Pac-12 Football Review: USC NSD Fail, Donte Williams, NFL Combine Invites

USC’s Poor National Signing Day Highlights it’s Pac-12 Football Recruiting

Last Wednesday, National Signing Day came and left. While there wasn’t much Pac-12 football activity, Colorado kept its guy. That is to say, Ashaad Clayton signed with Colorado.

And all Buffaloes sighed.

Certainly, the four-star running back out of New Orleans is a great addition. With that signing, Colorado made a big move. It showed its school is doing the work.

However, the program that needed to make the biggest leap failed miserably.

So many Pac-12 football programs brought it this offseason. Utah and Arizona State made huge strides. Meanwhile, USC fell. Firstly, USC boasts (if that word can be used) just 13 three-five star recruits for 2020.

  • Two four-star recruits
  • 11 three-star recruits

In short, their 2020 recruiting is dismal.

When compared to Pac-12 football programs, USC’s 2020 class ranks 10th. Just above Washington State and Arizona. Overall, USC’s distressing 2020 class is outside of the top-50 in college football. Their 55th-ranked class is completely pitiful. Especially considering their 2019 feats:

  • 8 wins, 5 losses
  • 32.5 points per game
  • Holiday Bowl berth
  • Breakout true-freshman Kedon Slovis

This was a huge alarm for the Trojans. But thankfully, USC stole Donte Williams away from Oregon.

Pac-12 Top-Recruiter Donte Williams Heads to USC

Unfortunately, cornerbacks coach Donte Williams’ move to USC was not because of football. As seen from his Tweet, it’s a move to his “father’s aging/failing health”. Family first. Respect.

Though is move to USC is family-driven, Williams is still a gift for their program. Prior to this news, USC recruiting was in free-fall. They were 10th in the Pac-12. Barely ahead of Washington State. That’s not acceptable for their program. So, they need to treat Williams as best as they can. During his short time with Oregon, he’s ranked:

  • 5th-best recruiter in Pac-12 in 2019 class
    • 62nd-best in nation
  • Best recruiter in Pac-12 in 2020 class
    • 7th-best in nation

Understanding that, this move is incredible for USC. They needed him bad. With his recruiting, he’ll become instrumental in their success. Certainly, Williams will be missed in Oregon. But for USC, he’s their savior.

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2020 NFL Combine Pac-12 Football Participants

On Friday, the NFL released its full list of 2020 NFL Scouting Combine invites. Of the 337 prospects invited, here are the Pac-12 football players:

Arizona (1 invite)

  • J.J. Taylor, Running Back

Arizona State (4 invites)

  • Brandon Aiyuk, Wide Receiver
  • Eno Benjamin, Running Back
  • Cohl Cabral, Offensive Line
  • Michael Turk, Punter

Cal (3 invites)

  • Ashtyn Davis, Defensive Back
  • Jaylinn Hawkins, Defensive Back
  • Evan Weaver, Line Backer

Colorado (4 invites)

  • Tony Brown, Wide Receiver
  • Steven Montez, Quarterback
  • Laviska Shenault Jr., Wide Receiver
  • Davion Taylor, Line Backer

Oregon (7 invites)

  • Jacob Breeland, Tight End
  • Troy Dye, Line Backer
  • Jake Hanson, Offensive Line
  • Justin Herbert, Quarterback
  • Juwan Johnson, Wide Receiver
  • Shane Lemieux, Offensive Line
  • Calvin Throckmorton, Offensive Line

Oregon State (2 invites)

  • Isaiah Hodgins, Wide Receiver
  • Jake Luton, Quarterback

Stanford (2 invites)

  • Colby Parkinson, Tight End
  • Casey Toohill, Line Backer

UCLA (4 invites)

  • Devin Asiasi, Tight End
  • Darney Holmes, Defensive Back
  • Joshua Kelley, Running Back
  • JJ Molson, Kicker

USC (2 invites)

  • Austin Jackson, Offensive Line
  • Michael Pittman, Wide Receiver

Utah (9 invites)

  • Bradlee Anae, Defensive Line
  • Francis Bernard, Line Backer
  • Julian Blackmon, Defensive Back
  • Terrell Burgess, Defensive Back
  • Leki Fotu, Defensive Line
  • Javelin K. Guidry, Defensive Back
  • Jaylon Johnson, Defensive Back
  • Zack Moss, Running Back
  • John Penisini, Defensive Line

Washington (7 invites)

  • Trey Adams, Offensive Line
  • Salvon Ahmed, Running Back
  • Hunter Bryant, Tight End
  • Myles Bryant, Defensive Back
  • Jacob Eason, Quarterback
  • Aaron Fuller, Wide Receiver
  • Nick Harris, Offensive Line

Washington State (2 invites)

  • Anthony Gordon, Quarterback
  • Dezmon Patmon, Wide Receiver

Somehow, Utah leads the way in combine invites for Pac-12 football programs. As a result, their school gained instant respect. Their school-record nine combine invites is great for their program’s recruiting. But, it’s a tough task to replace.

“It is not hard to figure out why we were formidable on defense this past year and why we had statistically one of the best defenses we have ever had at Utah,” said head coach Kyle Whittingham. “It is going to be a big challenge replacing those guys.”

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Apart from a lackluster finish, Utah played well in 2019. As a result, they nearly made the College Football Playoffs. Or, at least they were in the discussion. These nine combine invites were a large part of their winning. In other words, it’s a big loss to the program.

Nevertheless, Utah is upping their recruiting game by leading the Pac-12 in combine invites.

Colorado’s Mel Tucker Calms Anxious Fans

Last Tuesday, Mark Dantonio retired after 13 seasons as Michigan State’s head coach. It was reported that Cincinnati’s Luke Fickell and Colorado’s Mel Tucker were those interviewing.

Although it was Tucker’s first season ever as a head coach, no program wants to lose their H.C. Furthermore, no program wants to lose their coach after the coaching carousel already hired the most qualified candidates. Consequently, it’s not the best time to hire.

But, Tucker made sure to raise the spirits of the Colorado program, its players and its fans.

Arizona State Close to Adding Robert Rodriguez as D-Line Coach

Reportedly, the Arizona State Sundevils are reportedly close to signing Robert Rodriguez as defensive line coach. Because of Jamar Cain’s departure, Rodriguez is a big hire.

Rodriguez just completed his fifth year with the Vikings. During that time, he worked closely with Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson. They utilized aggressive schemes for playmakers Daniel Hunter and Everson Griffen. As a result of his NFL experience, Rodriguez is a sound hire. Above all, Rodriguez will be paid to bring defensive pressure.

Unfortunately, Cain left behind more than defensive coaching. Jamar Cain is considered one of the best recruiting coaches. Losing him hurt. But, Rodriguez coached for UTEP from 2008 to 2014. So, at least he does understand how collegiate coaching and recruiting works. Both as a player and a coach.

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