Rich Rodriguez has some work to do in his own backyard. That's the conclusion from ESPN The Magazine's LaRue Cook, who examined the worst in-state recruiters. Along with the RecruitingNation crew, ESPN The Magazine poured over the past five years of ESPNU 150 rankings, (750 total recruits) and found the worst 10 BCS programs at holding on to homegrown, elite talent.
Per the study, Arizona is 0-for-12 during that stretch at landing ESPNU 150 recruits while USC has been the top program in that state over that time.
Arizona has signed just two ESPNU 150 recruits over the past five years, and neither DE Apaiata Tuihalamaka (Gardena, Calif.) nor TE Rob Gronkowski (Pittsburgh) was a home-state product. While the Trojans have had the most success here, Arizona State was at least able to land two preps within its state borders. Last year, the state's top prospect (OT Christian Westerman of Chandler) signed with Auburn. In 2012, all eyes in Tucson are on the nation's top ATH Davonte Neal (Scottsdale), who's still considering the Wildcats and would certainly kick start Rich Rodriguez's tenure.
But Arizona isn't alone in the Top 5. Pac-12 brethren Stanford and Cal check in on the list at Nos. 3 and 4 respectively. Like Arizona, USC has been California's top recruiter during 2007-2011. Stanford has nabbed just 2-of-73 ESPNU recruits.
Cook on Stanford:
We gave Stanford props for its ability to go out of state to sign top prospects, but there's no ignoring the program's inability to create an elite pipeline in its state. (Meanwhile, UCLA has signed 12 in-state ESPNU 150 recruits over the last five years.) Sure, Cardinal fans can blame their program's struggles on academic constraints, but out of 73 players, surely more than two could qualify. In 2012, David Shaw doesn't have a single ESPNU 150 commit from California -- USC currently has four and UCLA has two -- but No. 4 OT Kyle Murphy (San Clemente) still has Stanford on his short list.
Cross-Bay rival Cal hasn't been much better. The Golden Bears have hauled in just 4-of-73 ESPNU 150 prospects during that time.
Cook on Cal:
We could make the same knock against the Golden Bears over the last five years, but Jeff Tedford has nearly matched his 2007-11 total in 2012. Cal is close to signing three of the state's top eight prospects, including the nation's No. 3 S Shaq Thompson (Sacramento).
You can cut Cal and Stanford a little slack, since California is a recruiting goldmine for the rest of the country -- not just USC. It isn't just the rest of the conference they are trying to fend off. And to compensate, both schools were praised by Cook as top five programs at recruiting out of state.