Tag:Pac-12 Signing Day
Posted on: February 2, 2011 11:38 pm

Pac-12 Signing Day: Winners and Losers

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Taking stock of the day in the Pac-12:


: Maybe you can't explain it, but you can't deny it, either: Lane Kiffin is a phenomenon on the recruiting trail. Whether it was pulling linebacker Lamar Dawson out of Kentucky, Ohio tackle Aundrey Walker (pictured) out of the clutches of Ohio State, or defensive lineman Christian Heyward from down the road in San Diego, the Trojans were every bit as everywhere on Signing Day as they were in their Pete Carroll heyday. Recruits like athlete Marqise Lee (likely the next USC stud safety) and Jan 28. guard commitment Cyrus Hobbi should be cornerstones for Kiffin for years to come ... not to mention longtime Trojan commitments like receiver George Farmer (the nation's No. 20 player) who signed on the dotted line as expected. Losing De'anthony Thomas to the current Pac-12 overlords in Eugene stings, no doubt, but it doesn't change the fact that no team in the country helped themselves more on Signing Day than Kiffin's. NCAA sanctions, schmenCAA schmanctions.

Oregon: The Ducks struck both early and late on Signing Day. They started at just after 8 a.m. EST by plucking Traverse City offensive lineman Jake Fisher out of northern Michigan, a player Chip Kelly would later say compares to any lineman in the country. Things got even better some 14 hours later when Thomas -- the nation's No. 15 player and a beyond-perfect fit for Kelly's light-speed offense and the open spaces it creates -- became the highest-profile Signing Day switch in the country. Inbetween those two highs the Ducks missed out on a handful of California prospects (like Heyward and Lee), but after signing what's likely the strongest class in school history and gleefully robbing Kiffin of his highest-ranked recruit, no one's going to complain.

Washington: As nice as the Duck haul was, before the Thomas news our Maxpreps team rankings still had the Huskies as the No. 2 class in the Pac-12 and the No. 15 class nationally. Steve Sarkisian didn't bring in any surprise last-minute signings -- in fact, their Signing Day might have been a net negative with tailback Kameron Jackson's flip to Cal balancing the addition of Ventura (Ca.) JUCO quarterback Antavius Sims -- but it was a day of celebration all the same after U-Dub dominated the state of Washington. Following last week's conversion of Washington State- committed tailback Bishop Sankey of Spokane, all five of the Seattle Times "Blue Chip" selections for the state wound up Huskies. They'll likely have to cast their net a little wider in the future, but locking down top-notch in-state talent like five-star tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Maxpreps' No. 27 player overall) is a excellent way to build on the momentum of the Huskies' Holiday Bowl win.


We mentioned in our Pac-12 Signing Day preview that the Utes would likely need to sign both Moreno Valley (Calif.) teammates Ryan Anderson -- a defensive back and Ute commit -- and Junior Pomee, a coveted wide receiver, to make a splash in their new conference digs. Instead, Kiffin and USC stole away both players. The Utes still signed several nice players (most notably running back Harvey Langi), but on paper this isn't the sort of class that announces the Utes as a major West Coast player.

Arizona State: When you lose a blue-chip hometown prospect on Signing Day because he just so happened to see a license plate from the state representing your competition , it has officially been a bad day. At least the Sun Devils kept quarterback Michael Eubanks from deserting to Utah ... but then again, they couldn't do the same with Chino (Calif.) athlete Quinton Pedroza, who flipped to the Utes. With only 13 players, the Sun Devil class appears to have neither quantity nor a particularly high level of quality.

UCLA: Signing Day wasn't actually all that bad for the Bruins; landing Washington D.C. defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds was arguably the biggest pickup of Rick Neuheisel's entire class, and the Bruins avoided any high-profile decommitments from players like California lineman Torian White (who'd had a serious flirtation with USC) or top receiving recruit Devin Lucien. But the glaring contrast between the hole UCLA had already dug for themselves on the recruiting trail and Kiffin's smashing Signing Day successes meant that the Bruins were going to end up looking like L.A. losers no matter what they did Wednesday.


CBS College Sports' Aaron Taylor breaks down the state of Pac-12 recruiting:

Posted on: February 2, 2011 10:28 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 10:39 pm

De'Anthony Thomas flips to Oregon

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Lane Kiffin has had a heck of a Signing Day. But the recruit he and the Trojans hoped was their cherry on top was a bomb.

Los Angeles native De'Anthony Thomas, a consensus five-star athlete and the No. 15 player in the country according to Maxpreps , has turned his back on his hometown Trojans to sign instead with the Pac-12's current power program: the Oregon Ducks.

A 5'9", 175-pound dynamo who should thrive under Chip Kelly's lightning tempo and one-on-one open-field mismatches (not to mention the Ducks' nation-leading punt returns), Thomas had been a longtime USC commitment but took a surprising (and secretive) visit to Eugene just last weekend, throwing his recruitment into doubt. Rumors swirled throughout the day until "the Black Mamba" announced at approximately 10 p.m. EST -- the final recruit to announce on Signing Day -- that he would be a Duck.

Though both USC and Oregon will boast highly impressive classes, Thomas's decision looms as a potentially seismic moment in the new Pac-12 hierarchy. Though the Ducks have had the clear, dominant upper hand on the field the past two seasons, until now they haven't had the same kind of recruiting muscle as the Los Angeles glamour program. To not only steal away Kiffin's highest-ranked recruit but a highest-ranked recruit from Los Angeles suggests that the gap on the recruiting trail has been narrowed--maybe to such a point that it doesn't exist at all.

So yes, Thomas's decision was a big one. And for Duck fans, it was one that was certainly worth the wait.

More Recruiting Coverage  can be found here at CBSSports.com
Posted on: February 2, 2011 3:50 pm

Husker signee received license plate 'sign'

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

It couldn't have been easy for Arizona State on the recruiting trail this year, coming off of back-to-back disappointing seasons and with many of their Pac-12 rivals seemingly on the upswing. But on the plus side, they could at least rely on the fact that none of their potential recruits would choose a different school because some higher power showed them a license plate the night before Signing Day.

Well, we thought they could. But not according to new Nebraska defensive tackle Todd Peat Jr. :
“I was down to ASU and Nebraska," said Peat, Jr. "I was pretty much going to choose ASU, but was driving home last night and saw a Nebraska license plate, something I’d never seen before and took it as a sign that I should become a Cornhusker.”
We're hoping Peat was joking around. Because it would be painful enough already for the Sun Devils to miss out on the Maxpreps No. 12 defensive tackle , doubly so when he's a hometown recruit from Corona Del Sol High School, right there in Tempe. To miss out because a random Nebraska driver happened across Peat's path would be just about unbearable.

Then again: it's National Signing Day. And anything goes. (At least the Devils will be able to console themselves with quarterback Michael Eubank, the No. 17 Maxpreps pocket passer. Eubank chose ASU over Utah and Pitt.)

Posted on: February 2, 2011 11:38 am
Edited on: February 2, 2011 12:29 pm

USC piles on with Heyward and Allen

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Say what you will about him, but there's no way to argue with this: Lane Kiffin is one heck of a recruiter.

He's proven it again today, having already added a pair of big out-of-state commitments early and building on that momentum with two more major signings in the lunchtime hour: Point Loma (San Diego) defensive tackle Christian Heyward and Javorius "Buck" Allen of Lincoln (Tallahassee).

Heyward (pictured) is Maxpreps No. 9 defensive tackle, an agile 6'3", 280-pounder who should provide a big boost to the Trojans' interior pass rush ... and something of a blow to the Trojans rivals at Oregon, who Heyward passed over in order to sign with USC. Allen, meanwhile, is a 6'1", 210-pound horse of a running back who chose the Trojans over offers from schools like Florida State, Georgia, and other Southern heavyweights. He should become a major factor on short-yardage downs for Kiffin and could become a workhorse every down back.

With the additions, USC currently sits at No. 5 in the Maxpreps team rankings, and it might be too soon to count out Kiffin from finding a way to move his team up as Signing day rolls on.

More Signing Day coverage is here at CBS.
Posted on: February 1, 2011 8:33 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2011 8:34 am

Pac-12 Signing Day at a glance

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Here's what you'll need to keep an eye on during the Pac-12's first Signing Day with newcomers Utah and Colorado on board:

Players to Watch

De'anthony Thomas , ATH, Crenshaw (Los Angeles): Maybe no player in the country has had their recruitment take a more intriguing turn in the past few days than Thomas, a USC commitment who surprised nearly everyone but Chip Kelly and his staff by taking a last-minute visit to Oregon. Now rumors are swirling about the "Black Mamba's" ultimate destination, and whether it's the Trojans or Ducks, someone's going to end up with quite the prize in the 5'9" 175-pound blazer; he's No. 15 in the Maxpreps top 100 and has All-American potential at either tailback or cornerback.

Marqise Lee , ATH, Juniper Serro (Gardena, Calif.): Another top California athlete, another battle between the Trojans and Ducks (though Miami could reportedly also sneak in here). A livewire 6'1" and 185 pounds, and the Maxpreps No. 16 athlete, Lee could play either offense and defense but is expected to find his highest ceiling as a playmaking safety. Lee is believed to be a lean to USC and will announce at 3 EST.

Christian Heyward , DT, Point Loma (San Diego): Not all of the nation's top defensive lineman are in the Southeast. Maxpreps' No. 9 defensive tackle, Heyward recently named a top three of USC, Oregon and San Diego State, though some feel even UCLA could be part of the conversation. An accomplished pass rusher, Heyward could be at home as an end in a three down linemen set--part of the reason the dark horse Aztecs (who run a base 3-3-5) could have a legitimate shot, even if Heyward is favored to wind up in the Pac-12.

Team to Watch

Oregon: Despite boasting every recruit's favorite set of uniforms, the Ducks have never been a major player on the national recruiting scene ... until now. Led by Maxpreps 100 tight end Colt Lyerla and top-shelf talent hailing from locales as diverse as Miami (receiver Tacoi Sumler), Iowa (linebacker Christian French) and Arizona (offensive linemen Tyler Johnstone and Andre Yruretagoyena), the Ducks have already built their strongest class in years, potentially ever. If they can close the deal with the California-based talent listed above, the foundation could be built for a USC-like deathgrip on the conference over the next few years.

USC: Of course, maybe we shouldn't start worrying about the next USC when the original isn't going anywhere. Lane Kiffin has continued to prove his mettle as arguably the nation's most dogged recruiter, The Trojans have worked around NCAA restirctions to pull in 26 commitments already, including four members of the Maxpreps top 100, including Thomas, 6'2" receiver George Farmer, and the latest West Coast quarterback blue-chipper, Cody Kessler. If the Trojans can fend off the Ducks for the likes of Thomas and Lee, they'll claim the best class in the Pac-12.

Stanford: The Cardinal class has suffered somewhat with the departure of Jim Harbaugh, but David Shaw is still sitting on one of the best classes in the league behind national-grade recruits like Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) five-star Wayne Lyons (the No. 45 recruit overall and No. 4 safety) and Tucker (Ga.) linebacker James Vaughters. If Shaw can simply keep all the current Cardinal commits in the fold and signed on the dotted line, this is a group that will do nothing to slow the momentum generated by Harbaugh's tenure in Palo Alto.

The Below-the-Radar Storyline You'll Need to Follow

Many are expecting Utah to come into the Pac-12 and immediately begin throwing its weight around, but if the Utes do, it might not be because of a mind-blowing recruiting haul tomorrow. The Utes have always done a nice job of locating underrated local talent and have several gems in their current class, including in-state running back Harvey Langi (No. 53 in the Maxpreps top 100) and Moreno Valley (Calif.) defensive back Ryan Anderson. But quarterback Derrick Brown recently decommitted to Washington, one of five Pac-12 teams that land in the Maxpreps top 25 classes that aren't Utah. Landing Anderson --a threat to sign elsewhere -- and his teammate, highly-regarded receiver Junior Pomee, would be a huge help, though. In the end, how will the Utes measure up to their new conference mates?

More Signing Day coverage is here at CBS.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com