National Signing Day: Every Pac-12 Team’s Top Unsigned Target
Top Unsigned Targets in the Pac-12
National Signing Day is coming up quickly for college football teams around the nation. On February 5, prized recruits that coaches have spent hours on the road and on the phone to sell on the opportunity to come and play for their program will be able to sign on the dotted line and officially commit to schools for the 2014 season. While many of them have already made it clear where they will be headed, there are plenty of intriguing prospects out there who are waiting until the last minute to make their decision.
That means that this week will see recruiting battles heat up. Bringing in playmakers on the recruiting trail can be the difference in programs continuing to flounder at the bottom of a conference and ending up with a coach on the streets and that team competing for a conference title. Talent is so important at the college level as teams jockey for position to come out on top at the end of the season. It can create some high-pitched battles on the recruiting trail that can be more heated than games on the field during the season.
And few conferences in college football understand how to close out recruiting season like the Pac-12 does out west. As the Pac-12 has raised its profile over the years to one of the deeper conferences in the country, programs have done phenomenal work on the recruiting trail to bring the best talent west. They continue to compete with recruiting juggernauts from all over the country to sign elite talent year in and year out. With the way the 2014 recruiting classes appear to be shaping up, this season will be no exception.
So with signing day now imminent and teams ratcheting up for one final push for recruits, here are the top unsigned targets for every Pac-12 team heading into National Signing Day.
Marcus Griffin, DT
Rich Rodriguez already has a fairly full class at this point with 31 commitments heading into National Signing Day, so the Arizona Wildcats will be focused on keeping the players they’ve already gotten this week. But the one name still out there for Arizona is three-star defensive tackle Marcus Griffin who took a trip to Tucson recently and will be making his announcement on Wednesday.
Arizona State Sun Devils
Dalvon Stuckey, DT
The Arizona State Sun Devils are in a similar boat as their in-state rivals, boasting a fairly full class leading up to NSD. But they still have some offers to hand out and they are going hard after the No. 8 overall juco prospect and No. 2 defensive tackle Dalvon Stuckey. ASU welcomed the highly recruited JC prospect on an official visit recently and will hope to secure his commitment on signing day.
Nifae Lealao, DT
The Cal Bears need plenty of incoming talent to turn around what was a disastrous 2013 season next fall. They have built a pretty solid 2014 class so far but will be making a hard push to add local four-star defensive tackle Nifae Lealao on Wednesday. The former Stanford Cardinal commit looks like a hard lean towards the Vanderbilt Commodores this signing day, but Cal will go all out to try and keep him close to home.
RJ Martin, ILB
While the Colorado Buffaloes have not been able to land many high-profile recruits in recent years, their focus remains on grabbing solid contributors to build a foundation for their turnaround on the gridiron. With just a couple days left, the Buffs have a nice 2014 class put together but will be looking to add inside linebacker R.J. Martin to the mix before signing day. One of the keys for Colorado is to recruit their own backyard and Martin is a top-15 recruit in the state of Colorado. Keeping him at home would be a nice addition for the Buffs.
Mattrell McGraw, S
With so much talent leaving the secondary this offseason for the Oregon Ducks, they have been wise to focus on reloading on the recruiting trail. Four-star safety Mattrell McGraw has narrowed his options down to Oregon and the Texas A&M Aggies heading into signing day with many predicting a lean towards the Ducks. Expect the Oregon coaching staff to put the full-court press on McGraw here in the home stretch to bring the talented safety to Eugene in 2014.
Oregon State Beavers
David Moala, DL
The Oregon State Beavers already have 25 commitments in their 2014 class so they don’t have much room left to add talent on signing day. But the Beavers had some issues with depth at defensive tackle in 2013 and have a history of grabbing junior college defensive linemen to fill the gaps. Three-star juco defensive tackle David Moala is a strong OSU lean at this point and would provide an immediate boost to the defensive rotation next fall.
Solomon Thomas, DE
The Stanford Cardinal are going all out to bring in four-star defensive end Solomon Thomas on NSD. The highly sought defensive star has narrowed his choices down to Stanford, the UCLA Bruins, and the Arkansas Razorbacks but the Cardinal appear to have a slight edge as the race for his services winds down. Stanford is looking to reload on defense a bit in 2014 and Thomas would be a huge boost to that effort next fall.
Malachi Dupree, WR
Four-star standout wide receiver Malachi Dupree spent his last official visit to come west and see what the UCLA Bruins had to offer. Jim Mora is going to be putting in overtime trying to lure the dynamic gamebreaker out west but will have to overcome some heavyweights like the LSU Tigers, Alabama Crimson Tide, and Florida State Seminoles to do so. It will take a huge effort from the Bruins but landing Dupree would absolutely be worth it.
Juju Smith, Athlete
Steve Sarkisian is swinging for the fences with his first recruiting class with the USC Trojans and making a strong push for four-star athlete Juju Smith as we come up on signing day. Smith is a hotly recruited prospect with offers from the likes of the Ohio State Buckeyes, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Alabama Crimson Tide, and Oregon Ducks, just to name a few. He would be a huge recruiting win for Sark and the Trojans and would have the opportunity to be an impact player in 2014.
Kenyon Frison, OT
The Utah Utes already got a commitment from offensive tackle Kenyon Frison once during this recruiting cycle but have had to try and get him back into the mix in the leadup to signing day after he backed off that commitment. Bringing him back into the fold over other schools like the Oklahoma Sooners, Arizona State Sun Devils, and Nebraska Cornhuskers would be a huge win for the Utes as they keep the three-star standout in the state.
Bishard Baker, S
After securing the No. 2 and No. 7 recruit in the state, the Washington Huskies are looking to keep the No. 1 rated recruit in the state, Bishard “Budda” Baker, close to home on signing day. Baker at one point was committed to the Oregon Ducks but backed off that commitment and now seems set to pick between UW and the UCLA Bruins. If they can keep the four-star safety at home, he will add to an already young and talented defense for the Huskies with a chance to help them break through the Pac-12 in 2014.
Washington State Cougars
Kaleb McGary, OT
The Washington State Cougars are working hard to fill out their recruiting class before signing day and their biggest remaining target appears to be offensive tackle Kaleb McGary. The three-star O-lineman appears to be picking between his home-state schools of UW and WSU. The Cougars continue to build a foundation for the program to become a contender once again in the Pac-12 and adding the big-bodied McGary to the offensive line will be a major boost.