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Pac-12 football recruiting: sleepers starting to emerge in recruiting after their senior seasons

UCLA got a huge pickup in cornerback Colin Samuel who just blew up a few weeks ago with big time offers. There are more players just like him popping up on the radar of Pac-12 teams

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

A month ago, Long Beach Poly cornerback Colin Samuel was a kid with some decent scholarship options. He knew he was going to be playing football at the FBS level somewhere.

Then things got a little crazy. He went from having a few decent options to getting offers from Oklahoma, Michigan, Purdue, UCLA, Washington State, and Mississippi State over the span of three days. It's pretty obvious that these programs had watched Samuel's senior film and realized there was a potential blue chip corner available that not a ton of programs knew about.

After transferring in to Long Beach Poly for his senior season, Samuel was going to be playing opposite the top corner in the nation in 5 star Iman Marshall. That meant he was going to have the football thrown his way the majority of the time and he was going to either sink or swim. Based on his offers and how he looks on film, it's pretty obvious that he took advantage of the opportunity.

Samuel ended his recruitment by committing to UCLA yesterday. The Bruins went from him likely not being on their board to getting a commitment from a big (6'2" 185) corner that can play physical, press-man coverage.

Things can change that quickly in recruiting and it's happening all over the place right now with senior film getting out to more and more schools. UCLA, along with Cal, Washington, and Washington State, is after sleeper safety Nathan Meadors. Meadors excelled at quarterback for his high school, but has shown enough at safety for those schools to offer after seeing his senior film. Prior to those offers, he only had offers from UC Davis, Nevada, and Boise State.

Cal just got a commitment from edge player Cameron Saffle who only had FBS offers from Idaho and Air Force. Colorado just got a commitment from receiver Justin Jan, who didn't have any other FBS offers. Saffle actually contacted the Cal staff to let them know about him and the Bears now have someone who could develop into a good edge rusher in their class. Jan was not known to CU coaches until his Arizona high school went and played a game in Colorado where Mike MacIntyre was in attendance and saw him have a monster game. Because of that the Buffs may have found themselves a future red zone target in Jan. There's another player who hasn't quite earned any Pac-12 offers yet, but could be someone that could start receiving a lot more attention. Running back Jeremy Smith had an awesome freshman season at Fresno City College as a 6'2" 225 power back, but didn't get much attention when he was 20 pounds lighter playing high school in Louisiana a year earlier.

He went the junior college route to get a second chance to gain the attention of some FBS schools, not because of academics. (Aaron Rodgers did the same thing.) Now after a great season, he's got an offer from Southern Miss and has now Notre Dame trying to get him on campus for an official visit. I wouldn't be surprised at all if a Pac-12 program with a need at running back in this recruiting class offered a player like Smith, who should be able to come in and compete for playing time immediately next season.

All blue chip college football players aren't discovered when they are sophomores and juniors in high school. Some take a little bit longer to be found and this is the time of year when those late bloomers start to emerge. Some will be players like Samuel and Meadors that blow up with offers and there will be even more like Jan and Saffle that get to attention of one staff.

All it takes though is one Pac-12 offer. That can be enough. Just ask Scooby Wright.