1. Which team has performed the best on the recruiting trail so far this year in the Pac-12 and why? Which team has been the most disappointing? Which team has been the most surprising?
The Pac-12 as a whole is off to a pretty slow start thus far without a single school in our current top 25 rankings. I really like what Stanford has done, they have nine commitments from seven different states. Keller Chryst is a franchise quarterback, Christian McCaffrey is one of the most underrated running backs in the country and corner Alijah Holder is a major sleeper.
UCLA has been a little disappointing with just four commitments but they're involved with several big time players and should close strong well. Washington State has been a pleasant surprise with nine early commitments including talented outside linebacker Greg Hoyd and defensive tackle Marcus Griffin, one of the best players in the region at his position.
2. If you were to rank the top three individual recruiters in the Pac-12, who would they be and why?
UCLA OL coach Adrian Klemm, USC DL coach Ed Orgeron and Washington DL coach Tosh Lupoi are all among the nation's best recruiters. All three have dynamic personalities, are able to relate well the athletes and have tireless work ethics. They're all similar in their approach, they do a great job identifying early the guys they like, they establish a relationship with the player and they're al grinders who won't allow any other coaches to out work them. Most importantly, they know how to close and all three are able to recruit not just locally but outside the west region as well.
3. Pinpoint several of the most hotly contested recruiting battles that'll involve Pac-12 prospects (recruits that are being fought over by multiple Pac-12 schools).
Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco OL Damien Mama recently cut his list to 13 with Cal, UCLA, USC and Washington all making the cut. USC may have the best local shot but watch out for Alabama as well for Mama. Bellevue (Wash.) DB Budda Baker has a top three of Oregon, UCLA and Washington and most feel this one is totally up for grabs. Fresno (Calif.) Central WR Michiah Quick has Cal, UCLA, USC and Washington all on his short list but Oklahoma and Notre Dame are heavily involved as well.
4. Who is the top recruit on Scout's board that has a good chance of ending up at a Pac-12 school? Who do you think is the best Pac-12 prospect on the board and why?
Gardena (Calif.) Serra DB Adoree Jackson and Long Beach Poly (Calif.) ATH JuJu Smith are 1A and 1B as the top prospects out west. UCLA and USC are both heavily involved with both but it would't be surprising if either left the area as well. Jackson has high interest in Florida, Michigan and LSU along with the local schools while Smith is also looking at Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame.
5. Looking back at the 2013 recruiting class, which players do you see making the biggest impact on the field this season in the Pac-12?
When you're talking about who can make an early impact, it's not just about talent but need and depth chart. USC has a big need for safety help and Su'a Cravens was the top player in the West last year. He missed spring ball with a knee injury but is healthy now and should see a ton of action. Thomas Tyner will be given every opportunity to run the rock next year and his speed should provide a handful of big plays. Washington receiver Damore'ea Stringfellow is a big, physical kid with strong hands and he'll fill a big need for the Huskies. UCLA graduated their entire secondary so incoming safeties Tyler Foreman and Tahaan Goodman both have a chance to play significant minutes.