Noteworthy details from 2023 Pac-12 football recruiting rankings
If you consult the Class of 2023 college football recruiting rankings, you’ll be able to identify where the various Pac-12 schools land in the hierarchy.
Some recruiting services have Oregon ranked No. 8 and USC No. 9, while others flip-flop that ranking order and put USC in eighth place, beating out the Ducks for first in the Pac-12.
It is obviously not a matter of earth-shaking importance whether USC or Oregon is 8 or 9 and the other is one spot lower (or higher). What really matters is that both programs have finished in the top 10 and have set a high standard.
What else can we glean from the Pac-12’s various team rankings? Let’s take a look:
USC REGAINS NATIONAL PROMINENCE
Apr 15, 2023; Los Angeles, CA, USA; USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley talks to players at the conclusion of the Spring Game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Getting Tackett Curtis from Louisiana shows that USC is nationally relevant in recruiting. The Trojans will have to be a national recruiter when they move into the Big Ten. The program is once again going in the right direction.
OREGON IS POISED TO LEAD THE PAC-12 WHEN USC LEAVES
Dan Lanning — USA TODAY Sports
Dan Lanning shows every indication that when USC goes to the Big Ten, Oregon will be the top recruiting program in Pac-12 football.
UTAH RETAINS MOMENTUM
Oct 15, 2022; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham watches warm up prior to a game against the USC Trojans at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Whittingham, having made two straight Rose Bowls, has been able to leverage Utah’s elevated position into strong recruiting results. Utah isn’t where Oregon and USC are, but being a top-25 recruiter gives Whittingham the ability to develop better players, and that makes a difference.
WASHINGTON REGAINS THE STANDARD
Sep 17, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) and head coach Kalen DeBoer talk during the fourth quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Washington being a top-30 recruiter gives Kalen DeBoer a chance to re-establish the standard Chris Petersen set. DeBoer will need to improve on the trail, but Washington is clearly pointing upward before Year 2 of DeBoer’s tenure.
Nov 12, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly calls a play in the first half against the Arizona Wildcats at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
UCLA being a top-35 recruiter at least gives Chip Kelly a chance to create a competitive program heading into the Big Ten. Dante Moore needs to become a home-run recruit at quarterback in order for the Bruins to thrive.
COLORADO'S BIG EXPERIMENT
Apr 22, 2023; Boulder, CO, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders during the first half of the spring game at Folsom Filed. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
We will see if Colorado’s rise in the recruiting rankings will pay off handsomely in the 2024 season and beyond. It might be asking too much for all the pieces to come together in 2023, but CU could be well-positioned for the future.
STANFORD BUILDS SOMETHING NEW
Sep 6, 2019; Tempe, AZ, USA; Sacramento State Hornets head coach Troy Taylor against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Stanford beings the post-David Shaw era with a top-50 class under first-year head coach Troy Taylor. Let’s see what the Trees’ new coach can deliver.
ARIZONA TRIES TO SUSTAIN
Jul 29, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Arizona Wildcats coach Jedd Fisch speaks during Pac-12 Media Day at Novo Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
It would be great for Arizona if the Wildcats could become a nine-win program, but first things first: Jedd Fisch needs to make a bowl game and not lose ground compared to 2022. Finishing in the top 50 in recruiting for the 2023 cycle is a good start.
ARIZONA STATE RIDES WITH DILLY
Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham calls out to players during practice with the Ducks on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
Kenny Dillingham did a lot of good work to give Arizona State a top-55 recruiting class, given the many transitions within the program created by the end of Herm Edwards’ tenure.
OREGON STATE RELIES ON PLAYER DEVELOPMENT
Dec 19, 2020; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith walks the sideline during the first half against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Oregon State finished outside the top 50, but Jonathan Smith relies on player development, not star rankings, to create quality within his program.
WASHINGTON STATE MUST MEET SPECIFIC NEEDS
Nov 13, 2021; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Washington State Cougars head coach Jake Dickert walks out to the field during a time out in the first half against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Washington State finished outside the top 60, but what matters most is the offensive line. The Cougars were caught undermanned at that position group. If they fix that, their overall ranking won’t matter as much.
CAL SEEMS TO BE CONCERNED
Nov 5, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; California Golden Bears head coach Justin Wilcox (left) and Southern California Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley shake hands after a game at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Cal finished last in Pac-12 football recruiting, underscoring the difficulties of recruiting in Berkeley but also magnifying the diminished state of the program. It’s really hard to be optimistic about the Golden Bears right now.
Cal’s 15 signees include six transfers that will all be mid-year enrollees in January of 2023 in:
3 star ILB Sergio Allen (Fort Valley, GA/Clemson/Peach County HS)
3 star RB Byron Cardwell (San Diego, CA/Oregon/Morse HS/St. Augustine HS)
NR DB Matthew Littlejohn (San Antonio, TX/Citrus College/Stevens HS)
2 Star DB Kaylin Moore (Westlake Village, CA/Colorado/Oaks Christian HS)
2 star DB Nohl Williams (Oxnard, CA (UNLV/Pacifica HS)
NR P Lachlan Wilson (Eaglemont, Australia/Tulsa/Xavier College)