It's that time of year again in recruiting. It's not just the time of year for decommitments. (You could argue that's every month of year.)
Specifically, this is around the time that USC starts to grab commitments from local players and also when they start to flip long time commitments from other schools.
At the end of October they convinced one of Washington State's top commitments, running back Dominic Davis, to stay closer to home and play for the Trojans. They went ahead and did it again by flipping 4 star tight end Tyler Petite this past week. Petite shocked most recruiting experts when he committed to Duke way back in July over the Trojans.
I know David Cutcliffe's Duke is not the Duke of old, but Duke over USC didn't make a whole lot of sense from a football perspective for a California kid. Pretty much since then, most people figured the commitment wouldn't last because USC is USC and Duke is Duke. Sure enough, Petite did what everyone thought was inevitable. Other than Alize Jones, there isn't a better tight end in the west this recruiting cycle than Petite. He has the potential to develop into a big time weapon as a receiver in Steve Sarkisian's offense.
Davis and Petite aren't exceptions for USC. They are part of the norm. Any school that has a commitment from a player from California has to worry about USC. Even with their recent struggles (for them) and UCLA taking it to them on the field the last few years, they are the still the showcase program on the west coast. If they want a player, it's tough for that player to turn them down.
It's even pretty tough for a player not from California to turn them down. They are working on flipping 4 star running back Ronald Jones II, who just decommitted from Oklahoma State and has a top two of them and Notre Dame. There are more USC will go after and you can bet they'll make them rethink their original commitment. It's what USC does and they'll likely do it again a few times before signing day.
- Cal also flipped an incredibly important prospect for them at a position of need when they gained a commitment from junior college defensive end DeVante Wilson this week who had just committed to Washington State the previous week.
Our friends over at California Golden Blogs can tell you how badly the Bears have a need at defensive line. I think many Bears fans were hoping for recent commitment Russell Ude to play early. That's something I don't see happening with Ude and that makes Wilson even more important. He should be able to come in and help quite a bit with a pass rush next season.
- Yup, there was another recruit who flipped commitments to another school within the conference this weekend and not surprisingly it came from a player who was formerly committed to Oregon State. (I wrote about the potential recruiting repercussions of Mike Riley leaving last week.) Washington State might have lost a defensive end in Wilson, but gained a commitment from another in Hunter Maddox. The down time in between Riley leaving and Gary Andersen coming to Corvallis was time enough for Wazzu to swoop in.
- The Cougs kept going with their run of defensive commitments by adding linebacker Eddie Rudinski as well. In this era of spread offenses in the Pac-12, Rudinski is someone who could develop into a three down linebacker because of his speed and ability to play in coverage.
Just so the offensive staff didn't feel left out, Wazzu also secured a commitment from offensive tackle Davis Perrot. I like the way he finishes blocks. He's got the tools to develop into a solid starter later in his career.
- I'm not someone who automatically equates a player coming from a certain region and having a fan base rejoice about it, so I was a little skeptical before I watched film on offensive lineman Nick Buchanan, who also committed to Cal this weekend. Just because a recruit is from a talent-rich state like Georgia, it doesn't mean he's an SEC caliber player. Then I saw his offer list and was preparing myself to be underwhelmed.
But even though Buchanan did not have an offer from any other Power 5 conference schools, I really liked what I saw from his senior film. He isn't the most polished in terms of his technique, but he moves really well for his size and flashes a nasty mentality as a run blocker. I see a lot of talented offensive lineman take the easy route by fitting their blocks, but not working to sustain them. Buchanan drove a lot of defenders ten yards down the field and was putting them on their backs. I'll take a kid like him with his athleticism to work with any day over a kid that I have to teach to finish blocks.
- Long Beach Poly cornerback Colin Samuel went from a mid-level to an elite level recruit a month ago with a great senior year that led to offers from programs like UCLA, Oklahoma, and Mississippi State. The Bruins ended up landing a commitment from him last week. He's a big corner that has the chance to be awesome in man coverage.
- I really like what Chris Petersen and his staff have done with their first full recruiting class at Washington and especially like the job they've done with prospects within the state like offensive tackles Henry Roberts and Trey Adams, running back Myles Gaskin, and the recent commitment from athlete Chico McClatcher.
McClatcher should end up being a dangerous weapon on offense either in the slot or in the backfield. He could end up being an explosive returner as well.
Petersen also won a big recruiting battle over Oklahoma for junior college safety Ezekiel Turner last night. He's got three years of eligibility left and should make the most out of all three based on what I've seen from him. He's a big, physical safety that has tremendous closing speed.
- There are two massive recruiting decisions that are happening this week that look like they are going to end up going really well for the Pac-12.
4 star running back Cameron Scarlett is announcing his decision today and Stanford appears to be the heavy favorite. Before injuring his knee late in his senior season, he showed he can run with power and that's something I didn't see from him as a junior. Obviously Stanford likes power runners, but Scarlett showed the ability to be a complete back when he was healthy. He's a better receiving threat than any of the lead backs that have been stars for them during the Harbaugh/Shaw era. (Update: Scarlett did as expected and committed to Stanford)
5 star slot receiver Christian Kirk is also going to announce his decision this week and all signs are currently pointing to him staying home to play for Arizona State. He was dominant in 7 on 7 at The Opening when I watched him this summer. He's a dynamic player that can be used in a variety of ways at the next level. If he chooses ASU, he would be the first 5 star player for the Sun Devils since Vontaze Burfict in 2009.