Chris Petersen signed his highest-rated recruiting class ever in 2018. What's next? The Huskies figure to compete for many of the same targets as their conference foes.
The Hotline’s coverage of Pac-12 football recruiting continues with an eye to the future, which has quickly become the present: the top targets for each team in the class of 2019.
I first published a recruiting look-ahead of this sort last February, and it proved popular enough to warrant a second version.
Biggins, who lives in Southern California, provided the names for the South division teams.
Pac-12 recruiting rankings
Huffman, who lives in Washington, handled the North names.
(The comments, however, are my own. Disagree with the analysis? Blame me, not them.)
Key point: Top target doesn’t necessarily mean most-talented target.
The listed prospect may or may not be the highest-rated player on that team’s wish list, because position and geography also play a role in determining impact.
For some schools, there is more long-term value in signing as top in-state player than landing an out-of-state prospect who might have greater potential.
Or there could be more significance in signing a 3-star quarterback, because of position need, than a 4-star receiver.
Also note: I have not listed all the teams that have offered scholarships, only those of high relevance.
Target: S Noa Pola-Gates (Gilbert)
24/7 rating: 3 stars/No. 22 safety in the nation
In pursuit: Penn State, USC, Washington and Oregon
The top in-state prospect, QB Spencer Rattler, is already committed to Oklahoma. Pola-Gates is on the next tier after a stellar performance at the All-American Bowl.
Target: QB Jacob Conover (Chandler)
247 rating: 3 stars/No. 14 Pro Style QB in the nation
In pursuit: Arizona, BYU, Memphis
The Sun Devils didn’t sign a quarterback in the ’18 class, and it wasn’t essential. But they will need one in ’19, and Conover is the best bet with Rattler (seemingly) off the board.
Target: QB Hank Bachmeier (Murrieta)
247 rating: 4 stars/No. 5 Pro Style QB in the nation
In pursuit: Boise State, Colorado and UCLA
As with ASU, so with the Bears: No quarterback in the class of ’18 makes signing one in ’19 imperative. They’ve been on Bachmeier, who fits the Beau Baldwin model (smart, mobile, accurate), for months.
Target: OL Barrett Miller (Aurora)
247 rating: 3 stars/No. 52 OT in the nation
In pursuit: UCLA and Washington
The Buffaloes already have commitments from two of the top-five Colorado prospects. Miller is one of the remaining free agents and plays a position of high-level need.
Target: CB Isaiah Rutherford (Carmichael)
247 rating: 4 stars/No. 29 CB in the nation
In pursuit: Alabama, Notre Dame, USC, Oregon and Cal
Yep, the Beavers are in deep waters here, but this serves as an early litmus test for new coach Jonathan Smith. Land Rutherford, and the multi-year recruiting impact could be significant.
Target: DL Faatui Tuitele (Honolulu)
247 rating: 4 stars/No. 2 DT in the country
In pursuit: USC and Washington
The only player rated higher than Tuitele at the position is the No. 1 overall prospect in the country (Ishmael Sopsher). Few commodities are of greater value than dominant DTs, so expect this to be one of the most heated recruiting duels in the west for the next 51 weeks. Also, look for the SEC powers to be heavily involved. (Side note: Tuitele plays for the Saint Louis School, Marcus Mariota’s alma mater.)
Target: DE/OLB Joshua Pakola (Mountain View)
247 rating: 4 stars/No. 9 DE (weak side) in the nation
In pursuit: Cal, Georgia, UCLA and Washington
Plays down the street from Stanford Stadium at a position of supreme need for the Cardinal (edge rusher) and described Stanford as his “dream school” last summer in an interview with 247.
Target: OL Sean Rhyan (San Juan Capistrano)
247 rating: 4 stars/No. 13 OT in the nation
In pursuit: Stanford, USC and Washington
High-level Orange County OTs are usually USC’s domain. Keeping Rhyan away from the Trojans is just one reason he’s deeply coveted by the Bruins. Keeping Dorian Thompson-Robinson upright for a few years is another.
Target: ATH Bru McCoy (Santa Ana)
247 rating: 5 stars/No. 1 ATH in the country
In pursuit: Ohio State, Oklahoma, Washington and Oregon
Attends Mater Dei, which just produced three elite prospects in USC’s class of 2018 (including QB JT Daniels). McCoy, who projects as a WR or OLB, already feels like another signing-day victory for the Trojans.
Target: DL Siaki Ika (Salt Lake City)
247 rating: 4 stars/No. 18 DT in the nation
In pursuit: Brigham Young, Alabama and USC
Committed to BYU in 2016, but that’s hardly end-of-story. The Utes successfully flip Cougar commits periodically, and Ika has taken unofficial visits to USC and Alabama.
Target: LB Maninoa Tufono (Honolulu)
247 rating: 4 stars/No. 4 ILB in the country
In pursuit: Oregon, Stanford, UCLA and USC
The Huskies have already received a commitment from their No. 1 target, QB Dylan Morris, so we’ll call Tufono their No. 1A. He’s at, or near, the top of the list for several other teams, as well.
Target: QB Ryan Hilinski (Orange)
247 rating: 3 stars/No. 10 Pro Style QB in the nation
In pursuit: Utah, Arizona State, Mississippi and Northwestern
Deeply emotional and personal situation here: Yep, he’s Tyler’s brother. He’s also an ideal Air Raid quarterback.