Commentary

Another year, another top class for USC

Updated: February 7, 2008, 12:35 PM ET
By Tom Luginbill, Craig Haubert, Billy Tucker and Bill Conley | Scouts Inc.

• Complete Pac-10 signing lists

Eight ESPN 150 prospects
Losing Joe Adams (Little Rock, Ark./Central Arkansas Christian) to Arkansas on signing day hurt, but landing No. 2 corner T.J. Bryant (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) and No. 10 defensive end Nick Perry (Detroit/Mackenzie) brings in potentially bigger difference-makers. This class may not boast as many elite stars and No. 1-ranked prospects as last year, but the Trojans did an excellent job filling areas of need, such as the offensive line. Top-rated tight end Blake Ayles (Orange, Calif./Lutheran) and ESPN's No. 4 receiver Brice Butler (Norcross, Ga.) could make an impact on offense in 2009.

Four ESPN 150 prospects
Comprised of four ESPN 150 members and six prospects with a Scouts Inc. grade of 80 or higher, Rick Neuheisel has to be pleased with the class he inherited (with much help from DeWayne Walker) in his return to Westwood. Aundre Dean (Katy, Texas) was a major land for the Bruins, and this top-10 running back shows good balance, explosiveness and burst between the tackles. Joining Dean in the backfield will be quarterback Nick Crissman (Huntington Beach, Calif./Edison), a possible future gem under the tutelage of Neuheisel. The Bruins needed depth at tight end and landed another top-10 positional prospect in Cory Harkey (Chino Hills, Calif.). Underrated sixth-ranked safety E.J. Woods (Culver City, Calif./Crespi Carmelite) should fill a depth void at defensive back with perhaps the fastest safety in this class, Rahim Moore (Los Angeles/Dorsey).

One ESPN 150 prospect
Second-year Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson used the Sun Devils' successful season to put together one of their better recruiting classes in recent years. The group is highlighted by some big names, but the top-to-bottom quality is perhaps what is most impressive. Programs are built with players in the 77-79 range of the Scouts Inc. grading scale, and ASU boasts nine players in that range to build around its elite players like ESPN 150 athlete Gerell Robinson (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) and top-25 running back Ryan Bass (Corona, Calif./Centennial). Jarrell Barbour (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) gives ASU the top two rated athletes in the state. The Sun Devils landed quality prospects at offensive tackle and two top-20 positional prospects at guard in Zach Schlink (Peoria, Ariz./Centennial) and Andrew Sampson (Aurora, Colo./Overland), filling areas of need. Defense also got a boost with Jamaar Jarrett (San Marcos, Calif/Mission Hills), ESPN's No. 12-rated defensive end prospect, decommitting from Oregon.

One ESPN 150 prospect
The Ducks broke out during the fall of 2007, and their success has given them a national recruiting presence in 2008. Oregon has put together a class filled with top-25 talent and explosive offensive skill prospects who fit perfectly in coordinator Chip Kelly's innovative spread offense. It was evident athletic-quarterback depth was a major need when Dixon went down -- consider it filled with ESPN's No. 11-rated athlete Chris Harper (Wichita, Kan./Northwest) and playmaker Darron Thomas (Aldine, Texas). The offensive weapons also include athletic tight end Dion Jordan (Chandler, Ariz.), LaMichael James (Texarkana, Texas/Liberty Eylau), who is a top-25 running back and could eventually replace some of the production left by Jonathan Stewart, and Kenjon Barner (Riverside, Calif./Notre Dame), a running back prospect with the quickness and speed to be dangerous in space as well.

One ESPN 150 prospect
Despite three straight losing seasons and no bowl appearances, Tyrone Willingham and his staff have put together a surprisingly good 2008 class. The Huskies cleaned up in their own state, including signing the state's top player and No. 2-rated tight end prospect Kavario Middleton (Lakewood, Wash./Lakes). Good pickups on the offensive line include guard Allen Carroll (Oakland, Calif./McClymond), massive in-state guard Alameda Ta'amu (Seattle/Rainier Beach) and tall tackle Terence Thomas (Caldwell, Idaho). Wide receivers Chris Polk (Redlands, Calif./East Valley), Jordan Polk (Portland, Ore./Lincoln), Cody Bruns (Prosser, Wash.) and Jermaine Kearse (Lakewood, Wash./Lakes) address a position of need. On defense, tackle Senio Kelemete (Seattle/Evergreen) and defensive end Everette Thompson (Burien, Wash./Kennedy) should help bolster a struggling unit in the future.

No ESPN 150 prospects
With Arizona State winning on the field under Dennis Erickson and recruiting better, Arizona is left on the short end of the battle for in-state talent. Arizona did make a good grab out of California in underrated projected guard Vaughn Dotsy (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure). Joining Dotsy on the offensive line could be Solomon Koehler (Kaneohe, Hawaii/Castle), a solid two-way player with great power despite being a bit raw. Chris Merrill (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro) adds more good depth in the trenches and is a sleeper at defensive tackle. Robert Golden (Fresno, Calif./Edison) should offer good scheme versatility with his ability to play corner or safety.

No ESPN 150 prospects
This recruiting class is not on the same level as conference foes USC or UCLA, but Cal still landed good quality and filled some needs. Its top prospect, Marvin Jones (Etiwanda, Calif.), fills a need at receiver and is a great in-state land with his soft hands and sound concentration tracking the deep ball. The addition of Covaughn Deboskie (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) filled a need at running back as well. Six-foot-seven tight end Spencer Ladner (Kansas City, Mo./Pembroke Hill) is a quality signing while Tyler Rigsbee (Chico, Calif./Pleasant Valley) is a promising offensive lineman. Linebacker J.P. Hurrell (San Mateo, Calif./Serra) lacks ideal size but can be a defensive playmaker.

One ESPN 150 prospect
Jim Harbaugh seems to have the Cardinals heading in the right direction and recruits are noticing. Stanford currently has four prospects ranking within the top 25 of their respective positions, and the overall depth of talent has improved. Harbaugh signed a top-10 quarterback in Andrew Luck (Houston/Stratford) to develop. Needs on defense were met with high-motored end Chase Thomas (Marietta, Ga./Walton). Wide receiver was also a position in need of young depth, and speedy, soft-handed Chris Owusu (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) signed to help fill that spot. Warren Reuland (Mission Viejo, Calif.) has great size and could develop into a solid possession receiver. David DeCastro (Bellevue, Wash.) and Jonathan Martin (North Hollywood, Calif./Harvard Westlake) are good additions up front.

No ESPN 150 prospects
New Cougars head coach Paul Wulff will not make any big noise with his initial recruiting class. Skylar Stormo (Mukilteo, Wash./Kamiak) fills a need at tight end and brings both polished receiving skills and a great frame to develop as an in-line blocker. Andrei Lintz (Bellingham, Wash./Meridian) will join Stormo at tight end and is not far behind in overall talent. Receiver Kevin Norrell (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) is a well-rounded prospect with excellent hands out of a good high school program. The Cougars have hit the junior colleges to address the defensive line and other immediate needs.

No ESPN 150 prospects
The Beavers finished in the top half of the Pac-10 last fall, but unfortunately the Beavers will end up at the bottom half of the conference in our final recruiting rankings. Top-50 guard prospect Colin Lyons-Pena (Sacramento, Calif./West Campus) was a massive high school tackle we project will slide inside to fill some interior needs. Jacquizz Rodgers (Rosenberg, Texas/Lamar) fills some needed depth at running back and can be dangerous in space. Linebacker was also a position needing an infusion of talent and in-state linebacker Tony Wilson (Salem, Ore./Sprague) should be productive between the tackles. The group of five signed juco prospects is actually light for the Beavers.