|Five-star recruit Thomas Tyner could be the next great Oregon running back (247Sports)|
National signing day is nigh and, on Wednesday, coaching staffs around the country will finally see the fullfillment of months of recruiting toil.
Let's take a look at the schools of the
Arizona -- Needs: RB, QB, DB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 45 - Rich Rodriguez did a good job in his first year with the players he inherited from previous coach Mike Stoops, but he must now find a way to replace quarterback Matt Scott, who was the ideal fit for his system. To that end, Rodriguez signed two highly-touted signal callers in JC transfer Jesse Scroggins (a former USC Trojan who is already enrolled in school) and Anu Solomon of Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas. Scroggins is a pro-style passer, while Solomon is more in the mold of previous Rodriguez quarterbacks. With the nation's leading rusher, Ka'Deem Carey, in legal trouble, the Cats also needed some help in the backfield and they got it with three committed running backs led by San Diego's Pierre Cormier, an exciting playmaker who could pick up where Carey left off. A soon-to-be depleted secondary will be replenished by four cornerbacks and a couple athletes who could play any number of positions.
Arizona State -- Needs: DL, LB, OL. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 34 - For coach Todd Graham to build off the success of his first season, he's going to need to bring in some beef up front on both sides of the ball. He got immediate help on the offensive line with two JC mid-year transfers, guard Josh Tremblay and center Nick Kelly, and if the commitments hold, he'll add four defensive ends and another offensive tackle come fall. Keep an eye out big end Marcus Hardison, another JC transfer who should earn immediate playing time. Graham also needed help at linebacker and he was able to hold on to local product Chans Cox, rated by 247Sports as the fifth-best middle backer in the country.
Colorado -- Needs: QB, RB, OL, DL. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 73 - This program needs help everywhere and new coach Mike MacIntyre could use a couple recruiting cycles to start turning things around in Boulder. Above all, this team lacks speed and athleticism, but help is on its way in the form of Sefo Liufau, a four-star dual-threat quarterback from Tacoma, Wash., who is rated 11th nationally by 247Sports at his position. Liufau is an impressive physical specimen who may not redshirt. Joining him in the backfield is nimble speedster Phillip Lindsay, one of the nation's top all-purpose backs. A class of five offensive linemen should lay the foundation for MacIntyre's tenure.
UCLA -- Needs: OL, RB, LB, DB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 15 - Coach Jim Mora, Jr., is putting together another fine recruiting class that could end up in the top 10 of the team rankings once signing day rolls around. The Bruins need offensive linemen and Mora has six commitments in that area, led by massive guard Caleb Benenoch of Katy, Texas. The Bruins also have one of the nation's top groups of defensive backs, highlighted by safeties Priest Willis and Tahaan Goodman. UCL nabbed one of the most underrated running backs in the nation in Craig Lee. But the jewels of the class may be linebackers Deon Hollins and Myles Jack, unless currently uncommitted defensive linemen Eddie Vanderdoes and Kylie Fitts decide to sign off to play in Westwood for the next few seasons.
USC -- Needs: RB, QB, DB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 8 - No class has as much quality as the Trojans, who remain limited by NCAA probation to just 15 scholarships. USC's average player ranking is the highest in the country, led by the nation's No. 1 safety, Su'a Cravens, and the No. 3 defensive tackle, Kenny Bigelow. Coach Lane Kiffin focused on getting players enrolled early and Cravens, Bigelow and four other highly-touted prospects have already started their college careers at USC. The Trojans could cap a remarkable secondary class with elite corner prospect Jalen Ramsey (who could be wavering at the 11th hour). Kiffin also needed running backs and he got two bruisers in Justin Davis and Ty Isaac. This could've been an even more impressive class if not for a hugely disappointing 7-6 season and the NCAA restrictions.
Utah -- Needs: QB, OL, DL. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 40 - Coach Kyle Wittingham wanted some depth at quarterback to back up Travis Wilson and he found it in Brandon Cox and Conner Manning. Otherwise, the Utes needed big bodies on the defensive front to replace the likes of Star Lotulelei and Joe Kruger. Help is on its way in the form of Star's little brother, Lowell Lotulelei, a four-star tackle prospect, and strongside ends Sam Tevi and Gaius Vaenuku, who both hail from Trinity High in Euless, Texas. JC wide receiver Andre Lewis should play right away and give the Utes a big-bodied playmaker in the red zone.
California -- Needs: OL, WR, DB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 41 - New coach Sonny Dykes is making inroads in recruiting, but he's taken some hits, too. The Bears needed offensive linemen and got one of the best in the state in mammoth tackle Aaron Cochran, but athletic guard/tackle Cameron Hunt's decision to spurn Cal for Oregon late in the process is going to hurt for a while. The versatile Cameron Walker could be a future star in the secondary, while smurf-like running back Khalfani Muhammad is one of the fastest players in the country at any position. Defensive end Takkarist McKinley has huge upside and is the highest-rated player in the class according to 247Sports. With Keenan Allen off to the pros, Cal needed wide outs and scooped up commitments from four of them.
Oregon -- Needs: RB, LB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 14 - The Ducks have recruited well in recent seasons, but Chip Kelly's NFL drama created a bit of uncertainty in this year's class that wasn't quelled until he finally made the decision to head to Philadelphia. New coach Mark Helfrich has adjusted nicely, stealing lineman Cameron Hunt's commitment away from Cal and snatching speedy wide receiver Devon Allen away from the clutches of UCLA and Stanford. Twin athletes Tyree Robinson and Tyrell Robinson could've gone practically anywhere they wanted. This very fast team will get even faster with the nation's fastest running back, five-star Thomas Tyner, expected to sign on Wednesday. While Tyner is the headliner in the backfield, keep an eye out for Dontre Wilson, yet another shifty back out of Texas who looks like a perfect fit for the Oregon system.
Oregon State -- Needs: OL, DB, WR. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 47 - Mike Riley is a master at finding hidden gems and molding them into high-level contributors in Corvallis. His current crop of 22 commitments is typically undervalued. The Beavers needed offensive linemen and Riley has a pledge from one of the best in California in tackle Sean Harlow, whose father, Pat, was a first-round NFL draft pick for USC back in 1990. OSU has five receivers committed -- led by Jordan Villamin -- as the scramble is on to replace the departed Markus Wheaton. The graduation of Jordan Poyer has resulted in two high-potential corner commits in JC transfer Steven Nelson (who is already enrolled) and Dashon Hunt. This class should pay dividends down the road for Oregon State.
Stanford -- Needs: WR, DB, LB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 61 - The Cardinal are ranked just 61st in the recruiting rankings at the moment, but don't expect them to stay there when signing day is over. The arduous Stanford admissions process tends to discourage early commitments and late-breaking pledges from recruits scrambling for a shot at an elite degree are the norm in Palo Alto. Only 12 players are publicly committed to the Cardinal at the moment, led by four-star quarterback Ryan Burns, who is in the mold of recent star Stanford signal callers. Some much-needed speed was added at wide receiver with the commitment of Francis Owusu, brother of former Cardinal receiver Chris Owusu. Offensive tackle David Bright is a typical Stanford lineman -- tough, physical and underrated out of high school. Coach David Shaw has some work to do in the next couple days to fill this class out, but it looks like he is on his way to meeting his needs.
Washington -- OL, DL, WR, DB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 13 - Steve Sarkisian has done a fine job bringing in skill position players to play for the Huskies, but he's been consistently out-manned in the trenches during his tenure. Defensive line coach and star recruiter Tosh Lupoi is trying to change that and this class could finally fill that need. The Huskies have eight line commits on either side of the ball, with the jewels of the group being defensive tackles Elijah Qualls and Joe Mathis. UW also needed a lockdown corner and it got one in Jermaine Kelly, who could end up being the best player in the class. The Huskies wanted to stock up on wide receivers, too, and they got three to commit, including Demorea Stringfellow, who also took a hard look at USC. If the class sticks together, it'll be the best group signed in the Sarkisian era.
Washington State -- OL, QB, DB. 247Sports Team Class Rank: 43 - Second-year Cougars coach Mike Leach went as far away as Alabama and American Samoa to put this class together. Three JC transfers are already in school, including four-star linebacker Ivan McLennan. Wide receivers should want to play for Leach and he's got a good one in 6-foot-3 Vince Mayle of Sierra JC. Tyler Bruggman and Isaac Dotson are the first quarterbacks to be brought in by Leach at WSU. Want to bet one of them won't be throwing for a ton of yards within the next couple seasons? Washington State fans will recognize the name of Peyton Pelluer, who will play linebacker for the Cougars. His dad, Scott, played for WSU in the late 1970s.