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Recruiting 2014 - Pac-12 Team Rankings

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Feb 7, 2014


Ranking and analyzing all the Pac-12 teams this 2014 recruiting season.

Recruiting 2014 

Pac 12 North Analysis

CFN Top Prospects for 2014
- No. 1 to 50 | No. 51 to 100 | No. 101 to 150
- No. 151 to 200No. 201 to 250 | No. 251 to 300
- Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Receivers
- Tight Ends | Off. Tackles | Guards & Centers 
- Def. Ends | Def. Tackles | Linebackers | Corners | Safeties 

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- Recruiting 2014 - Pac 12 North Analysis
- Recruiting 2014 - Pac-12 South Analysis

1. USC | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Converting on third downs. The Trojans’ inability to extend drives was one of the many problems that plagued an offense that struggled to put together consecutive strong outings. Steve Sarkisian wants to unveil a balanced offense, one that’s capable of moving the sticks equally well on the ground as through the air. When USC finishes 97th nationally in third-down conversions, as it did in 2013, both sides of the ball are negatively impacted.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive backs. After a little bit of concern with the coaching change, now, all is right with the world. The 2015 USC class might be shaping up as something truly special, but Steve Sarkisian did okay on short notice stealing away safety Juju Smith from Oregon and nabbing corner Adoree Jackson as a part of an already good group of defensive backs with Jonathan Lockett and John Plattenburg coming in. Damien Mama is a 6-4, 370-pound guard who might be the best in the nation, and with fellow guards Viane Talamaivao and Toa Lobendahn, along with tackle Chris Brown, the O line is going to be special. Bryce Dixon is one of the top tight end recruits – 2015 super-recruit Ricky Town will someday love throwing to him.  

2. UCLA | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Keeping the franchise off the grass. QB Brett Hundley decided to return for his junior season instead of testing NFL waters. It’s up to the Bruin O-line to make sure he doesn’t second guess the decision. UCLA gave up 36 sacks last season to rank next to last in the Pac-12. The unit was littered with underclassmen, and has added Miami transfer Malcolm Bunche, but losing all-star Xavier Su’a-Filo to the draft creates a major void that no returning Bruin will be able to seamlessly fill.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebackers. Yet another fantastic class under Jim Mora upgraded just about everywhere with Ainuu Taua and Jacob Tuioti-Mariner two stars for the defensive front, Jaleel Wadood a next-level prospect at safety, Adarius Pickett a great get at corner, and running back Nathan Starks a future featured factor for the ground game. The best gets were at linebacker with Mora bringing in a few killers in Zach Whitley out of Texas and Kenny Young out of Louisiana. Cameron Griffin and Dwight Williams aren’t bad, either. 

3. Arizona State | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Rebuilding the secondary. The Sun Devils won’t have many problems scoring points in 2014. Shutting down the other guys? Yeah, that could be a challenge in the early going. ASU has lost a ton of pivotal defensive playmakers, including three All-Pac-12 performers out of the defensive backfield. Not only is the competition going to be fierce at every level, but first-year players are going to get a chance to crack the two-deep very early in their careers.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Skill talent. The defensive side got a few fantastic options with linebacker D.J. Calhoun a speedy outside option and the JUCO ranks were mined for the line with Edmond Boateng and Darrius Caldwell on the end and 325-pound Dalvon Stuckey for the interior. However, 6-6 Renell Wren is the best overall prospect for the line. The stars are on offense with Manny Wilkins the team’s future at quarterback and Demario Richard a workhorse running back. JUCO transfer Eric Lauderdale will step into the receiving corps right away, and Tyler Whiley is a future go-to target. 

4. Stanford | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Coaching up the next generation of defensive players. While defense has been the capstone of the Cardinal’s recent success, the 2014 unit needs to be rebuilt, especially in the front seven. Just one regular, LB James Vaughters, returns from the first two levels of the D, and successful coordinator Derek Mason is now the Vanderbilt head coach. Fortunately, Mason’s successor, Lance Anderson, has been on staff since 2007, and he knows the personnel within the program.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive line. It’s not a big overall class, but getting the nation’s second-best OT Casey Tucker is a huge coup, and Reilly Gibbons, Austin Hall and Jesse Burkett helped to keep Stanford as a factory for offensive linemen. No. 4 DE Solomon Thomas was a massive Signing Day get that boosted up the entire class, and tight end Dalton Schultz is the nation’s best tight end prospect. The secondary also got a big boost with safety Brandon Simmons leading the way and a good group of corners all talented. Outside linebackers Joey Alfieri and Bobby Okereke will eventually be among the team’s leading tacklers after adding more weight. 

5. Oregon | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Cutting down on penalties. It’s one thing to be aggressive on both sides of the ball. But it’s another thing entirely to make the kinds of silly mistakes that impact drives and field position. The Ducks too often crossed the line a year ago, committing more penalties than any other Pac-12 team. While head coach Mark Helfrich doesn’t want his players to overthink their roles on the field, he would like to see them play a little smarter a year from now.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive back. The Ducks might have missed out on a few key players – thanks, USC – but the secondary is still loaded with good prospects with Arrion Springs the team’s future lockdown corner and good safeties in Glen Ihenacho and Khalil Oliver to build around. JUCO transfer Dominique Harrison was signed to be a part of the mix now. The Ducks also got help from the JUCO ranks for the defensive front with end Tui Talia and at offensive tackle with Haniteli Lousi, but the team’s biggest stars are for the near future with RB Royce Freeman a big back with wheels and Jalen Brown a fantastic receiver prospect out of Phoenix.

6. Arizona | The 2013 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Fine-tuning the passing game. RB Ka’Deem Carey predictably left early for the NFL, which means the Wildcats will no longer house one of the nation’s premier running backs. Rich Rodriguez and his staff will spend the offseason sifting through their quarterback options, a process that could take right up until the opener. Arizona has to find that one guy capable of making use of an emerging corps of receivers likely to be the strength of the entire 2014 squad.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Wide receiver. The tight ends were addressed, too, with Trevor Wood one of the nation’s top prospects and Darrell Cloy a good-looking pass catcher. It’s the Arizona offense, so it’s mostly about the running game with Nick Wilson and Jonathan Haden two speedy options. JUCO transfer Jerrard Randall will be brought in to compete for the starting job soon, and Brandon Dawkins is a talented option to develop for the future. Cameron Denson is a local product who could’ve gone just about anywhere – he’ll be the team’s No. 1 target. He leads a deep and talented group of receivers. 

7. Washington | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Protecting whichever quarterback goes on to replace Keith Price. The Huskies gave up 30 sacks in 2013, and that was when a seasoned veteran was occupying the pocket. Now that one of the underclassmen is set to take the controls, Washington has to do an even better job of neutralizing opposing pass rushers. Every member of the Fight Hunger Bowl two-deep returns, so there’ll be no excuses for not making strides in 2014.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive back. Chris Petersen brought in a boatload of players for the secondary with Budda Baker one of the nation’s top safety prospect and corner Naijiel Hale a top-shelf corner to work around. The future of the offense is in the hands of K.J. Carta-Samuels at quarterback, and 6-8, 280-pound tackle Kaleb McGary is a future anchor for the line. The defensive front got a ton of help with Greg Gaines and Jaylen Johnson two excellent prospects with huge upside. 

8. California | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Defense, defense, defense. The Bears were an undisputed sieve in 2013, yielding more points per game than every FBS team except Idaho. The program lost a handful of starters to graduation and early entry into the NFL Draft, and Art Kaufman is replacing Andy Buh as the coordinator. In other words, it might be the second year of the Sonny Dykes regime, but it’s going to feel like the defense is starting over in many regards.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebacker. The Bears are desperate to start cranking up the defense, and while that might take a bit, steps were taken for 2014 with JUCO transfers Trevor Kelly and David Davis for the interior of the line and JUCO end Jonathan Johnson for the outside. Also from the JUCO ranks is Sam Atoe, a big-hitting safety, but the future is at linebacker with Alisea Tongilava and Noah Westfield surrounding Chandler Leniu in the middle. The offense will never be ignored under Sonny Dykes, signing quarterbacks Luke Rubenzer and Chase Forrest and getting a terrific prospect in receiver Erik Brown. 

9. Oregon State | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Balancing the passing of Sean Mannion with a better ground game. When the Beavers have peaked through the years, they always had a prolific runner coming out of the backfield. However, that has not been the case in recent seasons. This past fall, Oregon State averaged just 94 yards a game and 3.4 yards per carry. Yeah, the offense is in good hands now that Mannion has returned for his senior year, but it can be much more potent if it exploits defenses that commit to stopping the pass.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive line. The Beavers ramped things up for the defensive front with several prospects to find a couple who can step up and play early on. Kalani Vakameilalo is a big 6-4, 300-pound space-eater, and Sumner Houston leads a deep group of quick pass rushing ends. The offensive line picked things up in the interior with a host of guards led by 330-pound Kammy Delp, while JUCO transfer Bobby Keenan will push for time at one of the tackle spots. Nick Mitchell and Marcus McMaryion will fight it out to be the quarterback of the future. 


10. Washington State | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Hitting the quarterback with more frequency. The Cougars can accept the fact that they’re going to give up yards, but they want to compensate with more momentum-changing plays on the defensive side of the ball. Wazzu succeeded in creating a slew of turnovers in 2013. This season, it hopes to attack the pocket and force opposing passers out of their comfort zone. The Cougars won’t always win the line of scrimmage, but they can create problems by turning loose linebackers and safeties.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. There aren’t a slew of great prospects, but there are enough bodies to play around with the depth in the next few years starting with tackle Ngalu Tapa and end Kingston Fernandez. The secondary should be stronger with corner Kevin Griffin and safety Deion Singelton certain starters in a few years, and the linebacking corps was addressed. QB Peyton Bender out of Fort Lauderdale is making a long journey to Pullman, and receivers Calvin Green and Barry Ware will be part of the passing game fun soon. 

11. Utah | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Turning around the offense. Kyle Whittingham went out and hired Dave Christensen to coordinate an attack that was the next worst thing to Colorado a year ago. The Utes were a middling rushing team and even more inconsistent at throwing the ball. Above all else, Christensen and the rest of the staff must settle on a quarterback this offseason, preferably one who makes good decisions with the ball. Utah threw 21 picks in 2013, the fifth most in the FBS.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Wide receiver. It was a nice haul for Kyle Whittingham, getting running backs Dacorius Law and Amone Finau along with star OT Jackson Barton, but the receiving corps received the most help with Marcus Williams, Kenrick Young and Raelon Singleton to go along with JUCO transfer Kaelin Clay. Can Donovan Isom help out the quarterback situation? He’s a very big passer with a live arm. Allan Havili and Kyle Chrsitiansen are big bodies for the defensive interior, and corner Casey Hughes and safety Andre Godfrey are Pac-12 defensive backs.

12. Colorado | The 2014 Recruiting Class

Team Concerns For 2014: Improvement in the running game. While the offensive line generally did a decent job of pass protecting, it struggled when opening holes for Christian Powell, Michael Adkins and Tony Jones. The Buffs averaged only 3.4 yards per carry, a shaky level of output that’s going to stifle the development of second-year QB Sefo Liufau. Liufau should be improved as a sophomore, but by how much will depend on the help he gets from his supporting cast.

The 2014 Class Is Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. There aren’t any great prospects, but there are lots of them for the defensive front with Jase Franke and Terran Hasselback on the ends. Case Aspay locked on last year to try to become the team’s quarterback, and Shay Fields and Donovan Lee are good-looking quick targets out of California. JUCO transfer Ahkello Witherspoon will be needed early on at corner, linebackers Grant Wantanabe and Rick Gamboa could be the defensive stars of the class.