It's still early in 2016 recruiting, but there are two familiar teams at the top of the conference in the early rankings. It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that UCLA and USC are battling each other for the top spot.
With a flurry of commitments last week, all three composite 4 star players, the Trojans reminded everyone that they are still going to be pretty formidable on the recruiting trail even though they missed out on local blue chips like quarterback K.J. Costello (Stanford), and linebackers Curtis Robinson (Stanford), Lokeni Toailoa (UCLA) and Krys Barnes (UCLA).
They added two of the top offensive lineman in California in Frank Martin and Nathan Smith as well as maybe the top running back from the state in Melquise Stovall. When you add in three athletically gifted defenders in Mique Juarez, Daelin Hayes, and Isaac Garcia, a slower start in recruiting has suddenly transformed into the kind of talent that some other programs would dream of signing in a full class.
That's reality for USC though. Now that they have all of their scholarships back, recruiting classes like the 2015 one are likely going to become the norm again.
Going into May, with coaches on the road and the evaluation period now started, Steve Sarkisian and his staff aren't going to slow down any time soon when it comes to adding talent. Even with some early losses like the players I mentioned above, they might end up having an even better recruiting class in 2016 than the second ranked one they had in 2015.
The 247Sports Crystal Ball is by no means gospel when it comes to recruiting predictions, but they get plenty of hits along the way. If the current predictions for USC come close to coming to fruition, then everyone in the Pac-12, and possibly the rest of the nation, will be looking up at the Trojans atop their perch of the recruiting rankings.
Right now they are heavily favored to land just about every top skill player on the west coast with Tyler Vaughns, Trevon Sidney, Dylan Crawford, Javon McKinley, and Jack Jones having several analysts predicting they will choose the Trojans. Not to mention they are in a good spot to land another top quarterback in Matt Fink and tight end De La Salle tight end Devin Asiasi. I could keep going, but the list of projected future Trojans is longer than Arya Stark's hit list.
You get the idea. Even if they landed only half of the players that they are predicted to land, that would still be an awesome class. The list of recruits doesn't even include several out of state recruits that will visit USC in the summer or the fall and they could certainly steal a few really good prospects from other regions as well.
LSU is off to a great start and should finish strong with so much talent this year from Louisiana. Florida State is off to a ridiculous start and will be up there in the end as well. And, of course, Saban is gonna Saban and Urban is gonna Urban, so you can expect Alabama and Ohio State to be contenders for this year's recruiting crown as well.
Don't count out USC in that race though. They ended with a bang on signing day in 2015 and the momentum is starting to pick up again as we've just begun an always active spring evaluation period.