The Pac-12 has a new recruiting king, while the Arizona schools live in the middle.
UCLA coach Jim Mora adjusted just fine to the college game a year ago, spinning a near top-10 class after only several weeks on the job.
He further flexed in this recruiting cycle, putting together the unanimous top group in the conference, dethroning the usual February champ, USC.
(On the right: Composite rankings from 247Sports, ESPN, Rivals.com and Scout.com.)
The Bruins had high quality across the boards; 17 of its 23 signees were rated at least a four-star recruit by Scout.com.
USC signed five five-star recruits — as many as the entire ACC — but late defections and NCAA sanctions kept the Trojans to a 12-player class. Quality over quantity, coach Lane Kiffin said. But quantity matters, too, in recruiting rankings, and USC’s rankings suffered.
Same goes for defending Pac-12 champ Stanford. The Cardinal rated shockingly low, but coach David Shaw was able to bring in just 12 recruits, and he’ll have time to develop them because his roster is already well-stocked.
As for the Arizona schools, it was a virtual dead heat.
The Wildcats ranked ahead of ASU in two of the four rankings from major media outlets. In an average of the four national rankings, the Devils came out a fraction ahead — 36.5 to 36.75.
ASU was sixth in the Pac-12 in the composite average. Arizona was seventh.
The two second-year coaches got there via different means, however.
The Sun Devils signed 10 junior college transfers, giving coach Todd Graham 19 in his two recruiting classes. Arizona signed two junior college transfers Wednesday (and missed on a couple of others). Rich Rodriguez has signed just three JC transfers overall, including a pair of quarterbacks — B.J. Denker and Jesse Scroggins.
Graham did well with JC transfers in his first year with running back Marion Grice, linebacker Chris Young and others. Will the reliance on transfers hurt ASU down the road? It helps the Devils that four of ASU’s junior college transfers this season have three years of playing eligibility, not just two.
“We are going to recruit the best, brightest, the best character, and the best football players period,” Graham said at his Signing Day press conference.
“I think we can sign the best junior college players in the country. We have the opportunity and the ability to attract the best junior college players in California and Arizona.
“I will just point to this year, and the success that we had being able to bring in those guys in and transition them. I don’t think every staff can do that.”