It's no surprise to see the Trojans near the top of the final recruiting rankings, as they have consistently recruited well under coach Pete Carroll. The Trojans did lose a few prospects on signing day in ESPNU 150 receiver Alshon Jeffrey (St. Matthews, S.C./Calhoun County) and No. 1 ILB Vontaze Burfict (Corona, Calif./Centennial), but landing No. 3 OLB Frankie Telfort (Miami/Gulliver) and No. 1 DE Devon Kennard (Chandler, Ariz./Desert Vista) softens the blow. Getting back No. 4 athlete Byron Moore Jr. (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) on signing day also had to bring smiles to the Trojans' staff. USC boasts an impressive nine ESPNU 150 prospects, and started off strong with ESPN's No. 1 overall player, QB Matt Barkley (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), committing over a year ago. The class includes three players who rank No. 1 at their positions -- including guard John Martinez (Salt Lake City/Cottonwood) -- as well as three more players who rank within the top five at their respective positions. And while safety T.J. McDonald (Fresno, Calif./Edison) and offensive tackle Kevin Graf (Agoura, Calif.) are USC legacies (their dads played for the Trojans), that's not the reason they were signed. McDonald is the 10th-rated safety and Graf is the fourth-ranked OT in the country.
Most of the recruiting spotlight in the city of Los Angeles is usually focused on USC, but that could be changing quickly judging by this class and the way it closed. The Bruins had a successful signing day, particularly up front on the offensive line with Stan Hasiak (Kapolei, Hawaii) and No. 3 OT Xavier Su'a-Filo (Pleasant Grove, Utah/Timpview) signing. Although there is plenty of work to be done, UCLA's class has some strong points. The Bruins are hoping they found their quarterback of the future in ESPNU 150 prospect Richard Brehaut (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Los Osos). Working to leave no stone unturned, UCLA lured some talent away from other programs aside from Hasiak (Cal) that can help the Bruins, such as former Arizona commit linebacker Taniela Maka (Long Beach, Calif./David Starr Jordan), a former Arizona commit, and the No. 1-ranked tight end Morrell Presley (Carson, Calif.). Presley was a big get for the Bruins; they were able to get him away from rival USC. He is a good player who can help the Bruins' offense right away. The Bruins were also able to get back a prospect they lost in corner Marlon Pollard (San Bernardino, Calif./Cajon), who is one of three top-50 corners in the Bruins' class.
The wins have not added up on the field yet, but Jim Harbaugh is recruiting well, signing a class just outside the top 25 filled with some players who can move the chains. Offense is the theme of this 2009 class, as more than half of Stanford's signees will play on that side of the ball. It is not a big surprise that Harbaugh, an old quarterback himself, is bringing another signal-caller into the mix, with Josh Nunes (Upland, Calif.). As Stanford tries to aid its passing attack, which was second to last in the conference, it has added a trio of wide receivers, including Jamal Patterson (McDonough, Ga./Henry County), who is an ESPNU 150 prospect, and Jemari Roberts (Long Beach, Calif./Wilson.) The second-year coach also put a big emphasis on the tight end position, signing four prospects at that position, including top-10 tight end prospect Zach Ertz (Danville, Calif./Monte Vista). Four might seem like a lot, but each player brings something different to the table. The class is not all offense; Harbaugh did pluck some good defenders, including two from the East Coast. Top 20 outside linebacker prospect Shayne Skov (Pawling, N.Y./Trinity Pawling) and defensive tackle Terrence Stephens (Gaithersburg, Md./Quince Orchard) headline the defensive additions.
The Golden Bears lost a key prospect in offensive guard Stan Hasiak (Kapolei, Hawaii) on signing day but still inked a solid class, despite starting off very slow. The Bears signed only one ESPNU 150 prospect, but boast many prospects on the fringe; six others rank among the top 20 at their respective positions. One is Allan Bridgford (Mission Viejo, Calif.), a fine quarterback prospect for Jeff Tedford to work with. The offensive line has been given special attention, with five prospects signed along the front, including No. 9-ranked guard Brian Schwenke (Oceanside, Calif.). The Golden Bears have also been very successful in selling prospects who were once committed to other programs, including former Rutgers commit Mark Brazinski (Baskin Ridge, N.J./Immaculata), former Washington commit Deandre Coleman (Seattle/Garfield) and former Oklahoma commit Steve Williams (Dallas/Skyline). Williams, the No. 7-rated corner and ESPNU 150 member, was a big get for Cal, and it appears the Bears will remain strong against the pass.
The Sun Devils had a disappointing season in 2008, and that has caused a slight step back on the recruiting trail. They still bounced back on signing day with the signing of No. 1 inside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (Corona, Calif./Centennial), a longtime Trojan commit. They have seen some top in-state prospects spurn them for programs outside Arizona, but it was not a total loss. The Sun Devils were still very active, signing close to 10 prospects hailing from Arizona. One program Arizona State has had much success with is Saguaro High School, the three-time defending state champion. ASU inked three prospects from that school including defensive tackle Corey Adams (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro) and guard Kody Koebensky (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro). Although outside programs have had success in Arizona State's backyard, the Sun Devils have also done well in other areas. Corner Osahon Irabor (Upland, Calif.) is a good pickup out of California, as is tight end Chris Coyle (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian).
There is a chance the Ducks could land Bryce Brown (Wichita, Kan./East) after signing day, but the current class is not overly strong considering their national success in recent years. Much emphasis has been placed on trying to get some quick help; the Ducks have seven juco prospects on board, including six on the defensive side of the ball. Although Oregon's prep class is fairly small, it does have some good talent. ESPNU 150 cornerback Cliff Harris (Fresno, Calif./Edison) possesses elite quickness, and might make an immediate impact as a returner on special teams. Defensive end Taylor Hart (Tualatin, Ore.) is a promising prospect from in-state, and offensive tackle Everett Benyard (San Diego/Cathedral Catholic) is a good addition at an area of need. With both of Oregon's specialists having graduated, Oregon has landed two top kicking prospects. Mike Bowlin (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) is a good place-kicking prospect and Jackson Rice (Moraga, Calif./Campolindo) a good punting prospect. The Ducks have also gone north to add a raw but good linebacker prospect in Boseko Lokombo (Abbotsford, British Columbia/W.J. Mouat Secondary School).
With a successful season under their belt, the Wildcats signed a solid class to keep them on the winning path, and had a major land on signing day with athlete Adam Hall (Tucson, Ariz./Palo Verde). The Wildcats have not been very successful in-state, and instead were busy in California and Texas. The class lacks any ESPNU 150 talent, but this group addresses some needs with solid prospects. Taimi Tutogi (Chula Vista, Calif.) could help them at defensive end or fullback, and Jackson Powell (Newbury Park, Calif.) is an end prospect with good upside. The inking of offensive tackle Jake Baratz (Naperville, Ill./North) is a solid pickup, especially with the early departure of Eben Britton. Arizona has a need at linebacker and has worked to fill it in this class. The Wildcats signed four linebackers, including one junior-college transfer and Trevor Erno (Lakewood, Calif.), their top overall prospect and a top-10 prospect at the inside linebacker position. The class also includes five junior-college additions and a quarterback transfer.
It was a big year for the Beavers. Mike Riley continues to prove he can keep his program competitive without highly ranked recruiting classes. Although this 2009 class lacks big names, there is some solid talent. Athlete Kyrell Hudson (Vancouver, Wash./Evergreen) could help the Beavers as a wide receiver, safety or return man. Markus Wheaton (Chandler, Ariz.) is a quick-footed athlete with the potential to make big plays. With an offensive-line unit that sported several upperclassmen, Riley has focused on bringing in young talent in the trenches. The Beavers inked a solid class of linemen, including guards Michael Philipp (San Bernardino, Calif./Arroyo) and Josh Andrews (Ontario, Calif./Colony). Oregon State hopes the upgrades to the offensive line can help open running lanes for Jacquizz Rodgers. The class also has a pair of quarterbacks, including Jack Lomax (Lake Oswego, Ore.), the son of former NFL quarterback Neil Lomax.
Recruiting to Washington State is not impossible, but it sure is tough. Coming off a 2-11 season, Paul Wulff has a difficult task in trying to build the Cougars. Much recruiting emphasis has been put on attracting in-state talent. A solid get from outside that area is Darren Markle (Meridian, Idaho/Mountain View) an inside linebacker who is tough versus the run. Fans need to keep an eye on Chris Mastin (Spokane, Wash./Lewis & Clark), a high-motor defender who could land at end or outside linebacker. He is undersized but fun to watch and should be able to make some plays in Pullman. The Cougars have only two offensive linemen in their class, but both are among their top four recruits, including top prospect Sebastian Valenzuela (Burbank, Calif./Burroughs).
Washington suffered a winless season in 2008, making for a tough sell to recruits, but the Huskies are ushering in a new era with former USC assistant Steve Sarkisian. The Huskies' top four prospects all hail from California, including the athletic Nathan Fellner (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West), well-rounded tight end Marlion Barnett (Corona, Calif./Santiago) and safety James Johnson (Escondido, Calif./Valley Center), who decided on signing day. This class has its share of juco prospects; fans will have to wait until their new leader has a full year to work before they can see what type of prep talent he can lure to Seattle.