national signing day.


Stop, for a moment, at the close of another wild and unpredictable signing day, and remember these eight therapeutic words: Not a single football game was played Wednesday.

Now, proceed to lose your mind.

In possibly the final signing day of its kind, college football grabbed the spotlight for its annual, offseason showcase of the bizarre. Winners and losers emerged. Mostly, though, it went off about as scripted -- and by that, we mean totally, beautifully unscripted.

[+] EnlargeSoso Jamabo
Matt Garnett/Icon SportswireSoso Jamabo helped start signing day, and UCLA's run, with his commitment to the Bruins.
Wednesday out West, signs pointed to a raising of the stakes in the Pac-12.

UCLA won the morning with big scores over Michigan for tight end Chris Clark, Texas for athlete Soso Jamabo, Georgia for No. 2 outside linebacker Roquan Smith -- more on Smith later -- and Oklahoma for offensive guard Joshua Wariboko.

The Bruins later snagged receiver Cordell Broadus, son of Snoop Dogg, but by mid-afternoon, the fireworks shifted to the USC Trojans' side of town.

USC won out for top-ranked inside linebacker John Houston Jr., No. 1 cornerback Iman Marshall and defensive tackle Rasheem Green Wednesday, along with athlete Porter Gustin, linebacker Osa Masina and defensive tackle Kevin Scott earlier in January. The Trojans' late rush helped their class finish No. 3 overall.

National champion Ohio State of the Big Ten made a morning splash by retaining the commitment of quarterback Torrance Gibson, who gave late consideration to Auburn and LSU. The Buckeyes flipped offensive tackle Isaiah Prince from Alabama's No. 1 class, which was otherwise largely put to bed weeks ago.

Texas flipped safety P.J. Locke from Oregon to punctuate Charlie Strong's 29-man, No. 9-ranked class that might signal the return to prominence of the Longhorns.

And the SEC added its share of drama, starting with the Auburn-Florida battles, in which former Gators coach Will Muschamp loomed large.

Muschamp's new program beat his old one for linebacker Jeffery Holland and the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, defensive end Byron Cowart of Seffner (Florida) Armwood.

Cowart, though, failed to fax his signed letter of intent to Auburn for some seven hours while reports bounced back and forth about his eventual decision.

Clearly, he was torn, feeling compelled to consider Florida coach Jim McElwain and his staff, on the job for two months.

"It's not their fault they're new," Cowart said. "In the recruiting process, [coaches] tell you what you want to hear, and when you get there, everything switches."

So ultimately, Cowart went with Auburn -- and the coach he trusted.

The Tigers, after the great start, lost No. 1 offensive tackle Martez Ivey and second-rated defensive end CeCe Jefferson to Florida and top-ranked defensive tackle Terry Beckner Jr. to Missouri.

Tennessee claimed victory with the signing of elite defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, a longtime commitment out of California, and the late flip of offensive tackle Drew Richmond from Ole Miss to secure the nation's fifth-rated class -- No. 2 in the SEC.

Ranked No. 1 nationally, for the fourth straight year, was the Crimson Tide.

"One of the very good things about this class is we didn't have a lot of drama today," Alabama coach Nick Saban said. "These guys have been committed to us for a while.
"That's not the way to get the most attention from the media, but that certainly speaks highly of what a commitment means."

LSU, with its new all-star cast of recruiters headlined by Ed Orgeron, finished with good news early in the week on defensive end Arden Key, followed by the Wednesday addition of guard Toby Weathersby -- a former Texas pledge -- and the flip of receiver Brandon Martin from Missouri.

Martin punctuated his change of heart with this hashtag on Twitter.

And then there was the case of Smith, the linebacker out of Macon County High School in Montezuma, Georgia, who announced his choice of UCLA over Georgia on ESPNU but never faxed his letter of intent.

Why? Because in the moments after signing, Smith learned from reporters at his school -- as Georgia coaches furiously called with the same news -- that UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich was up for a job as the Atlanta Falcons' linebackers coach.

Ulbrich recruited Smith, who plans to wait "a couple days to figure things out," Macon County coach Larry Harold told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Ah, there's nothing quite like signing day, which could change considerably for the next class of recruits if a proposal is approved this spring by the Division I conference commissioners to add a three-day early signing period in December.

So, if this was the last of its kind -- with the full-on drama and star power that only a once-a-year event can provide -- then signing day as we know it went out in style.

Completed class: Oregon State Beavers

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
Oregon State has announced its 2015 class:

Paul Lucas RB -- Mountain Pointe High School, Arizona

Christian Folau ILB -- East High School, Utah
Jalen Moore S -- Upland High School, California
Jay Irvine S -- Sandalwood High School, Florida
Zach Lopini Katoa RB -- American Fork High School, Utah
Deltron Sands RB -- Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, Florida
Shawn Wilson ATH -- Pomona High School, California
Simitali Moala DE --, Californiathedral High School, California
Tuli Wily-Matagi ATH -- Kahuku High School, Hawaii
Omar Hicks-Onu S -- Hebron High School, Texas
Miki Fifita OG -- IMG Academy, Florida
Elu Aydon DT -- Leone High School, American Somoa
Blake Brandel OT -- Central, Californiatholic High School, Oregon
Taylor Thomas RB -- Ed H. White High School, Florida
Zach Lucas OT -- James E. Taylor High School, Texas
Thor Katoa OLB -- Pine View High School, Utah
Seth Collins QB-DT -- Granite Hills High School, California

Noah Togiai DE -- Hunter High School, Utah
Hamilton Hunt OLB -- West Salem High School, Oregon
Nick Porebski K -- Snow College, Utah
Treston Decoud S -- Northwest Mississippi Comm. College, Louisiana
Brayden Kearlsey OT -- Brigham Young University, Utah

Completed class: Stanford Cardinal

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
Stanford has announced its 2015 class:

ESPN 300
Trent Irwin WR -- William S. Hart High School, California
Frank Buncom IV S -- Saint Augustine High School, California
Ben Edwards S -- Trinity Christian Academy, Florida
Bryce Love RB -- Wake Forest High School, North Carolina
Nick Wilson OG -- Milton High School, Georgia

Brian Chaffin OC -- Charlotte Christian School, North Carolina

Quenton Meeks S -- Del Norte High School, California
Dylan Jackson OT -- Maryville High School, Tennessee
Gabe Reid DE -- Timpview High School, Utah
Cameron Scarlett RB -- Central Catholic High School, Oregon
Jordan Fox OLB -- Saint Peter's Prep, New Jersey
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside WR -- Dorman High School, South Carolina
Jack Dreyer OT -- Junipero Serra High School, California
Jake Bailey K -- Santa Fe Christian School, California
Jay Tyler ATH -- Isidore Newman School, Louisiana
Mustafa Branch OLB -- Bellevue High School WA
Justin Reid S -- Dutchtown High School, Louisiana
Wesley Annan DT -- Lake Forest Academy, Illinois
Austin Maihen OG -- Santa Margarita Catholic High School, California
Reagan Williams ILB -- Jackson High School, Ohio
Casey Toohill OLB -- Cathedral Catholic High School, California
Houston Heimuli FB -- Bountiful High School, Utah

Completed class: California Golden Bears

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
Cal has announced its 2015 class:

ESPN 300
Carlos Strickland WR Skyline High School, Texas

Lonny Powell RB Sacramento High School, California
Ross Bowers QB-PP Bothell High School, Washington

Jaylinn Hawkins WR Buena Park High School, California
Semisi Uluave OG Punahou School, Hawaii
Russell Ude DT Westminster School, Georgia
Greyson Bankhead WR Centennial High School, California
Malik Psalms CB Ayala High School, California
Antoine Albert CB Diablo Valley College, California
Ryan Gibson OG Saint Stanislaus High School, Mississippi
Kanawai Noa WR Punahou School, Hawaii
Austin Aaron WR Napa High School, California
Derron Williams-Brown S Mesa Community College, Arizona
DeVante Wilson DE Riverside Community College, California
Luc Bequette DT, Catholic High School For Boys, Arkansas
Evan Rambo ATH La Salle High School, California
Patrick Mekari OT Westlake High School, California
Zeandae Johnson TE-Y Central High School, California
DePriest Turner QB-DT Murphy High School, Alabama
Billy Ray McCrary III ATH Rouse High School, Texas
Brandon Singleton WR Hahnville High School, Louisiana
Trevor Howard DE Oaks Christian High School, California
Cameron Saffle DE Skyline High School, Washington

Dylan Klumph K Golden West College, California

Completed class: Colorado Buffaloes

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
Colorado has announced its 2015 class:

Tim Lynott OG -- Regis Jesuit High School, Colorado
Patrick Carr RB -- The Woodlands High School, Texas
Donald Gordon RB -- Millikan High School, California

Steven Montez QB-DT -- Del Valle High School, Texas
Justin Jan WR -- Chandler High School, Arizona
Nick Fisher CB -- Great Oak High School, California
Jordan Carrell DT -- American River, College, California
Dillon Middlemiss OG -- Pomona High School, Colorado
Alex Kinney K -- Rocky Mountain High School, Colorado
Isaiah Oliver WR -- Brophy Prep, Arizona
Afolabi Laguda S -- Butler, Community, College GA
Frank Umu DT -- Heritage High School, Colorado
Blake Robbins DE -- Georgia Military, College SC
N.J. Falo OLB -- Inderkum High School, California
Aaron Haigler OT -- Notre Dame High School, California

Chris Bounds TE-Y -- Chaminade, College Prep, California
Brett Tonz DT -- Centennial High School, Arizona

Lyle Tuiloma DT -- Nanakuli High School, Hawaii
Aaron Baltazar RB -- Southwestern, College, California

Completed class: Arizona State Sun Devils

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
Arizona State has announced its 2015 class:

ESPN 300
Brady White QB-PP -- William S. Hart High School, California
Joseph Wicker DT -- Long Beach Polytechnic High School, California
Stanley Norman CB -- Junipero Serra High School, California
Zach Robertson OG -- St. John Bosco High School, California

Davon Durant OLB -- Butler Community College, South Carolina
DeOnte Reynolds DT -- Contra Costa College, California

Morie Evans ATH -- Huntsville High School, Texas
Bryce Perkins QB-DT -- Chandler High School, Arizona

Jaason Lewis ATH -- Ocean Lakes High School, Virginia
Jalen Bates DE -- Kaplan High School, Louisiana
Jay Jay Wilson ATH -- Valencia High School, California
Khaylan Thomas OLB -- Etiwanda High School, California
George Lea DT -- Landry-Walker High School, Louisiana
Mason Walter OT -- Chaparral High School, California
Tommy Hudson TE-Y -- Archbishop Mitty High School, California
Cade Cote OG -- Williams Field High School, Arizona
Steve Miller OT -- Gilbert High School, Arizona
Kareem Orr S -- Notre Dame School, Tennessee
Dillon Faamatau DT -- Norwalk High School, California
Malik Lawal OLB -- Chaparral High School, California
Nick Ralston RB -- Argyle High School, Texas
Raymond Epps TE-Y -- Arizona Western College, Arizona

Completed class: USC Trojans

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
USC has announced its 2015 class:

Iman Marshall, CB -- Long Beach Polytechnic High School, California

ESPN 300
Chuma Edoga, OT -- McEachern High School, Georgia
Ronald Jones II, RB -- McKinney North High School, Texas
Rasheem Green, DT -- Junipero Serra High School, California
John Houston Jr., ILB -- Junipero Serra High School, California
Osa Masina, OLB -- Brighton High School, Utah
Tyler Petite, TE-Y -- Campolindo High School, California
Porter Gustin, ATH -- Salem Hills High School, Utah
Marvell Tell, S -- Crespi Carmelite High School, California
Sam Darnold, QB-PP -- San Clemente High School, California
Ricky Town, QB-PP -- Saint Bonaventure High School, California
Isaiah Langley, ATH -- Foothill High School, California
Jacob Daniel, DT -- Clovis North High School, California
Ykili Ross, ATH -- Riverside Polytech High School, California
Noah Jefferson, DT -- Liberty High School, Nevada
Cameron Smith, ILB -- Granite Bay High School, California

De'Quan Hampton, WR -- Long Beach City College, California
Isaac Whitney, WR -- Riverside Community College, Oklahoma

Aca'Cedric Ware, RB -- Cedar Hill High School, Texas
Kevin Scott, DT -- Salesian High School, California
Cole Smith, OC -- Mission Viejo High School, California
Christian Rector, DE -- Loyola High School, California
Roy Hemsley, OT -- Windward School, California
Dominic Davis, S -- Bishop Alemany High School, California
videoThe national signing day ceremonies have concluded, the ink has dried and the fax machines have been turned off. The Class of 2015 is mostly in the books. As is the case annually, there were a number of winners -- and a couple of losers -- on national signing day. Here is a look at the schools that excelled and the schools that had a rough day.


UCLA: The Bruins began the day at No. 17 in the ESPN RecruitingNation class rankings, but they quickly moved up to No. 11 with a run of ESPN 300 commitments. No. 111 prospect Chris Clark, a tight end, got the day started and was followed by RB Soso Jamabo (No. 28), OG Joshua Wariboko (No. 105) and OLB Roquan Smith (No. 29). The day got even better in the early afternoon when No. 130 recruit Cordell Broadus, a wide receiver, picked the Bruins over Arizona State. All five of the recruits who committed to UCLA on Wednesday are from different states.

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Completed class: Oregon Ducks

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
Oregon has announced its 2015 class:

Canton Kaumatule DE -- Punahou School, Hawaii

ESPN 300
Taj Griffin RB -- McEachern High School, Georgia
Alex Ofodile WR -- Rock Bridge High School, Missouri
Kirk Merritt ATH -- Destrehan High School, Louisiana
Malik Lovette ATH -- Redlands East Valley High School, California
Zach Okun OG -- Newbury Park High School, California
Travis Waller QB-DT -- Servite High School, California

Ugo Amadi CB -- Overton High School, Tennessee
Jake Hanson OT -- Eureka High School, California

Jake Breeland WR -- Trabuco Hills High School, California
Shane Lemieux OT -- West Valley High School, Washington
Brady Aiello OT -- Acalanes High School, California
Gary Baker DT -- Upland High School, California
Jihree Stewart CB -- Centennial High School, California
Calvin Throckmorton OT -- Newport High School, Washington
Fotu Leiato OLB -- Steilacoom High School, Washington
Rex Manu DT -- Mililani High School, Hawaii
Drayton, Californiarlberg DT -- De La Salle High School, Minnesota
Dylan Kane S -- Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii
Paris Bostick OLB -- Santa Monica College, Florida
Gus Cumberlander DE -- Cedar Grove High School, Georgia
Jonah Moi OLB -- Riverside Community College, California
Joseph Wicker, Charles TapperIcon Sportswire, Getty ImagesLike OU's Charles Tapper, ESPN 300 recruit Joseph Wicker can play anywhere on the defensive line.
Arizona State might have lost a battle with UCLA for ESPN 300 wide receiver Cordell Broadus earlier Wednesday, but the Sun Devils capped their signing day with a nice addition in ESPN 300 defensive tackle Joseph Wicker.

The nation’s No. 172 overall prospect committed to Arizona State over Texas Tech and UCLA, among a number of other offers. This was a battle that came down to the wire, with the Bruins looking as though they held the lead for some time.

[+] EnlargeJoseph Wicker
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsESPN 300 defensive tackle Joseph Wicker committed to Arizona State on signing day.
Commitment impact: Arizona State did a great job in Southern California in this class, with four ESPN 300 prospects from the area, as Wicker joins quarterback Brady White, cornerback Stanley Norman and guard Zach Robertson. The Sun Devils will certainly enjoy adding an elite defensive lineman to this class, as Wicker will join defensive end Jalen Bates and defensive tackle George Lea.

Wicker originally committed to Washington as a junior, but he eventually opened up his recruitment after former coach Steve Sarkisian left for USC. Offers poured in after a terrific start to his senior season, when he tallied eight sacks over his first two games. Capable of moving around along the defensive line, Wicker has an opportunity to see the field early at Arizona State, joining ESPN 300 signee Tashon Smallwood from the 2014 class as the possible future cornerstones of the defensive line.

What he brings:

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Chat wrap: National Signing Day Live

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
It can be tough to keep up with everything on national signing day, but we had you covered. Scroll through for nine hours of reaction and analysis and our experts answering questions from you the fans.

Iman Marshall, Darqueze DennardESPN, USA TODAY SportsIman Marshall is physical in press coverage, like Darqueze Dennard.

LONG BEACH, California -- Long Beach Poly cornerback Iman Marshall, the No. 4 overall player in the ESPN 300, will be staying in Southern California after announcing he'd attend USC over Michigan, LSU and Florida State, among others.

About 20 minutes before he made his announcement on ESPNU, Marshall's decision hit the Internet by way of a music video. He'll likely pair with standout true freshman Adoree' Jackson in the USC defensive backfield, giving the Trojans one of the more dynamic cornerback duos in the conference, if not the country.

Rumors began swirling in the last week that new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh had made a strong push. But ultimately Marshall said his roots helped him decide.

"Michigan was a strong contender, but I'm a Trojan for life," he said. "I grew up a Trojan. And to have the opportunity to play in The Coliseum, why wouldn't you take that?"

[+] EnlargeIman Marshall
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY SportsIman Marshall, the No. 4 overall player in the ESPN 300, committed to USC on signing day.
Commitment impact: This is a massive signing for the Trojans, as head coach Steve Sarkisian and staff won a hotly contested battle for the top local recruit for the second straight year, after landing Adoree' Jackson in the 2014 class. Not only does Marshall give the Trojans another stellar cornerback to pair with Jackson, his commitment to USC gives Sarkisian and staff momentum with the 2016 class, as Marshall is a well-known commodity and can have an impact with younger players. It also continues USC’s presence at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, where the Trojans have enjoyed plenty of success over the years, including last year, with highly recruited athlete JuJu Smith. Had Marshall escaped Los Angeles, or gone across town to UCLA, it would have been viewed as a significant loss for Sarkisian and the Trojans. Instead, it’s easily their biggest recruiting win of the year.

What he brings:

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