Turned out Steve Sarkisian had another bombshell up his sleeve after the one two months ago when he left Washington to become head football coach at USC.
Sarkisian’s Trojans finished the recruiting season with a flourish, nailing down three five-star recruits from the Los Angeles area Wednesday, pushing them to the top of the Pac-12 rankings in most analysts’ eyes.
The finish wasn’t entirely unexpected, but it was surely authoritative. USC got a commitment from cornerback Adoree Jackson of Gardena, and signatures from massive, 370-pound guard Damien Mama of Bellflower and safety Juju Smith of Long Beach.
Scout.com thus vaulted USC to No. 10 nationally, followed by Stanford (15), Arizona State (17), UCLA (20), Oregon (22), Arizona (30), Washington (36), Cal (43), Oregon State (48), Washington State (59), Utah (68) and Colorado (71).
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“There’s some gratification knowing we can do this in a two-month span,” Sarkisian told the Los Angeles Times, “and to imagine, what if you had 12 months.”
USC had another reason for celebration: It’s the third and final class of NCAA-sanctioned signees from the 2010 penalties.
Stanford’s class was strong on the offensive line and tight end, but the big coup was landing five-star defensive-end prospect Solomon Thomas of Coppell, Texas, who marked his signing with the academically elite Cardinal by wearing “nerd” glasses with a tree as a prop.
Arizona State did especially well with junior-college players and picked off four-star receivers Eric Lauderdale of Saddleback JC and Tyler Whiley of Scottsdale. UCLA had a downbeat finish despite getting linebacker Kenny Young of River Ridge, La., losing several top-rated prospects at the wire.
Oregon’s class was led by 6-1, 220-pound, five-star back Royce Freeman of Imperial, Calif. and the Ducks added seven four-star prospects, including a future successor to quarterback Marcus Mariota, 6-3, 190-pound Morgan Mahalak of Kentfield, Calif. One of Arizona’s highlights was middle linebacker Jamardre Cobb of Los Angeles, but the bigger surprise was pulling in Bellevue High defensive tackle Marcus Griffin, who had been figured for several other destinations.
Washington picked up steam and finished respectably with state recruits Kaleb McGary and Budda Baker, while Cal held onto Corona, Calif. running back Tre Watson and swayed four-star Bellflower, Calif. linebacker Chandler Leniu, who had originally committed to WSU.
Always understated Oregon State recruited heavily on both lines and took 330-pound Kammy Delp of Pomona, Calif., at the wire.
WSU, despite a class lower-rated than in 2013, had what coach Mike Leach described as his best in three years there.
Already enrolled at Utah is four-star tight end Jackson Barton, but the Utes’ story was mixed, as they lost two they wanted to WSU in defensive end Jalen Canty and receiver Barry Ware, and earlier-committed West Valley City, Utah offensive tackle Kenyon Frison flipped to Oklahoma.
Rebuilding Colorado signed receiver Shay Fields, who relocated when USC changed staffs. But the Buffs’ most interesting recruit is Jay Mac-Intyre, a defensive-back prospect and son of head coach Mike MacIntyre.
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org