The lifeblood of college football revolves around middle-aged men convincing 17 year-old kids to join their team; we just happen to call it recruitment. The biggest recruiting holiday of the year, National Signing Day, happened a couple weeks ago. Nearly every player in the Top 100 signs their letters of intent (essentially, their pledges) on this day and people can understand how the recruiting classes will look.
Let’s take a look at the Pac-12 North in inverse rankings (according to 247.com composite rankings).
North: 6th | Pac-12: 12th
California’s last-place finish in recruiting should not come as a surprise. I mentioned in an earlier article that Cal fired Sonny Dykes with terrible timing. Cal began their coaching search only twenty-four days before Signing Day (fired 01/08, Signing Day was 02/01). It also should not be a shock that Cal ended up losing seven commits (albeit, gaining six others) after the coaching change. On one hand, it should be commended that Cal had the class they did considering the new coach, Justin Wilcox, only had seventeen days to pull a class together. On the other hand, they were the lowest ranked Power Five school (ACC, Big 10, Big XII, Pac-12, SEC) at a disappointing #73 amongst all colleges.
Chase Garbers, Quarterback, Three Stars
Cal has a reputation, recently, of developing solid quarterback talent. It was only a few years ago that Aaron Rodgers was throwing the ball around in Berkley. While that was two years ago, it takes a while for a program to reshape its identity (See: USC, Tailback U, Penn State, Linebacker U, etc.). Through Sonny Dykes’s tenure, Cal was equipped for a strong passing game. Garbers will get to step into that offensive identity.
Taariq Johnson, Wide Receiver, Three Stars
This was a tough one since Cal is, perhaps unsurprisingly, very young at almost every position. Taking that into consideration, wide receiver is a position where a young man can make an impact at a pass-happy Cal. Despite the regime change, the Golden Bears should still be expected to sling the ball having hired Eastern Washington’s head coach as their new offensive coordinator. If you’re unfamiliar with the EWU Eagles, they liked to throw the ball…a lot.
North: 5th | Pac-12: 11th
Since 2000, Oregon State has enjoyed a renaissance of football performance, finding themselves ranked in eleven of the seventeen seasons. While they have spent the last three seasons finishing below .500, they beat their in-state rival, Oregon, for the first time in nine years. Gary Andersen seems to want to stick around in Corvallis which only spells success for a college football program.
Isaiah Hodgins, Wide Receiver, Four Stars
A coup in every sense of the word, Oregon State was able to land a top-flight wide receiver who was predicted to go to the Ducks. The Beavers lost another 4* receiver in Jamire Calvin, who we will talk about later, but getting this kid must have felt amazing to Andersen and Co. Oregon State is deep at wide receiver, but talent like this always seems to rise to the top.
Jake Luton, Quarterback, Three Stars
Between 2015 and 2016, five different quarterbacks have seen significant playing time at Oregon State. While Marcus McMaryion seems to be the only constant between those two seasons, coaches don’t typically recruit junior college recruits expecting them not to make an impact. I would put heavy stock on Luton to compete in camp for a starting position and would not be surprised if he took the opening day snaps.
North: 4th | Pac-12: 9th
Washington State finished a second consecutive season above .500 and appearing in a bowl for the first time since 2003. While Mike Leach had a rocky first three seasons, the last two years with Luke Falk at the helm has been the light at the end of the tunnel Coug fans have been looking for. While they are not yet the preeminent power in the Pacific Northwest, they continue to trend towards success.
Jamire Calvin, Wide Receiver, Four Stars
If you looked at his name and said “Hey, I’ve heard that name before,” then congratulations, you do not have short-term memory loss. Calvin ended up flipping from Oregon State to Washington State (while spending a short time committed to Nebraska) on Signing Day. It isn’t hard to see why with the Pirate of the Palouse continuing to operate a passing offense with success.
Still Jamire Calvin
Did you know that Jamire Calvin is the first offensive 4* player since Gabe Marks? Food for thought. Calvin will not be quite the same player as Marks as he stands about three inches shorter and weighs thirty pounds lighter. With his frame, he could fill the Wes Welker role that Leach loved back at Texas Tech. Expect Calvin to get significant playing time with a nice receiver rotation that Leach employs along with four receivers graduating this year.
North: 3rd | Pac-12: 5th
Salvon Ahmed, Athlete, Four Stars
At the top of the recruiting list for Washington lies Salvon Ahmed. As the #1 Athlete (according to 24/7), Washington will have to decide whether or not he will play defensive back or running back. Rumors abound that he will play offense for the Huskies. With such a deep stable, it might be a season or two before Ahmed gets significant playing time in the backfield. Expect him to come on the scene strong when he finally does.
Ty Jones, Wide Receiver, Four Stars
The Huskies lost John Ross but retained Dante Pettis and Chico McClatcher; there is also no lack of depth at the position for Chris Petersen. Regardless, it is difficult to justify benching a 6’4″ wide receiver who runs somewhere between 4.5 and 4.6 seconds on his 40 yard dash. Expect him to get some time against the non-conference opponents to see his viability as a red zone threat.
North: 2nd | Pac-12: 3rd
Deommodore Lenoir, Cornerback, Four Stars
Deommodore Lenoir had committed to the Mark Helfrich administration and decommitted shortly after his firing. Up to and through the better part of Signing Day, it was “will he or won’t he” between Oregon, Nebraska, and UCLA. Ultimately, Lenoir rejoined the Ducks. His resigning is in no small part due to his high school teammate and good friend, Nick Pickett, being such an avid recruiter for the Ducks.
Thomas Graham (CB, 4*), Deommodore Lenoir (CB, 4*), Isaac Slade-Matautia (OLB, 4*), Rutger Reitmaier (DT, 3*)
I know, I picked four; I know, Oregon is my favorite team so it would certainly seem that I wanted to profile them more. While that could be true, it is also true that Oregon’s defense was an absolute dumpster fire. Oregon was third-to-last in yards allowed per game (Arizona State, Texas Tech). They were also third-to-last in points allowed per game (California, Texas Tech). While players like Troy Dye and Tyree Robinson have a lock on their positions, the bevy of defensive talent will have every opportunity in the world to make an impact.
North: 1st | Pac-12: 2nd
Davis Mills (QB, 5*), Foster Sarell (OT, 5*),
Walker Little (OT, 5*)
Another cop-out answer, but how can you really pick? This Stanford class saw the #1 pro-style quarterback and the #2 and #3 offensive tackles. In three seasons, Stanford’s offense will be very favorable to crack the Top 5 (not that they couldn’t do that sooner, perhaps).
Osiris St. Brown, Wide Receiver, Four Stars
With the second best class in the conference, any one of these players could make an impact. With that said, Stanford lost three of their six wide receivers from the two-deep depth chart to graduation. Osiris St. Brown has as good a chance as any to get playing time in Stanford’s pro-style offense this year.