USC’s afternoon surge and strong performances by the new coaching staffs of Oregon and UCLA were the Pac-12′s biggest developments Wednesday, concluding the second round of college football recruiting in 2017-18.
Herm Edwards, Arizona State’s controversial pick as coach, didn’t do quite as well as Oregon’s Mario Cristobal or UCLA’s Chip Kelly. The dropoff from No. 4 UCLA to No. 5 Utah and No. 6 ASU was significant, according to the Pac-12′s rankings by 247Sports. Even so, Edwards produced a big turnaround late in the day to move ahead of Utah temporarily, before the rankings were updated overnight.
As a former NFL coach, Edwards found college recruiting different. “This is a unique format for me,” he told The Arizona Republic. “These players get to pick you. I usually pick players.”
Utah’s No. 5 slot in the conference represented the program’s highest ranking in eight recruiting classes as a Pac-12 member. Utah’s December signing of Jack Tuttle contributed to what Pac-12 Networks analyst Yogi Roth labeled “the year of the quarterback” in the conference.
Washington’s signing of quarterbacks Jacob Sirmon and Colson Yankoff helped the Huskies finish No. 2 in the Pac-12.
The defending champion USC Trojans dominated the conference in recruiting and rose to No. 4 nationally in the 247Sports composite rankings with late signings of highly regarded linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu, cornerbacks Olaijah Griffin and Isaac Taylor-Stuart and receiver Devon Williams, who was favoring Oregon for much of his recruitment. Quarterback JT Daniels is expected to compete right away for the vacancy created by Sam Darnold entering the NFL draft.
Oregon lost some ground Wednesday but recovered with the signing of Penei Sewell, an offensive tackle from Desert Hills High School in St. George.
UCLA’s class included cornerback Elisha Guidry, a brother of Utah defensive back Javelin Guidry.
Stanford landed quarterback Tanner McKee, a BYU target. McKee intends to serve an LDS Church mission before enrolling at Stanford in 2020. “Academically, Stanford is about as good as you’re going to get,” McKee told 247Sports. “I really felt at home there on my official visit, and I related really well with the players on the team and other recruits there.”
Arizona finished 11th in the Pac-12 rankings under new coach Kevin Sumlin. Texas A&M, Sumlin’s former employer, made the top 20 nationally.
PAC-12 RECRUITING RANKINGS (with national ranking, updated Thursday)
1. USC (No. 4)
2. Washington (No. 13)
3. Oregon (No. 16)
4. UCLA (No. 18)
5. Utah (No. 34)
6. Arizona State (No. 37)
7. Stanford (No. 39)
8. California (No. 43)
9. Washington State (No. 45)
10. Colorado (No. 52)
11. Arizona (No. 58)
12. Oregon State (No. 69)