Pac-10 Signing Day Blitz (cont.)
Posted: Thursday February 8, 2007 4:46PM; Updated: Thursday February 8, 2007 5:18PM
Headliner: Kaniela Tuipulotu of Kahuku, Hawaii, is one of quite a few big-time players in this Arizona class. The top-ranked player in Hawaii, Tuipulotu was a big-time recruiting victory for the Wildcats and ace recruiter Mike Tuiasosopo. He had his pick of schools but picked the U of A, and he should be a force inside. The 6-1, 280-pounder is a good run-stuffer but is also explosive in pass rush situations.
Sleeper: Paul's Valley, Okla., athlete William Wright came out of nowhere late in the recruiting process and for good reason. The 5--10, 170-pounder picked Arizona over offers from Tulsa and North Texas. As a sophomore and junior, Wright played eight-man football at Fox High , helping lead his team to the state finals. He transferred to Paul's Valley for his senior season. The Wildcats love his potential and possibly got one of the bigger steals in the Pac-10.
Overview: With a lot of turnover on assistant coaches, Arizona still put together a pretty solid class. Watch out for stars of the future like linebacker Apaiata Tuihalamaka and tight end Rob Gronkowski. Both could be impact players early. Also the Wildcats picked up a great addition to its coaching staff -- ace recruiter Darrell Wyatt. Wyatt had previously worked at Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. In his previous stint with the Sooners he didn't recruit a player ranked lower than four stars.
7. Arizona State
Headliner: Arizona Western C.C. four-star defensive end Luis Vasquez led the NJCAA with 16 sacks as a freshman and then had 15 sacks as a sophomore. He's expected to do the same thing immediately at Arizona State, where he's already on campus and will go through spring drills. The 6-3, 250-pounder is one of the fiercest pass rushers in the JUCO ranks and his presence should help bolster a rather porous defense. Vasquez is ranked as the No. 22 junior college player in the nation.
Sleeper: Bo Moos of Eugene (Ore.) Sheldon is the ultimate sleeper. Recruited only by Idaho, Eastern Washington and Portland State, the 6-foot, 262-pound defensive tackle was offered a scholarship shortly after a Jan. 12 official visit to ASU. He likely will need a redshirt season to get stronger, but the coaches really liked his motor.
Overview: Coming in late in the game is never an easy thing, but new Sun Devils coach Dennis Erickson did a nice job. The Devils have only one four-star recruit -- Vasquez -- but it's a deep and talented class with 11 three-star additions. Quarterbacks Chasen Stangel and Samson Szakacsy could turn out to be one of the more interesting quarterback battles of the future in the Pac-10. Both are extremely talented and have a ton of upside.
8. Oregon State
Headliner: Mill Creek (Wash.) Jackson quarterback Jake Gelakoska impressed the Oregon State coaches early on, so it didn't take them long to offer the 6-3, 206-pounder a scholarship. It also didn't take him long to accept it. Gelakoska, ranked as the nation's No. 17 dual-threat quarterback, became the foundation of this OSU class and his potential makes him the headliner.
Sleeper: It's not often that you see a special teams player -- especially a long snapper -- get a scholarship, but that's what Oregon State did with Marcus Perry, a 6-1, 225-pounder from Chula Vista (Calif.) East Lake. He's going to come in as a gray shirt, but the Beavers get one of the top long-snappers in the nation and the ability to use him on trick plays in kicking situations could help down the road.
Overview: The Beavers are eighth in the Pac-10, and that is a very solid effort considering how competitive the conference is. There are plenty of guys that should make an impact. Beavers coaches have to be excited about three-star safety Cameron Collins out of Santa Monica, Calif., and Gelakoska. Both were heavily recruited and were great gets. Also watch out for Ryan McCants. He developed into one of the top fullbacks in the nation after a solid senior season.
Headliner: Kellen Kiilsgaard of Auburn, Wash., is one of the nation's best dual-threat quarterbacks and his commitment to Stanford gives the Cardinal hope for next season. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder is ranked as the No. 11 dual-threat quarterback and a four-star player. He should be an excellent fit for the new Stanford offense and his play-making ability could have him see the field quickly. From a physical standpoint, he has all the tools with a strong arm and good decision making.
Sleeper: Chike Amajoyi of San Bernardino (Calif.) Aquinas had another Pac-10 offer from Washington, but he flew under the radar most of the recruiting season. The 6-foot, 215-pound running back is a steady rusher that also has the ability to run between the tackles.
Overview: New coach Jim Harbaugh did a tremendous job in a short time. The Cardinal moved from the bottom to No. 9 in the Pac-10 with a solid class of offensive playmakers. Kiilsgaard has a shot at being an immediate impact player, and he's joined on the offensive side of the ball by playmakers like Sean Wiser and Corey Gatewood at receiver. Defensive end Matthew Masifilo from Hawaii is one of the stars on the defensive side of the ball. Kicker David Green also ranks among the nation's best.
10. Washington State
Headliner: Four-star junior college cornerback Terry Mixon is the headliner. Ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 37 junior college player in the country, Mixon is a 6-1, 200-pound lockdown cover-corner. Mixon was one of the more interesting recruiting stories to follow, as he committed to both Arizona State and Cal during the process.
Sleeper: WSU needed help at cornerback, so the Cougars went to Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College to land two-star sleeper Devin Giles. The 5-11, 170-pounder also runs track at Coffeyville and will have three years to play two seasons for the Cougars. With holes at defensive back, expect Giles to see the field early.
Overview: Even though Washington State finished at the bottom of the Pac-10 rankings, this class definitely has some big-time play-makers in it. Showing how competitive the Pac-10 is, the Cougars signed one four-star player and 14 three-star prospects, but still finished at the bottom of the conference rankings. JUCO OL Vaughn Lesuma is a big-time player and the WSU class is really strong along the offensive line with three-star guys like Steve Ayers, Kevin Freitag and Andrew Roxas also in the group.