It is nice to see Bruce Feldman back.
He has a great read on the recruiting battles in Southern California...($)
Southern California always has been an inviting target for college football recruiters, but it might never have been as tempting as it is right now. The talent base is rich and deeper than it has been in a decade, especially with linemen, according to college coaches.
But that's not the only reason that recruiters are so fired up this year. The USC Trojans, the local heavyweight, are still coping with NCAA sanctions, which will limit the number of prospects they can sign in February. On top of that, the UCLA Bruins are in the delicate spot of having their coach, Rick Neuheisel, on the hot seat, after Neuheisel went 4-8 in 2010 in his third year with the Bruins.
USC does have its work cut out for them.
Other teams in the Pac-12 will try to pick our guys off know that we can only take so many recruits.
This essentially gives opposing staffs free reign in SoCal.
But it is early yet.
We don't know what may happen to Oregon. The Willie Lyles situation could turn into a major deal...that is far from over. If the Ducks get nailed for Lyles they could lose schollies as well diminishing the players they can poach from our backyard. Don't be surprised to hear about the negative recruiting that will go on against Oregon. The same negative recruiting that Chip Kelly used against USC...that also led to Kelly and Staff being asked to leave a certain USC commits home after a very short time because of their negative recruiting.
Nueheisel is on the hotseat...we know he can recruit, though this past recruiting class wasn't as good as others. If Neuheisel exits at the end of the season the new UCLA staff will be behind more established programs. Yes, UCLA will still get some players but thy won't bring in the haul that Neuheisel has in the past. It will take the new staff some time to build relationships.
The jury is out on Stanford. I will wait to see how they do this season with a new staff in place. Shaw isn't Harbaugh and Luck is leaving after this season so they have some rebuilding to do.
Cal has been successful with Tosh Lupoi but like UCLA it isn't the recruits. it's what you do with them on the field. Tedford ain't all that...
Washington is the team that concerns me the most. Sarkisian can recruit! He is charismatic, he is from L.A., he knows the landscape and he has some strong relationships. If Sarkisian can have a better year this year without Jake Locker then look out. That will be the true test. I don't see Sarkisian leaving anytime soon.
Utah is the unknown. They now will have access to our backyard and we have seen what Whittingham can do.
Other teams in the conference will get some players, but they are not as much of a concern as the teams I mentioned above.
USC will be under the gun.
Conference expansion, a new TV deal and the sanctions against USC are the perfect storm going against us.