The 2015 football season is officially over for the Pac-12, and for the most part, they ended it on a high note. Utah, Arizona, Washington, Washington State, California, and Stanford all capped off their seasons with impressive victories, while traditional powers USC, Oregon, UCLA, and Arizona State stumbled. Now that the battles on the gridiron are complete, it’s time for the fun part to begin, as each Pac-12 team looks to complete their recruiting classes for the 2016 season. Here is the recruiting status report for the Pac-12 Conference.
Pac-12 Recruiting Status Report
The Ducks may have finished the season with a thud, giving up a 31 point lead to lose to TCU in the Alamo Bowl, but Oregon is still in tremendous shape on the recruiting front. Oregon currently has 18 commitments in their class, with the headliner stud safety and local product Brady Breeze. Oregon has also done a tremendous job recruiting quarterbacks for the future, garnering a commitment from Justin Herbert and flipping Tristen Wallace and Terry Wilson from Ohio State and Nebraska. Oregon now has the remainder of January to battle it out for talented prospects such as wide receivers Javon McKinley and Dylan Crawford.
Star of the Class: S Brady Breeze
Sleeper: OT Logan Bathke
Dream recruit: DE Amani Bledsoe
The Bruins stumbled to the finish line, losing their final two games including an embarrassing 37-29 loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Despite their issues on the field, the Bruins have done a solid job on the recruiting front once again. UCLA has protected their backyard tremendously, garnering 14 of their 19 commits from the state of California. The Bruins gave freshman phenom Josh Rosen some extra weapons with Theo Howard, Dymond Lee, and Darian Owens all joining the Bruins talented receiving corps. UCLA will have a busy month as they are still in the hunt for several top recruits, most notably 5-star linebacker Mique Juarez.
Star of the Class: WR Theo Howard
Sleeper: QB Matt Lynch
Dream Recruit: LB Mique Juarez
The Cardinal closed out the season in tremendous fashion, destroying the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Rose Bowl behind a stunning performance from star running back Christian McCaffrey. Stanford does have much to replace heading into 2016 as Kevin Hogan, Joshua Garnett, and other talented seniors will be moving on to the NFL. Stanford made an impressive move to replace Hogan at quarterback with K.J. Costello, an ultra talented quarterback from the Santa Margarita Catholic powerhouse in California. As impressive as Costello is, he isn’t the headliner of Stanford’s 18 man class. That would be outside linebacker Curtis Robinson, a tremendous athlete from traditional power Mater Dei high school. Stanford remains in the hunt for several top recruits such as Caleb Kelly and David Long.
Star of the Class: OLB Curtis Robinson
Sleeper: OT Henry Hattis
Dream Recruit: OLB Caleb Kelly
The Golden Bears finally returned to a bowl game, riding the powerful right arm of Jared Goff to their best season under head coach Sonny Dykes. Dykes has been smart to capitalize on the good feelings of this season, garnering 23 commitments in the 2016 class with an incredible 9 of them being early enrollees. The headliner may be Max Gilliam, a quarterback from Thousand Oaks, California who will enroll early in order to fight for the starting job in Berkeley. California also achieved a rare recruiting victory over USC, swiping talented running back Melquise Stovall away from the Trojans just before Christmas. Cal is pretty much complete at this point, though two or three targets remain available.
Star of the Class: QB Max Gilliam
Sleeper: WR Drew Kobayashi
Dream Recruit: WR Damian Alloway
Mike Leach’s Cougars finally turned the corner in 2015, winning 9 games and capping off their season with a 20-14 victory over Miami in the Sun Bowl. Leach has also done commendable work on the recruiting trail, garnering 26 commitments in 2016. Mason Vinyard and Isaiah Johnson are the headliners, as Vinyard is an athletic tight end from California, while Johnson is a native of West Palm Beach, Florida, who the Cougars somehow wrestled away from the Florida Gators. The Cougars are just about full for the 2016 class, though they are still in the market for one more offensive and defensive lineman.
Star of the Class: WR Isaiah Johnson
Sleeper: G Christian Haangana
Dream Recruit: G Nate Herbig
Doing Pretty Good
The Utes went from #1 in the country in October to playing in the Las Vegas Bowl in December, but the Utes should still feel good about their surprising 2015 season. The Utes have also done a solid job on the recruiting trail, garnering 22 commitments heading into the final month of the season. Utah usually doesn’t bring in top flight recruits, preferring to bring in under the radar recruits and develop them, but they made an exception for the top Junior College offensive lineman Garett Bolles. The Utes still have much work to do in order to finish out their class, as several in state prospects are still deciding between the Utes and the BYU Cougars.
Star of the class: OT Garrett Bolles
Sleeper: RB Devontae Henry-Cole
Dream Recruit: OLB/DE Pookie Maka
There is now way to sugarcoat it, the Sun Devils were a disappointment this season. Arizona State went from a preseason national title contender to a 6-7 team after a loss in the Cactus Bowl. Despite their struggles on the football field, the Sun Devils have still done a decent job on the recruiting trail, garnering 18 commitments with a month remaining until National Signing Day. The obvious star of the class is wide receiver N’Keal Harry, a five star recruit that stayed with his hometown school despite offers from across the country. The Sun Devils also have eight recruits that will enroll early at Tempe, including talented defensive linemen Koron Crump and Christian Hill. The Sun Devils have much work to do in order to finish off their class, as they are still searching for multiple linebacker targets to fortify their defense.
Star of the Class: WR N’Keal Harry
Sleeper: RB Tre Turner
Dream Recruit: OLB Calvin Bundage
Gary Andersen’s first season at Corvallis was far from a success, as the Beavers went 2-10, with one of their victories coming over FCS doormat Weber State. Andersen and his staff have done a tremendous job on the recruiting trail, garnering 24 commitments with five already being enrolled. The stars of the class are safeties Shurod Thompson and Christian Wallace, highly athletic prospects that shocked the country when they committed to Oregon State. The next month may be rocky for Oregon State fans, as defensive coordinator and recruiting phenom Kalani Sitake is now the head coach at BYU, so don’t be surprised if multiple defensive recruits follow him to Provo.
Star of the Class: FS Christian Wallace
Sleeper: DT Paisa Savea
Dream Recruit: DE Kayode Rufai
Got Some Work To Do
The firing of Steve Sarkisian, though justified, has certainly hurt the Trojans on the recruiting trail. That combined with the uninspiring hire of Clay Helton and a less than pleasant two game skid to end the season, has USC at only 14 commits heading into the final month. While low on quantity, the class is high on quality, as the Trojans have one of the best wide receiver classes in the country with the likes of Josh Imatorbhebhe, Velus Jones, Michael Pittman, and Tyler Vaughns filling their class. USC has at least 10 openings remaining in their class and are still in the running for top prospects such as Jack Jones, Connor Murphy, and Devin Asiasi.
Star of the Class: DE Wole Beitku
Sleeper: QB Matt Fink
Dream Recruits: CB Jack Jones, TE Devin Asiasi
The Wildcats took a step back from their Fiesta Bowl appearance in 2014, but Rich Rodriguez still got the Wildcats to their 3rd straight bowl game, this time beating New Mexico in the New Mexico bowl. Rodriguez and his staff still have some work to do in order to finish out their class, as they have so far lost the battle for Arizona to their rivals in Tempe. Khalil Tate is the headliner of the class, as the 4 star quarterback is a dynamic athlete that was recruited for multiple positions at the collegiate level. The Wildcats also won an important recruiting battle in the Hawaiian islands, garnering the commitment of Michael Eletise over offers from Alabama, Florida State, and LSU. The Wildcats still have several openings for their class, most notably at linebacker and defensive line.
Star of the Class: QB Kahlil Tate
Sleeper: DT Markell Utsey
Dream Recruit: CB Brandon Burton
Coach Macintyre inherited a complete mess when he took the job at Boulder, but he has helped improve the Buffaloes from a complete joke in 2013 to a possible bowl participant in 2016. In order to reach that level though, the Buffaloes will need to pick it up on the recruiting trail considerably. Colorado currently has just 12 commitments with a month remaining. Worse still, the Buffaloes top recruit, wide receiver Johnny Huntley, is expected to flip to the Syracuse Orange after his visit on the 15th. Without Huntley, the top recruit in CU’s class is quarterback Sam Noyer, a talented passer who is a tremendous fit for Colorado’s spread offense. Colorado still has a chance to finish their class strong, as they have 10 recruits scheduled to visit campus in the month of January, with the top recruits being linebacker Pookie Maka and defensive end Fua Pututau.
Star Recruit: QB Sam Noyer
Sleeper: OT Chance Lytle
Dream Recruits: LB Pookie Maka, DE Fua Pututau
Chris Petersen did an unbelievable job of squeezing 7 wins out of an incredibly young roster with freshmen starters at quarterback and running back, but more work is needed to be done if Washington is truly going to contend for Pac-12 titles. Undersized but dynamic running back Sean McGrew is the star of the group, as he packs NFL caliber athleticism into his 5’7″ frame. The Huskies also found a nice offensive lineman to build around in San Juan Capistrano native Luke Wattenburg, who chose the Huskies over offers from California, UCLA, and Nebraska. While Washington has some nice pieces, many more are needed to bring this 13 man class up to 25. January 5th will be a crucial weekend for the Huskies, as highly touted cornerback David Long and defensive tackle Boss Tagaloa will both be on campus.
Star Recruit: RB Sean McGrew
Sleeper: CB Kentrell Love
Dream Recruit: DT Boss Tagaloa