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The good, the bad & the unknown: 2016 Pac-12 recruiting

UCLA and USC killed it on signing day.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

UCLA & USC closing - Bruins and Trojans once again showed they are the West Coast version of Mariano Rivera on signing day by closing gangbusters yet again. Both schools added a chunk of their best recruits on the final day of recruiting and rocketed up recruiting boards.

Stanford's class - Stanford's class is the thing Rose Bowl championships are made of. Loaded with elite linemen on both sides of the ball, athletic linebackers and the best quarterback signed by Pac-12 school this year, the Cardinal are set up for the future yet again.

Oluwole Betiku & Jack Jones - The crown jewels of USC's great class are their two bonafire five-star prospects from the LA area. Betiku has barely scratched the surface of what he could be as an elite pass rusher and Jones is another pure playmaker like Adoree' Jackson who is a star in the making at  cornerback or receiver.

Mique Juarez - The Bruins snagged their own LA five-star. Juarez already has Pac-12 linebacker size and looks like he could be an All-Pac-12 player from day one ala Myles Jack.

Clay Helton & USC - Bringing a top class into USC isn't as hard as it is at Oregon State or Washington State, but kudos Helton for doing it in a tough situation where he wasn't officially the coach till late-November. His class ended up being just as good as a lot of USC classes which says a lot.

Washington's momentum & class - The Huskies proved they are a program on the verge under Chris Petersen by arguably putting together the conference's best class after Stanford, UCLA and USC.

Utah's JC recruiting - I don't usually love JC recruiting, but the Utes did it right this year. They grabbed the nation's top JC recruit in tackle Garrett Bolles who might create the conference's best tackle duo right away with J.J. Dielman and signed maybe their replacement for Travis Wilson with former-Washington starter Troy Williams.

Oregon's State's class - The Beavers didn't sign a Top 25 class, but pulling in arguably the seventh-best class in the Pac-12 after winning zero Pac-12 games in 2015 was a major score for Gary Andersen.

The Bad

Jim Harbaugh - Harbaugh isn't going to be a pain in the ass for every Pac-12 coach during recruiting season even though he is all the way across the country. He pulled in some blue chip recruits who would have probably gone Pac-12 otherwise like David Long and Devin Asiasi and nearly pulled in some more.

Western flight - The gate that keeps top prospects out West got broken down even more this year. More and more West Coast prospects seem to be interested in not playing in the Pac-12.

The SEC - The SEC crept into the Pac-12 in recruiting a little bit more this year. They didn't pull a ton of Western recruits down South, but they were more active than I can ever remember out here and nearly pulled quite a few elite prospects.

Quarterback recruiting - I don't know if I can remember a weaker year for Pac-12 QB signees. The only school I felt was truly happy with the player they signed was Stanford and maybe Arizona State or Utah and some schools didn't even sign a QB.

Oregon's closing - The Ducks used to be known for closing as well as anyone in the country, but that was not the case this year. They lost most of the best commitments down the stretch and weren't able to flip anyone late of note late.

Washington State QB recruiting - The nation's most-prolific pass system somehow didn't sign a quarterback despite having two different ones committed at points.

The Unknown

Can UCLA use their talent? The Bruins put together yet another Top 10 class under Jim Mora, but will they do anything with it? The Bruins have killed recruiting under Mora, but have never won the Pac-12 and haven't won the South in a few years.

Oregon's momentum? The Ducks still arguably turned in a Top 25/30 class, but it just felt like a let down compared to other recent Duck classes. Have the Ducks lost a bit of recruiting momentum?

Pac-12's middle? The story of the Pac-12 in 2015 was its strong middle and it wasn't much different in recruiting as the programs after the LA schools and Stanford were really pretty bunched together in recruiting rankings. How do these programs start to separate themselves from each other?