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The fertile recruiting grounds of Los Angeles are once more up for grabs, only this time, one of the two hometown teams does not tower over the other.
Last year, coming off a 50-0 win, USC owned the city. This year, with UCLA coming into the game at 8-2 and ahead of USC in the conference standings, there is a genuine sense that the tide is shifting. The preseason No. 1 Trojans have lost three games this year, UCLA has risen from the depths to win four straight, and now the city really is there for the taking.
The matchup on Saturday should leave a lasting impression in the minds of many who will venture down for the noon matchup at the Rose Bowl, where the Bruins are expected to welcome an impressive group of talent.
But that talent is not just local, as prospects such as running back Cornelius Elder of Tennessee are coming into town.
"I talk to them every week and they have been recruiting me pretty hard, so I want to get out there," Elder, the No. 25 running back in the class of 2013, told Chad Simmons of Scout.com. "I like the coaches there, I like that the school is in Los Angeles, and I really like how the new coaches have changed the team around."
Stanford continues pattern of strong linebacker prospects: The strength of the Stanford defense over recent years has been an impressive array of linebackers, and the Cardinal do not appear to be slowing much during another successful season. The next in line might not even be considered a linebacker right now.
Sean Barton, Rivals.com's No. 22 safety in the class of 2013, is a solid verbal to Stanford and had yet another enlightening weekend in Palo Alto, the sixth time this year that the Woods Cross (Utah) product has headed to The Farm.
"Obviously the main highlight was the win," Barton told Andy Drukarev of CardinalSportsReport.com. "It was a great game, it was fun to watch. And then we went down on the field. That was really cool for the people that were with me, my grandpa and my best friend, they were pretty pumped to go down on the field. Going into the locker room was pretty cool too. I hadn't done that before. So those were probably the highlights of the trip."
Cal recruiting wobbles in midst of poor season: The Golden Bears aren't so golden on the recruiting trail right about now, Jeff Faraudo of the Bay Area News Group wrote. With Cal at 3-8, and things looking about as grim as at any point in Berkeley over the last decade, recruits are simply looking elsewhere. As Faraudo noted, the Bears rank eighth in the Pac-12 in recruiting by Scout.com and ninth by Rivals.com.
"There aren't a ton of four-star guys, and really no five-star guys, who are taking a look at Cal in any serious way right now," Rivals.com's Adam Gorney told Faraudo.
Oregon set for big recruiting weekend: With one last home game left in the regular season, the Ducks have one almost-last chance to show off their beautiful digs, as A.J. Jacobson of Duck Sports Authority reported. As Oregon is expected to host the Pac-12 championship game, it's not as if Autzen will be on lockdown. Such is life for the No. 1 team in the country.
This week, as Jacobson writes, USC-committed offensive lineman Nico Falah, undecided running back Tarean Folston, Washington State-committed linebacker Ivan McClellan and Ducks commit John Mundt are expected to in town. Mundt, the No. 29 tight end in the country according to Rivals, is anxious to meet his future teammates.
"I just want to meet a lot of the players," Mundt told Jacobson on Wednesday. "At the game, I would obviously like to see the Ducks win. But I want to get a chance to get a feel for the whole stadium, the crowd, the team.”
Utes think Hatfield is the real McCoy: Dominique Hatfield, a talented athlete out of Crenshaw High in Los Angeles remains committed to Utah. And after a trip to visit Salt Lake City, he's more hooked than ever, he told Dan Sorenson of UteZone.com.
"The visit was nice. It was real cool. The city is real nice, and everybody welcomed me. I really liked it," Hatfield told Sorenson. "The coaches made me feel very comfortable. They made it feel like home almost. They spoke to me and got to know me more. The coaches took more time with me than other coaches probably would and introduced me to the guys [on the team]. That was real cool."