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Re-ranking the Pac-12 recruiting class of 2007: Class loaded with busts and diamonds in the rough

Toby Gerhart and Nate Solder were two of the lesser-heralded players in the Class of 2007 who exploded.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

This class should be known as the year that USC busted. At the time it looked like the Trojans had reloaded with a king's ransom of big time five-star talent, but almost all of them would end up being busts or underwhelm at best. Overall, the talent signed was not well spread out outside of USC in this class and USC's huge bust in this class if a big reason why the program started taking a step back in 2009.

1. 5* WR Vidal Hazelton - Cheatham, VA (Hargrave Military Academy) - USC

2. 5* RB Stafon Johnson - Los Angeles (Dorsey) - USC

3. 5* S Taylor Mays - Seattle (O'Dea) - USC

4. 5* S C.J. Gable - Sylmar, CA - USC

5. 5* LB Allen Bradford - Colton, CA - USC

6. 5* LB Josh Tatum - Oakland (McClymonds) - USC

7. 5* S Antwine Perez - Camden, NJ (Wilson) - USC

8. 5* WR David Ausberry - Lemoore, CA - USC

9. 4* T Butch Lewis - Aurora, CO (Regis Jesuit) - USC

10. 4* DT Derrick Hill - Oakland (McClymonds) - Cal

11. 4* CB Devin Ross - Rancho Cucamonga, CA - Arizona

12. 4* RB Emmanuel Moody - Coppell, TX - USC

This class would end up being light on talent that panned out, but should be known as a class that did have a few really good gems. However, with players like Kyle Williams making the Top 12, this class is incredibly shallow and is a reason why the Pac-12 was not that good around 2009-2010.

1. 5* RB Toby Gerhart - Norco, CA - Stanford

Gerhart was an unheralded three-star big back coming out of Norco that I am sure many saw as a guy who would end up as a fullback or change positions. Gerhart would end up having one of the best seasons ever for a Pac-12 running back in 2009 as he ran for more than 1,800 yards and 28 touchdowns while nearly winning the Heisman.

2. 5* S Taylor Mays

People tend to hate on Mays a bit since he has disappointed in the NFL and arguably had his best college years earlier in his career, but he was a true star at USC and lived up to his five-star high school All-American billing. Mays was an All-American and All-Pac-12 player each year of his Trojan career.

3. 5* T Nate Solder - Buena Vista, CO - Colorado

Solder was a true diamond in the rough as a two-star 6'8 245-pound prospect that looked more like a basketball player than an NFL tackle and was recruited as a tight end. Solder would move to tackle after a couple of years and end up an All-American and the Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year as a senior before becoming a first round pick.

4. 5* QB Jake Locker - Ferndale, WA - Washington

Locker was interesting prospect as a four-star quarterback from small town Washington that was a world class athlete in a wing-t offense whose lack of passing experience made some wonder if he would end up as a safety in college. Locker would stay at QB for the Huskies and help lead the team back to its first bowl in nearly 10 years while sometimes carrying the team on his back before becoming a Top 10 NFL Draft pick.

5. 5* CB Alterraun Verner - Lakewood, CA (Mayfair) - UCLA

Verner was a solid three-star recruit coming out of the LA area, but would outperform his rating in college. Verner ended up being a first-team All-American and All-Pac-12er as a senior as was the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 2006.

6. 4* DT Caleb Schlauderaff - Shelton, WA - Utah

Schlauderaff was so under-the-radar coming out of high school in Washington that he wasn't even ranked, but he would end up being a star for the Utes before they joined the Pac-12. He would end up moving to offensive line in Salt Lake City and earn numerous All-American honors as a senior.

7. 5* LB Mike Mohamed - Brawley, CA - Cal

Another true diamond in the rough, Mohamed was a two-star recruit coming out of high school that checked in at just 195 pounds. Mohamed would turn into a standout for the Bears and end up being the conference's best linebacker in 2009 as a first-team all-conference selection.

8. 5* S Jimmy Smith - Colton, CA - Colorado

Smith signed with Colorado as a decent three-star safety recruit, but was not projected as a star. Smith would turn into a lockdown cornerback at Colorado and earn double All-Big 12 honors before becoming a first round pick.

9. 4* DE Brooks Reed - Tucson (Sabino) - Arizona

Reed was a hometown hero, but far from a national recruit as a three-star defensive end coming out of high school. Reed would turn into one of the nation's best pass rushers at Arizona and finished his career with 15 sacks while earning first-team all-conference as a senior.

10. 4* LB Donald Butler - Fair Oaks, CA (Del Campo) - Washington

Here is another under-the-radar recruit, as Butler was a two-star linebacker prospect coming out the Bay Area as a big player with great tackling skills. Butler was a tackling machine at Washington, finishing his career with 239 tackles and was the best player on Washington's defense for a number of years.

11. 3* RB Kyle Williams - Scottsdale (Chaparral) - Arizona State

Williams was a solid three-star running back recruit coming out of powerhouse Chaparral high school and the Arizona Player of the Year. Williams would end up a receiver at Arizona State and had a big senior year that earned him all-conference honors.

12. 3* CB Richard Sherman - Compton, CA (Dominguez) - Stanford

Sherman was a rangy three-star corner prospect coming out of Compton who Stanford edged out Washington for. Many might be surprised to see the NFL's best corner so low on this list, but Sherman had a strange college career, actually playing receiver for the first half of his career before becoming a very good, but lightly-decorated cornerback as a junior and senior.

Honorable mention

3* DT Sione Fua - Encino, CA (Crespi Carmelite) - Stanford

3* LB Spencer Paysinger - Beverly Hills, CA - Oregon

3* DT Alex Linnenkohl - Olympia, WA (Capital) - Oregon State

3* LB Mike Morgan - Dallas (Skyline) - USC