Normally when a program loses a couple of commitments in a week, it's cause for panic amongst their fans. With USC, their fans might have been actually celebrating.
This is nothing against the two players that decommitted from the Trojans last week. Cornerback Taeon Mason, who flipped to Washington State, and wide receiver Tristan Payton, who flipped to UCF, are both good players. They just aren't on the same level as the players the Trojans are still chasing. Losing those two players frees up scholarships so the Trojans aren't limited to just adding a couple of more players in this recruiting class. Now they should have room to sign all of their targets if they can land top recruits like Iman Marshall, Porter Gustin, Rasheem Green, John Houston, and fast rising senior defensive tackle prospect Kevin Scott to go along with their most recent 5 star addition, linebacker Osa Masina. (I broke down Masina for Pacific Takes here)
I'm not saying that Steve Sarkisian and the USC coaching staff dropped Mason and Payton, but it wouldn't be surprising to me if they did or at the very least gave them a nudge out the door. Both of them didn't exactly flip to schools that are thought of on the same level as USC.
Mason and Payton could have easily made decisions on their own to leave the class as well. I don't think USC's coaches or fans are going to be too upset about it though. If they can land all of their remaining targets during this last home stretch before signing day, I'm pretty positive they'll be celebrating what they won in recruiting rather than thinking about what they have just lost.
- I said last week that UCLA needed to add more weapons in addition to 4 star wide receiver L.J. Reed to catch passes from Josh Rosen and then they went out and landed one of the top slot receivers in this recruiting class in Ryan Newsome. Newsome is one of the top return prospects in the nation as well and can do some serious damage after the catch.
- He's not the highest rated Pac-12 commitment this week, but my favorite player that committed was 4 star defensive lineman Benning Potoae. Washington is getting a player with violent hands and Chris Petersen has done it again by preventing a top local player from leaving the state. The Huskies were also able to add a sleeper recruit with some good potential as an edge rusher in another local player, Bryce Sterk.
- Unfortunately, Colorado was not a program that was able to add any impact recruits this week, which is not surprising when you're at the bottom of the conference standings. Being at the bottom is also a likely reason why they lost one of their top recruits when TJ Fehoko decommitted. He's probably one of the more underrated defensive linemen out west in this recruiting cycle. Washington State and Oregon State are now targeting Fehoko.
- The best under the radar pickup of the week is new Cal commit, Keith Washington. The former Duke commit had some electric runs as a quarterback, but likely projects to play corner for the Bears. He has the fluidity combined with great length that makes him an intriguing prospect.
- It's impossible not to be impressed with how Mike Leach and his staff have recruited at Wazzu this year, especially with the kind of disappointing season they had, but it's flip city when it comes to their recruits. It sounds like they might have a player flip to another school the same week they received a commitment from that player for a second time this cycle. Cornerback Willie Sykes, who I broke down along with their other newest commitment last week, might already be on the verge of flipping to Nebraska. At least the madness will all be over in about ten days, Coug fans.
- I'm doing scouting takes on all of the latest Pac-12 commitments for Pacific Takes up until signing day (and beyond for 2016, as well). You can find all of them here.
- Yes, it's the time of year when schools take away scholarships and recruits go back on their word by flipping to other programs, but it's also the time of year when players come out of nowhere to and become big time prospects. Linebacker Fotu Leiato was a not a highly recruited player until his highlight tape went viral thanks to guys over at Cougcenter. He went from being a Mountain West recruit to getting offers from schools like Oklahoma and Michigan State before he ended up committing to Oregon yesterday. That kind of story is a nice change from all of the negative stuff that can happen in late January with recruiting and it's one of the reasons why I love covering and following recruiting. It's going to be fun to see Leiato the next four years as a Duck.