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'Best of the West' list lack pizazz, hogs

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

The Long Beach Press-Telegram's highly respected "Best of the West" annual recruiting list was published Tuesday and not unexpectedly many of the names on the list are either headed to USC or count the Trojans among their short list of finalists heading into national signing day announcements.

While the story bemoans the lack of A-list skill players this season, I also find the dearth of offensive linemen notable.

Well, "dearth" who aren't going to USC.

There are five offensive linemen on the list of 30 first-team and honorable mention selections and three could end up at USC.

Arizona State and UCLA most particularly need to restock offensive linemen and neither appears in position to sign one of the top-30, though Hawaii product Stanley Hasiak seems to be wavering on his commitment to California and the Bruins are still in the hunt -- vs. USC -- for Xavier Su'a-Filo of Provo, Utah, though this story out of Salt Lake indicates the Bruins are out of it.

The Bruins are expected, however, to sign Greg Capella of Visalia, Calif., who's listed among the "Others Receiving Votes."

But Bruins and Sun Devils fans shouldn't despair -- at least not completely. Coaches -- and recruiting gurus -- will tell you that offensive linemen are often the toughest players to project.

Notably, three of the 2008 First-Team All-Pac-10 linemen, Cal's Alex Mack, Oregon's Max Unger and Oregon State's Andy Levitre, each arrived at school as unheralded recruits.

All three are now expected to be first-day NFL draft picks.