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February 4, 2013
Recruiting blitz: Ranking the classes
With less then 48 hours until National Signing Day, we run down the current state of recruiting in the 2013 class in every major conference. NOTE: Classes ranked according to Rivals.com Team Recruiting Rankings as of the morning of 2/4/13. Actual rankings can and will change often.
1. Virginia Tech
1. Ohio State
The Trojans have taken a few hits in recent weeks. Lane Kiffin's class is still a juggernaut, just not at the same level of one it was a few months back. It still includes an impressive six five-star prospects.
Biggest catch: Kenny Bigelow, DT, Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy
Could steal: Matthew Thomas, LB, Miami Booker T. Washington
Jim Mora's class is as deep as any. There are no five-stars as of now, but there are a whopping 16 four-stars in the fold. UCLA is a threat to add more significant pieces on signing day and the Bruins' recruiting effort has to be commended and looked at as a possible turning point for a program on the rise.
Biggest catch: Priest Willis, DB, Tempe (Ariz.) Marcos de Niza
Could steal: Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, Placer (Calif.)
The hyper-intense Huskies' coaching staff has proven it can recruit with any team in the conference. Washington loaded up across the defensive line and did an outstanding job at wide receiver as well getting Damore'ea Stringfellow and others. Quarterback Troy Williams could be a star in the making. Southern California was a big focus for this staff and the Huskies scored big there.
Biggest catch: Troy Williams, QB, Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne
Could steal: Tyrell and Tyree Robinson, ATH, San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln
The Ducks weathered the storm of coach Chip Kelly leaving for the NFL. It was important that Mark Helfrich was promoted from within to keep the continuity of Oregon's offense and overall system intact. In the days leading up to signing day, the Ducks have to watch out for some last-minute defections that could put a crimp in this recruiting class.
Biggest catch: Thomas Tyner, RB, Beaverton (Ore.) Aloha
Could steal: Cameron Hunt, OL, Corona (Calif.) Centennial
Coach Sonny Dykes came to Berkeley with an aggressive recruiting approach and has done an admirable job keeping the Golden Bears' class intact. It was especially important to lock up four-star cornerback Darius Allensworth two weekends ago and quarterback is strong, too. The job isn't done yet though as some recruits are still considering other schools.
Biggest catch: Jared Goff, QB, Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic
Could steal: Patrick Enewally, DB, Cerritos (Calif.) Gahr
The Wildcats again struggled to lock up high-level players from Arizona. Instead they went elsewhere for their haul. The very top of Arizona's class is strong and includes what could end up being a game-changing quarterback, but there's something to be desired when it comes to depth.
Biggest catch: Anu Solomon, QB, Las Vegas Bishop Gorman
Could steal: Nobody. Arizona is likely finished.
7. Arizona State
The Sun Devils signed one of Arizona's top prospects in linebacker Chans Cox, who also listed a Notre Dame offer. That, in itself, is a huge win. The class also includes some solid junior college talent. Todd Graham seems to be changing the image of his program in his first full year as head coach.
Biggest catch: Chans Cox, LB, Lakeside (Ariz.) Blue Ridge
Could steal: L.J. Moore, DB, Fresno (Calif.) Central East
Defensive backs and running backs make up a large chunk of Utah's class. There's some solid depth throughout, including six junior college prospects. Most of the transfers are capable of contributing on the Pac-12 level immediately.
Biggest catch: Andre Lewis, WR, Diablo Valley (Calif.) Community College
Could steal: Micah Thomas, ATH, Galens Park (Texas) North Shore
9. Oregon State
Oregon State's coaching staff did a fantastic job recruiting the Inland Empire of Southern California and it paid big dividends. Numerous prospects from that talent-rich area committed to the Beavers and it could open new avenues for recruits in the future. There is still some unfinished business with top recruits leading up to signing day though which could affect Oregon State's class.
Biggest catch: Dashon Hunt, CB, Westlake Village (Calif.) Westlake
Could steal: L.J. Moore, DB, Fresno (Calif.) Central East
10. Washington State
Coach Mike Leach and his staff did an impressive job getting early signees from the junior college ranks and then some international players who they believe could be special for the Cougars. Washington State didn't have as much success reaching into Southern California as last recruiting cycle but it still landed Gerard Wicks, who could develop into a top-notch Pac-12 running back.
Biggest catch: Tyler Bruggman, QB, Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep
Could steal: Tatum Taylor, CB, Seattle (Wash.) O'Dea
The perception is that Stanford had a disappointing year recruiting and the numbers could play a major factor in that since the Cardinal only have 12 commits. Digging deeper finds many talented prospects in this class at key positions, so coach David Shaw's club should be fine in the coming years.
Biggest catch: Peter Kalambayi, LB, Matthews (N.C.) Butler
Could steal: Jordan Cunningham, WR, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School
The Buffs' class wasn't stellar at any point during the cycle, but the coaching change really made a debacle of it. There are a few solid pieces in play, but it's hard to blame anyone for the lack of top-flight players or much discernable depth. The bright spot is the fact that 10 of the program's 17 commits hail from California. That could be a sign of the school's move to the Pac-12 preparing to pay off.
Biggest catch: Sefo Liufau, QB, Tacoma (Wash.) Bellarmine Prep
Could steal: Chidobe Awuzie, DB, San Jose (Calif.) Oak Grove.