Huskies and Ducks duel for Pac-12′s best signing day
BEST IN CLASS (based on 247 Sports composite rankings through Wednesday afternoon): The heated rivalry between Washington and Oregon continues off the field and onto the recruiting trail. Early returns have the Huskies edging the Ducks. Washington’s class is ranked No. 14, two spots ahead of the Ducks. Stanford is right behind at 22 after going 4-8 this season. They’re followed by UCLA at No. 28, California at 33, Colorado at 34 and Arizona State at 35.
BEST PLAYER: Oregon grabbed top-rated California linebacker Justin Flowe, who was ranked fourth among all prospects regardless of position. Flowe chose the Ducks over Southern California. He had also been pursued by Clemson. Oregon, who also lost a couple of top-end possibilities, picked up the No. 2 linebacker in Noah Sewell, who is ranked 23rd overall. The only other five-star signee on the first day goes to Washington, who landed llinebacker Sav’ell Smalls.
WHO STOCKED UP: Utah moved up by getting defensive end Van Fillinger, who was originally headed for Texas, as well as home-state safety Nate Ritchie. Utah also remains in the running for cornerback Clark Phillips, the nation’s No. 47 prospect. ... Stanford landed 5-11, 195-pound running back EJ Smith, son of Hall of Famer and former Florida Gator Emmitt Smith. ... Colorado signed wide receiver Brenden Rice, the son of Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice. ... Oregon also picked up a second quarterback, with four-star Robby Ashford joining Jay Butterfield.
WHO FELL SHORT: Hard to believe, but bringing up the rear in the Pac-12 is USC at 78th nationally. The Trojans’ haul stood at 11 players, but they’re in contention for some top prospects who are unsigned. Still, when a team of this pedigree signs more kickers than quarterbacks, something is amiss.
TAKEAWAY: While Washington and Oregon finished atop the Pac-12 standings, it’s hard not to stare at USC’s position at the bottom. Retaining coach Clay Helton was supposed to show the stability of the program, it certainly didn’t translate to a payoff in the early signing period.