So much for a dead period. Most of December is supposed to be a break from recruiting for staffs and and recruits, but this month has now turned into a frenzy of activity for programs looking to fill out their class.
There isn't a program within the conference that has experienced more change in their recruiting class than Washington State this month. The month started out with them losing their top commitment, 4 star cornerback Austin Joyner, but since then the Cougars have been on fire with eleven (!) commitments so far this month.
The crazy thing is that most of those commitments have been on the defensive side of the ball and the Cougs have got them without having a defensive coordinator on staff after firing Mike Breske. After flipping defensive lineman Hunter Maddox from Oregon State last week, they then stole away junior college safety Shalom Luani from the Beavers. He should come in and make an immediate impact next season. The biggest get over the long term is 4 star linebacker Kyahva Tezino, a big time athlete and someone who should develop into a sideline to sideline player that doesn't leave the field in any situation.
Mike Leach and his staff are also doing a great job of identifying sleepers in this class. Linebacker Logan Tago shows flashes that he could end up being a steal down the road, but the player I'm most excited to watch in the next few years is wide receiver Kyle Sweet. I was watching a Santa Margarita vs Corona (Santiago) game earlier this season to see big time 2016 quarterback K.J. Costello and 5 star Alabama quarterback commit Blake Barnett and Sweet grabbed my attention because he wouldn't stop making plays. I was amazed that he didn't any offers back then. I would not be surprised if a few Pac-12 schools will be kicking themselves wondering why they didn't offer him.
The flurry of commitments for Wazzu meant they made a huge jump in the recruiting rankings and it took them out of the bottom tier of Pac-12 teams when it comes to recruiting. If they keep recruiting like this, then the Cougs will be climbing out of the bottom tier on the field as well.
- I mentioned above how Washington State has taken away two former Oregon State commitments in Maddox and Luani and the news kept getting worse for Gary Andersen with tight end Matt Pistone flipping to Boise State. Andersen will have a chance to recover and will finally be able to get some recruits on campus in January for official visits with more of his staff put together, but this is not going to end up being a banner year in recruiting for the Beavers.
If it's any consolation, Andersen didn't have any highly ranked classes at Utah State and he did an amazing job of developing the talent he did land.
- The story of the week for Arizona State was who they didn't land with 5 star wide receiver Christian Kirk electing to leave home for Texas A&M. He's just another on the list of local blue chip recruits who have decided to not stick around a play for the Sun Devils.
- I did a Q&A with UW Dawg Pound last week and I mentioned how I like what Chris Petersen is doing with his first full class at Washington. The newest addition to the class that committed after that post is 3 star Tevis Bartlett. He's not going to cause any ripples in the rankings, but he's the kind of athlete that would have gotten a lot more recognition if he didn't live in Wyoming and could have a bright future at linebacker for the Huskies.
- Colorado isn't winning too many head to head recruiting battles for elite prospects so they have to work to find players like linebacker Jay Hockaday. His offer list isn't too impressive, but he's a nice pickup for the Buffs out of Tennessee.
- Cornerback/wide receiver Octavius Spencer is another recruit that started to blow up after a great senior year and UCLA got a commitment from him this week. He's a 3 star athlete with four star potential and also had offers from Washington and Oregon.
- Cal picked up two commitments last week with 3 star defensive Antoine Albert being the most intriguing of the two. At 6'2" and around 200 pounds, I wouldn't be surprised to see him move to safety later on, but he could end up being that big corner that every program covets that can play press-man coverage.
- Two junior college wide receivers in the same recruiting class seems a little surprising for a school like USC, but it should make the competition for playing time really interesting during camp next August. I don't think their most recent commitment Isaac Whitney is going to come in a light the conference on fire with his play, but he could end up catching a lot of passes over the next couple of seasons.
- In non-commitment news, Oregon got an early Christmas present with 4 star quarterback Travis Waller announcing he is going to enroll early. In normal circumstances, I think he'd benefit from sitting out next season and maturing physically while getting a better grasp of the Ducks offense. With Marcus Mariota leaving for the NFL after this season though and no clear cut favorite to replace him set in place, Waller might be forced into action much earlier than expected. Having that extra time in the spring at least gives him a shot at winning the job next fall.