Pac-10 Signing Day Blitz
Ranking each conference team's 2007 recruiting class
Posted: Thursday February 8, 2007 4:46PM; Updated: Thursday February 8, 2007 5:18PM
Even with the addition of Joe McKnight on Signing Day, many people in Los Angeles believe that five-star defensive end Everson Griffen is the gem of the amazingly strong USC class. Oregon won the battle for No. 2 in the Pac-10, and that looks awfully sweet to Ducks fans that saw things turned upside down in last year's class.
Headliner: Everson Griffen is one of the rare physical freaks that come around only once in a blue moon. At 6-foot-4 and 266-pounds, Griffen has been clocked at 4.46 in the 40-yard dash. He's a quarterback's worst nightmare and Griffen was one of the nation's most heavily recruited players -- ranking at No. 6 in the nation overall by Rivals.com. McKnight, the nation's No. 2 player overall, was a welcome addition on Wednesday morning. Dubbed the next Reggie Bush, he should come in and fight for a spot quickly in the Trojans' high flying offense.
Sleeper: It's hard to call anybody in the USC class a sleeper, but the late addition of three-star defensive end Trey Henderson of Vancouver (British Columbia) College Prep falls into that category. The 6-foot-3, 264-pounder had been committed to Washington State, but when Pete Carroll came calling, the offer was too good to pass up. He has a high-end motor and might be the type of under-the-radar recruit that flourishes in USC's attacking defense.
Overview: The Trojans -- once again -- finish at the top of the Pac-10. While USC's bunch isn't the top recruiting class in the nation, the Trojans still have plenty of firepower to continue their reign as one of the top programs in college football. Running back Marc Tyler is expected to recover from a broken leg, and when he's healthy there are few running backs that are better. Linebacker Chris Galippo is one of the top players in the entire country. Griffen ranks among the top five players nationally and there are few players in the entire nation regardless of position that have athletic ability like he does.
Headliner: To win in the Pac-10, you have to defend your own turf -- both on the field and in recruiting. That's what Oregon did when it landed a commitment from four-star, national top-100 defensive tackle Myles Wade of Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic. The 6-2, 322-pounder looked great as a senior and his stock continued to rise, despite his early commitment to the Ducks. Expect him to see the field early and carry on the great defensive tackle tradition that Oregon has developed over the past few years.
Sleeper: Los Angeles Crenshaw three-star outside linebacker Terrell Turner arrived late on the recruiting scene after a great senior season. Coaches fell in love with his college-ready body and his nose for the football. While he might not be as fast as some other linebackers in California, he has tremendous heart and desire, which will make him a good player for the Ducks.
Overview: For one reason or another, last season the Ducks were toward the bottom of the conference but that was definitely a one-year hiccup. This year the Ducks have done a tremendous job not just in their own backyard with guys like Wade, but also in Los Angeles. The Ducks have 12 four-star players and 12 three-star players in this year's class. Mesa (Calif.) C.C. four-star defensive end William Tukuafu has a shot at being a real star for the Ducks.
Headliner: For the Bears, Jahvid Best was simply the best. The 5-10, 183-pound four-star running back has the ability to carry on the great tradition developed at Cal for high-end running backs. Best rushed for a Bay Area record 3,325 yards on 282 carries -- a staggering 11.4 yards per carry -- plus 48 touchdowns as a senior. He should fit the Bears' offensive nicely; expect him to be a future star.
Sleeper: Saratoga, Calif., three-star receiver Alex Lagemann has to be one of the most underappreciated recruits. He committed early and people seemed to forget how talented he is. He's a very good route-runner and he catches everything thrown his direction. He's the type of player that should thrive in Cal's offensive attack, despite only being ranked as a three-star player and a 5.6 on the Rivals Rating Scale.
Overview: The Bears will finish in the top 25 for the fifth consecutive season, something that's hard to replicate in the competitive Pac-10. Defensive end Cameron Jordan out of Arizona was a nice pickup last week. Offensive lineman Matt Summers-Gavin is one of the best blockers in the nation, and the late addition of four-star linebacker Alex Cook of Blinn (Texas) Junior College was huge. The Bears are always a threat to land quality players in California and this year was no disappointment for Jeff Tedford.
Headliner: Four-star athlete Anthony Boyles was about as big as it gets for the Huskies. A top-250 player, Boyles projects at receiver even though he could contribute at a number of different spots. Boyles had plenty of options and he did look around after making a commitment to former receivers coach Eric Yarber -- who bolted for Arizona State -- but he decided to stick with U-Dub all the way to the end.
Sleeper: Running back Willie Griffin isn't the fastest player , and maybe that kept some Pac-10 schools away, but the star from Oakland (Calif.) McClymonds just makes plays. A power back with the ability to run between the tackles, Griffin is a big part of a great running back class for the Huskies, and expect him to get a shot to work into the starting lineup early on if he lives up to his potential.
Overview: Tyrone Willingham & Co. did a tremendous job this season and as Huskies finished in the upper half of the Pac-10. Boyles was a great recruiting victory for the Huskies -- he was pushed by Arizona State and a number of other teams all the way to the wire. Four-star offensive lineman Emeka Iweka is a solid get. There were some rumblings late last week that Iweka still is working on reaching the qualifying standard and some jucos are starting to position themselves to land the Rivals250 star. Tight end Chris Izbicki was also a nice get, as he ranks as the top player in Washington.
Headliner: Running back Raymond Carter of Los Angeles Crenshaw has the tools to excel in UCLA's offensive attack, and the Bruins coaches have high expectations for him to make an impact rather quickly. The 5-11, 187-pound all-purpose back can help the Bruins with his explosive running style, but also with his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Carter rushed for 1,650 yards as a junior and then 1,512 yards as a senior in one of the most competitive sections in California.
Sleeper: Defensive end Justin Edison of Los Angeles Verbum Dei came on late as a senior, and so did the interest from the Bruins. After Edison originally committed to Oregon State, UCLA got him to take an official visit on Jan. 26. He soon switched after the visit. A long, lean pass-rushing machine, Edison had 83 tackles and 14 sacks as a senior. He's also a great athlete, as he contributed two touchdowns on offense.
Overview: Even though UCLA had fewer than 15 scholarships to give out this season, the quality in this year's class is still enough to put the Bruins in the No. 5 slot in the Pac-10. Los Angeles Crenshaw teammates Brian Price and Carter have star potential and are both ranked as top-100 prospects nationally. Quarterback Chris Forcier also has a shot at developing into a solid signal-caller. Tight end Nate Chandler was one of the top players in San Diego this year.
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