The Pac-12 closed strong on signing day, with five schools landing top-25 recruiting classes on Wednesday. As expected, the USC Trojans and Oregon Ducks topped the list, but a few Pac-12 schools secured surprisingly solid classes out of nowhere. The California Golden Bears were the biggest surprise, landing inside the top 15 with a late-push that included commitments from several top-100 recruits. The Stanford Cardinal and Washington Huskies also came away with solid classes that should serve as building blocks to the future.
USC Trojans: The Trojans secured a consensus top-five class despite losing De’Anthony Thomas at the last moment to Pac-12 rival Oregon. Head coach Lane Kiffin went national after bringing in some of the top talent Southern California has to offer, grabbing recruits from Florida, Ohio and everywhere in-between.
With Thomas gone, George Farmer became the gem of the class. A five-star wide receiver from California, Farmer is one of five top 100 recruits to pick the Trojans. On signing day, USC was busy, snagging Aundrey Walker, the top offensive guard in the class of 2011, away from Ohio State. Teammates Junior Pomee and Ryan Henderson also chose USC as signing day wound down.
Oregon Ducks: The Ducks pulled in what may be the best recruiting class in school history on Wednesday, adding size on the offensive line and speed at the skill positions. When all was said and done, Oregon had a top-10 class that has fans in Eugene looking forward to a future of continued success.
De’Anthony Thomas was the cherry on top for head coach Chip Kelly, but by no means was he the only headline. Colt Lyerla, an All-American linebacker, is one of the most athletic players in the country, and should give the Oregon defense an immediate boost. Wide receiver Devon Blackmon also adds speed on the outside, giving Kelly more weapons in an offense that’s already as potent as any. Four-star linemen Jake Fisher and Andre Yruretagoyena are formidable up-front, and the expected addition of quarterback Jerrard Randall, who is waiting to sign until after securing the necessary test scores, should be a boon for the Oregon offense down the line.
California Golden Bears: Jeff Tedford came out of nowhere after a so-so season to bring in a top-15 class in 2011. The Bears put together a strong class in the waning moments of the recruiting season, locking up a number of impact players as signing day approached. When it was all over, Tedford secured the conference’s third-best class — an accomplishment in itself considering the big day some Pac-12 schools had.
Viliami Moala is the headliner for Cal and comes to Berkeley as an immediate impact player on the defensive line at 6-foot-3, 340 pounds. On signing day itself, Tedford snared a Washington recruit, stealing cornerback Kameron Jackson away from the Huskies at the last moment. In total, Cal finished with eight four-star players, and didn’t have a recruit ranked lower than three-stars by scout. Though Tedford is only bringing in 20 recruits, the class is filled with quality.
Stanford Cardinal: With Jim Harbaugh leaving, it would’ve been understandable if the Stanford recruiting class took a hit. It didn’t, however, as the Cardinal finished strong to wrap-up a top-25 recruiting class in 2011. Like Cal, the Cardinal went for quality over quantity, bringing in 19 recruits, all of which were ranked as three-stars or better.
There were no signing day stunners for the Cardinal, who were already finished with the class well-before it was time to put pen to paper. Spokane defensive end Charlie Hopkins is one of the headliners, coming to Palo Alto as a four-star recruit ranked among the nation’s best. The class isn’t spectacular, just solid and balanced from top-to-bottom, both in positions recruited and the quality of players signed.
Washington Huskies: Steve Sarkisian brought in a solid mix of players, headlined by all of the top-talent in the state of Washington. The Huskies focused almost solely on Washington and California, with all but one player in the class of 2011 coming from the two states. It’s a tried-and-true formula for the Huskies, and it worked out well for Sarkisian in his second year.
Besides Kasen Williams and Austin-Seferian-Jenkins, the Huskies secured commitments from Bishop Sankey, Danny Shelton, Taniela Tupou and Dexter Charles from the state of Washington. From California, it was James Sample, Marvin Hall and others leading the way as Sarkisian looked for skill position talent from Southern California. By the time it was over, the Huskies had a top-25 class filled with a mix of immediate contributors and depth additions that set up the Huskies well both now and in the future.