Athlon Sports has averaged out the four major recruiting services — 247Sports, Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN — and created the Pac-12 consensus team recruiting rankings for 2015. Here is what we learned:
Continued growth out West
After the hire of Larry Scott to be commissioner, the Pac-12 has experienced remarkable growth and success. The hiring of elite coaches and the investment in facilities (and winning) have translated on the field and in recruiting. The Pac-12 trailed only the SEC with eight five-star signatures in this class, trailed only the SEC with five teams averaging a top-25 class (six made at least one Top 25 list) and trailed only the SEC with 23 top-100 signees. The Pac-12 has clearly separated itself from the rest of the college football as the No. 2 league and has its sights set directly on the SEC.
Men of Troy almost back
Under Pete Carroll, USC dominated recruiting, signing the No. 1 class (Rivals.com) three years in a row. It partially led to two national titles and a third trip to the BCS title game. But it also led to seven straight Pac-12 titles. In just two classes, Steve Sarkisian is starting to do his best Carroll impersonation by luring all of the West Coast's elite prospects. A few more classes like his first two and USC will be back dominating the headlines on Saturdays in short order.
The City of Lights
Los Angeles has always lured in top talent of all kinds but National Signing Day 2015 took it to a new level. UCLA dominated the morning and USC dominated the afternoon. Steve Sarkisian and the Trojans are the only team in years to challenge Alabama for a recruiting national title and the Bruins were clearly the No. 2 class in the conference. These two programs are stockpiling elite prospects. Now, they need to go coach them up.
Listen to the Cover 2 Podcast Recruiting Special feat. Barton Simmons:
New sheriff in town
Arizona State was ranked in the top 20 in recruiting by three of the four major services and 20th in the consensus rankings. Todd Graham has changed the level with which the Sun Devils recruit in short order. In his first two full cycles, Graham has signed two Top 25 classes. According to 247Sports, the previous five classes before that ranked on average 42nd in the nation - no better than 33rd and as bad as 65th. Coach Graham not only has elevated Arizona State on the field but off of it as well.
In-state talent (or lack thereof)
Most programs in college football survive on in-state talent, regardless of the level of expectation. So it's quite a story when a Power 5 team doesn't ink one single in-state player. But that is what happened with both Oregon and Washington State. Additionally, Oregon State only signed one in-state product. For what it's worth, Washington led its Pacific Northwest brethren with six in-state prospects. Even Utah (5) and Colorado (4) did plenty of work within their own borders while Arizona and Arizona State combined to ink nine players from the Grand Canyon State.