In addition to this being the greatest week of the year because of bowl games (football ever day!), this is also the most fun week of the year for anyone who follows recruiting.
Yes, this week is even more fun than signing day because it involves real football. This week is best on best where the top recruits in the nation get to face off against each other. Oregon defensive line commit Canton Kaumatule will get to prove whether he can hang with the best players from the mainland. Future UCLA pass rusher Keisean Lucier-South gets to show what he can do against 5 star left tackle Martez Ivey in the Army All-American game on Saturday. Throw in all of the recruiting that goes on during the week between the players and the announcements that will take place during the games and it all adds up to a crazy week.
Three games and a ton of Pac-12 commits and targets are taking parting in each. Let's break them all down here:
Semper Fidelis All American Bowl (Sunday, January 4th)
This is the least high profile of the three all star games going on this week, but there are still a lot of great players involved and that includes a lot of Pac-12 representation.
Safety Arrington Farrar (Stanford commit) - Farrar might not be the kind of guy who wows anyone with something spectacular during the game on Sunday, but it wouldn't surprise me if he was one of the best defenders during the entire week in practice. Stanford is getting a very solid football player.
Wide receiver Tristan Payton (USC commit) - Payton likely won't run by too many cornerbacks all week, but he'll compete for jump balls and be a tough matchup because of his size.
Offensive guard Nick Wilson (Stanford) - One of my favorite offensive lineman in the 2015 recruiting class, Wilson plays mean and should shine as a run blocker because of the way he competes.
Wide receiver Lavan Alston (Oregon State, Cal, and Washington State target) - He was originally close to committing to Oregon State before Mike Riley left and is a player to watch for fans from several teams this week.
Linebacker Christian Folau (Utah and Oregon State target) - An old school thumper at inside linebacker that used to be committed to Stanford. I'd pay money just to watch this kid take part in 9 on 7 drills. He's supposed to make his decision this weekend.
Defensive back Frank Buncom IV (Stanford target) - Buncom plans to decide about ten days after he plays in this game and most experts feel he is headed Stanford. He's a versatile player that could do well at corner or safety this week.
Offensive lineman Blake Brandel (Oregon State commit) - Brandel is a player that needs to physically develop more to contribute in college and is one of the lower ranked players participating in these games, but his effort and the way he competes should help him turn some heads this week as the only Beaver commit taking part.
Offensive lineman Drayton Carlberg (Oregon commit) - Another offensive lineman that isn't likely to see playing time too early in his career as a Duck, but should develop into a good interior lineman down the road. As a kid from Minnesota, this will be a significant step up in competition so there should be a good gauge of where he is at compared with some other highly ranked players.
Offensive guard Tevita Halailo (UCLA commit) - Halalilo has the raw tools to one day develop into a dominating guard. Not only is he huge, but his feet are much better than you'd expect. The future Bruin will get to test out how far exactly he is in that development.
Defensive lineman Noah Jefferson (USC commit) - Jefferson has a ton of potential, but lacks technique and plays too high right now. We'll see if the coaching he gets this week can help him make a leap towards the player he can be.
Quarterback Sheriron Jones (Arizona target) - I have no intel at all suggesting Jones could choose Arizona. I just know that he no longer is committed to Florida, is a fit for Rich Rod's offense, and previously had an offer from them. I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up shining during the game on Sunday.
Athlete Austin Joyner (Washington target) - Whether he is playing corner or on offense this week, I expect Joyner to do well. He's planning on announcing during the game.
Offensive guard Shane Lemieux (Oregon commit) - Yakima, Washington isn't exactly Dade County in terms of producing top tier football talent so this is going to be a big week for Lemieux to see if he belongs amongst some of the others he is competing against.
Athlete Malik Lovette (Oregon commit) - Sometimes it's hard for players like Lovette to shine in this kind of environment because he likely isn't going to utilized during the week like he will be at Oregon, but I'm sure there will be some flashes of his explosive potential when he gets the ball in practice and the game.
Athlete Kirk Merritt (Oregon target) - Merritt might be the most talented player participating in this game and has the potential to excel against the competition. He would be another big time weapon for the Ducks to add to their offense.
Defensive lineman Benning Potoae (Washington and UCLA target) - Potoae is an under-appreciated player from an under-rated state (Washington) when it comes to producing talent. I think he'll grow into a defensive tackle at the next level and might get a look there this week.
Linebacker Kyavha Tezino (Washington State commit) - I expect Tezino to fly around the football all week. He has sideline to sideline kind of speed as a linebacker.
Tight end Tyrone Wheatley Jr.(USC and Oregon target) - With Jim Harbaugh now at his father's alma mater, it may be a moot point to include Wheatley in this group. He's interesting prospect because he plays against competition (Buffalo, New York) that isn't that great, yet you can see the athletic potential and his massive frame to suggest he can develop into a whole lot more than he is now. He could show some nice flashes of being the complete tight end that he should one day become.
Offensive lineman Tim Lynott (Colorado commit) - Lynott is the best player in Colorado's recruiting class in my opinion and the only representative of their recruiting class at these games. I think he's going to eventually be a really good one and this should be a great test for him going up against higher ranked players like defensive tackle Darian Roseboro.
US Army All-American Game (Saturday, January 3rd)
Defensive tackle Jacob Daniel (USC) - At one time Daniel was considered a 5 star level player, but injuries hurt his ranking so he has this week to get back in the conversation as one of the top players at his position.
Quarterback Sam Darnold (USC) - After missing almost his entire junior year due to injury, Darnold impressed during the summer. He's physically ready to play at the next level right now as an athlete, but even though he progressed during his senior season, he's still a better runner than a quarterback right now. This week he gets to show of his throwing skills a bit more.
Offensive lineman Chuma Edoga (USC) - There might not be a better athlete as an offensive lineman in this entire recruiting class. Just like he was at The Opening, Edoga should be one of the best linemen competing this week. USC is getting a great one.
Defensive tackle Rasheem Green (USC, UCLA, and Oregon target) - Green is probably going to take until signing day to make a decision, but it looks favorable that he will stay and play in the Pac-12. Like Edoga, he was very good at The Opening and t I expect him to be one of the standouts of the entire week as an interior pass rusher.
Running back Taj Griffin (Oregon) - Griffin won't be participating this week after hurting his knee during his senior season, but if he recovers fully, he should be an electric player for the Ducks.
Linebacker Porter Gustin (USC and ASU target) - Gustin was supposed to announce his commitment during the game, but won't be doing that now. USC and ASU appear to be the heavy favorites to land him. He doesn't play the greatest competition in Utah, but is a physical freak that could grow into defensive end. He's the kind of kid that I imagine will continue to look better and better in practice as everything progresses.
Defensive back Dechaun Holiday (USC and UCLA target) - Holiday is either going to be a massive corner or make the move over to safety. At either position, he has elite ball skills that could ultimately lead him to play wide receiver in college.
Wide receiver Trent Irwin (ASU and Stanford target) - He's probably the best route runner out of any wide receiver prospect in the 2015 class and has shined in just about every thing he does. I expect him to do well during the week and be an incredibly productive player in the Pac-12.
Tight end Alize Jones (UCLA commit) - The Bruins are going to be in a dog fight to keep Jones from flipping to Notre Dame, but for now, he's a UCLA commit. He's the best tight end in the nation and should remain in that spot after displaying his skills against the very best this week.
Cornerback Isaiah Langley (USC commit) - Langley is a tremendous athlete that relied heavily on his athleticism to make up for some inefficient technique as a junior, but has really cleaned up a lot of that during his senior season. He still has plenty of room to grow as a cornerback, but his instincts and ball skills make him one of the top corners on the west coast. He could be someone who jumps up in the rankings by turning some heads this week.
Athlete Jaason Lewis (ASU commit) - Lewis could play a number of positions this week. Even though he will likely start out on offense, his best future position may be on defense in the Pac-12.
Edge player Keisean Lucier-South (UCLA commit) - The key question for Lucier-South during the week is how he performs at the point of attack because everyone knows he's an outstanding chase player with a motor that doesn't stop in pursuit. His potential as a pass rusher should be on full display.
Linebacker Osa Masina (ASU, UCLA, and USC target) - When a kid who excels on both sides of the football gets to concentrate on one for the firs time in pads (he competed without pads at The Opening), it's always going to be interesting watch. He's got the tools to be a three down linebacker that never steps off the field in the spread heavy Pac-12.
Athlete Stanley Norman (ASU, Washington State, and UCLA target) - Norman has the athletic skills and confidence to develop into an elite corner after he physically develops more at the next level. He's set to make his decision this weekend with Arizona State seen as the favorite to land him.
Offensive guard Zach Okun (Oregon commit) - Okun's compete level is right at the top of class and he moves really well for his size, but isn't quite as physically developed as some of the top defensive tackles he is going to have to face this week. After some time in Oregon's strength and conditioning program, he should have a very bright future opening up running lanes for the Ducks.
Wide receiver T.J. Rahming (Cal target) - Rahming is committed to Duke, but is still open with his recruitment. His size has him rated as a 3 star, but he has the kind of talent that could make him a 4 star after competing against higher ranked players all week.
Defensive end Christian Rector (USC commit) - Rector is a kid who has the frame to weigh a lot more than the 245 pounds he is at right now. I don't think he'll flash too much during the week because there are more explosive athletes at his position that are also competing, but he should end up being a solid player for the Trojans for multiple years, especially as a run defender.
Athlete Ykili Ross (USC target) - Ross is deciding this week and it sure sounds like he is USC bound. He's lining up as receiver and could end up there or in the secondary in college. He's one of those players who is known a lot more on the west coast than he is nationally. That could change after this week.
Linebacker Josh Smith (Cal target) - Smith is committed to Vanderbilt, but has planned to take a visit to Cal. He has all the tools to be a complete linebacker at the next level.
Safety Marvell Tell (USC and Oregon target) - Wow, who would have guessed that USC is in on another All-American? Tell is one of the top safety prospects on the west coast. He's a solid, technically sound football player that might not get a ton of accolades this week, but that won't be because he didn't do his job.
Quarterback Ricky Town (USC commit) - It's really tough for quarterbacks to shine in this kind of setting and even tougher if it's a pocket quarterback. I don't expect Town will be getting a ton of hype this week, but he should remain one of the top passers in the nation.
Quarterback Travis Waller (Oregon commit) - Oregon fans don't want to see Waller running an all-star game offense. The want to see him running the same offense that helped Marcus Mariota become the player he is today. He's a true dual threat quarterback and we should get a glimpse of his running skills against faster competition.
Running back Chris Warren (Washington target) - He apparently weighed in at 240 going into this week. It's his speed at that size that makes him a potentially special player. Having him and Porter Gustin meet in the hole a couple of times during the week would be a really fun matchup to watch.
Quarterback Brady White (ASU commit) - Just like other situations where he is competing against top competition, he'll have his top target Trent Irwin to throw to that should give him an advantage over most of the other quarterbacks. It would also be a pretty big advantage if he gets to throw to Irwin at Arizona State as well. White needs to add weight to survive in the Pac-12, but his feet are so good and his mechanics so consistent that he should thrive in the pocket. He's also a good enough athlete to thrive outside of the pocket as well.
Defensive tackle Joseph Wicker (ASU, Arizona, and UCLA target) - The best interior pass rusher on the west coast has the potential to be a great three technique for some lucky program. His great first step should help him excel.
Under Armour All-America High School Football Game (Friday, January 2nd)
Cornerback Iman Marshall (USC target) - The best cornerback in the nation has suitors from all over the nation, but USC is considered the favorite to land his signature. Not many teams tried to test him during his senior year because he's just that good. He'll get tested this week and my guess is he'll earn high marks when all is said and done.
Defensive tackle Tim Settle (USC target) - Settle isn't someone that many people predict will end up on the west coast, but would you be shocked if he did with the way USC is recruiting this cycle? He's got something to prove this week after not exactly the best showing at The Opening this summer.
Running back Ronald Jones II (USC target) - The former Oklahoma State commit is deciding on Friday with the Trojans in good position. If Buck Allen goes pro, Jones could step in and be someone who contributes early in his career. Running backs don't tend to shine in these kind of games and practices, so I wouldn't expect to hear much good or bad about Jones throughout the week.
Offensive guard Josh Wariboko (UCLA target) - Wariboko is a former Oklahoma commit and it's not unrealistic that he could come out west and choose the Bruins. He's got a nasty edge to his game, which makes him a candidate to get under the skin of a lot of defensive linemen this week. He'll need to reshape his body a bit once he gets to the college level.
Quarterback Josh Rosen (UCLA commit) - The top quarterback in the nation is not going to be competing this week due to injury. That shouldn't bother UCLA fans one bit because I'm sure they want him healthy and ready to compete to replace Brett Hundley next fall (if he leaves for the NFL).
Running back Soso Jamabo (UCLA target) - Remember how I said running backs don't tend to shine during all-star practices and games? That may not be the case with Jamabo because he can do so much with the football. It sounds like it will be close to a signing day decision, but it's more than worth the wait for the Bruins. He could be an immediate difference maker in the Pac-12 South.
Defensive lineman Canton Kaumatule (Oregon commit) - Way, way back around 2,500 words or so ago, I said Kaumatule will get to prove if he belongs with the best players from the mainland. I think he'll not only prove to belong, but stand out. He's good enough to dominate in spots this week and should play early for the Ducks.
Offensive tackle Keenan Walker (Arizona commit) - The practices have already started at the UA game and Walker is now going to have deal with being on the wrong end of this beastly display by 5 star defensive end Byron Cowart. Walker showed at The Opening that he is not afraid to compete against the best and hopefully he bounces back to show what he can do this week. He needs to prove he can finish in the run game to show he can develop into a complete left tackle in the Pac-12 for Arizona.
Offensive lineman Fred Ulu-Perry (UCLA commit) - Ulu-Perry does not need to prove he can compete with the top dogs in the nation. He showed he can do that with his performance this summer against 5 star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie at The Opening. This could be the week that Ulu-Perry emerges as a top 100 player though. I think he's that good and has a very bright future at UCLA.
Wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (USC, UCLA, Utah, and Stanford target) - St. Brown didn't have the dominating senior season that most expected from him. It still doesn't change that he has the best name of all time or the fact that he's got a ridiculously high ceiling. He has the skill set to be a number one receiver at the college level and could gain back some of the rankings momentum he lost during the fall season with a strong showing this week.
Wide receiver Alex Ofodile (Oregon commit) - Ofodile isn't the biggest, strongest, or fastest receiver competing this week so he might not win a beauty contest next someone like St. Brown. If he can show he can separate from elite level corners this week, then it could go a long way in showing he can be a big time player for Oregon.
Linebacker John Houston (USC, ASU, and Oregon target) - Once again, USC is the favorite for a top player on the west coast. He says he's "out to prove he's the best". We'll see if that ends up being the truth by the time the game ends on Friday.
Tight end Chris Clark (UCLA target) - Clark might end up back as a Michigan commit now that Jim Harbaugh has taken that job, but UCLA remains a strong option for him, especially if they lose Alize Jones to Notre Dame. It would be out of the ordinary for a tight end to stand out from the crowd during a week like this. Clark will get some chances as a receiver and should also show how much he has improved as run blocker.
Tight end Tyler Petite (USC commit) - Once again, tight ends don't shine in this kind of setting. Petite should have a nice career at USC once he adds some weight and strength over the next couple of years.
Center Brian Chaffin (Stanford commit) - Playing center is a thankless position most of the time. It's vitally important, but doesn't even get the glory that an offensive tackle receives. Expect the norm to continue this week without a lot of mention of Chaffin. He'll be tested throughout the week by some big time defensive tackles that will help him get ready to make the jump to playing at Stanford.
Athlete Paul Lucas (ASU commit) - The intrigue with Lucas is how he'll be used. He could get some reps in the slot and at running back and I expect he will also do the same once he gets to Arizona State.
For more All-Star game coverage, follow @SBNRecruiting and Pacific Takes will have reaction to all the potential commitments that impact the Pac-12 after the games