Wild Recruiting Weekend In the West

April 25 -- It was a wild weekend in the West, with six Scout 300 prospects making commitments or flipping them, with UCLA landing two of them, adding some intrigue to the relatively low-key month of April...

Six 2018 prospects from the West in the Scout 300 committing on the same weekend wouldn't normally be unusual.

If it were the weekend of the The Opening Finals, a big visit weekend in December, an All-American Game or on Signing Day.

That it happened on a random weekend in April, though?

Not as normal.


But that's exactly how the weekend played out in the West, with a half-dozen prospects in the 2018 Scout 300 making commitments, or in one's case, flipping his.

Coming off the board was the No. 1 defensive tackle in the region, the No. 3 quarterback in the West, two top ten athletes regionally and a four-star receiver.  Only two of them were expected to announce this week.

Included was a surprising flip from a longtime quarterback commit from one Big 12 school to another.

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Friday started low-key, with San Marcos (Calif.) four-star receiver Kyle Philips committing to UCLA.

“From an educational standpoint, I just can’t pass that up,” Philips told Scout's Blair Angulo. “It just gives me something amazing to fall back on. With the coaching staff, I’ve got a great relationship with coach (Jimmie) Dougherty and coach (Scott) White. I really like what coach Dougherty is doing with the receivers, so that was another big thing for me."

A little bit later, Santa Margarita (Calif.) four-star athlete Malone Mataele announced he was playing in the Pac-12, committing to Utah.


"I've been to Utah two or three times and it always just feels right there," Mataele told Scout's Greg Biggins. "I was just there last week for the spring game with my parents and I knew then that Utah was the place for me. I have a great family feel there, I love the comfort level I have and I think it's just the best overall fit for me."

Saturday, though, is when the big surprise happened.

After committing to Oklahoma last August, Newbury Park (Calif.) four-star quarterback Cameron Rising flipped his commitment to the Sooners' Red River rivals, Texas.


"I could feel the energy throughout the entire program- the coaches, players, recruits and fans. I want to be a part of building something special, something historic and know that Texas is the place for me," Rising said on Twitter.  "I truly believe Coach (Tom) Herman will bring Texas back to the elite status program it is."

There were ties with Rising and Herman that go back to Ventura County roots.

Rising's father, Nicko, played at Cal Lutheran University, the same school Herman would play at years later.  And Rising's offensive coordinator, Keith Smith, was a high school rival of Herman, playing against each other in the Marmonte League in the early 1990's.  Herman also recruited Rising's older brother, Tyson, to Houston, getting him in for an official visit, before the older Rising signed with Arizona State.

The dual-threat took an unofficial visit to Austin last week, just a week after he had visited Oklahoma.

While two of Sunday's commitments were scheduled and expected, one other came out of the blue.

Corona (Calif.) Roosevelt four-star athlete Chase Williams had just recently named a top five but on Sunday afternoon, decided to end his recruitment and announced he was headed to Nebraska.


"I visited Nebraska for the spring game and just knew that was the place for me," Williams told Greg Biggins. "I loved the fan base, the campus and the area around the campus. I have a great relationship with all the coaches and just felt comfortable there. Donte Williams (DB coach) was my lead recruiter and he's a great guy and a great coach as well. I planned to commit in August but the timing just felt right to do it now. I actually committed to them about a week ago but kept it to myself until now."

Williams became the third Southern California native to commit to the Huskers in the last week, joining Bookie Radley-Hiles (now at IMG Academy) and Corona (Calif.) Centennial receiver Manuel Allen.

Late Sunday afternoon, the West's No. 1 defensive tackle, Concord (Calif.) De La Salle's Tuli Letuligasenoa, announced for USC, choosing the Trojans over Washington, Oregon and UCLA as well as Miami, Nebraska and Notre Dame.


"USC was the best school for me," Letuligasenoa told Scout after his commitment.

After inking the top two defensive tackles in the West in the 2017 class in five-star Jay Tufele and four-star Marlon Tuipulotu, the Trojans keep their defensive line momentum going with the verbal from the Under Armour All-American Letuligasenoa.

Rounding out the evening was the verbal from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman four-star quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who chose UCLA over Michigan.


Thompson-Robinson, who has already been invited to the Elite 11 Finals, amassed over 30 offers despite never starting a varsity game for the Gaels.  He served as the backup for five-star Tate Martell, now at Ohio State, during the Gaels' past two Scout National Championship seasons.

“After visiting Westwood and UCLA, I could definitely see myself there even after college,” Thompson-Robinson told Blair Angulo. “I’m a West Coast kid and that was huge for me, obviously. And just talking to coach (Jedd) Fisch on my visit there about a month ago, he told me they’re going to run what he’s calling a Sunday offense. He’s planning to do what he’s done in the past, which is form the offense to the quarterback’s strengths, and I really see myself fitting in well.

While he's just outside the Scout 300, Wilsonville (Ore.) defensive end Draco Bynum also made his college commitment.

The three-star picked Washington over home-state Oregon while visiting the Huskies for their spring showcase.


The commitments from prospects in the West also shuffled the deck a bit in the team recruiting rankings.

Letuligasenoa moved USC to No. 7 nationally, just ahead of Washington.  The Trojans also have the highest average star rating in this class, 4.33, and Letuligasenoa was their fourth commitment from a Top 100 prospect.

The Huskies stayed at No. 8 with the addition of Bynum.

Nebraska moved up to No. 10 with the commitment of Williams.

UCLA jumped up to No. 14 with Thompson-Robinson's commitment, coming on the heels of the addition of Louisiana running back A.J. Carter, a three-star back, on Saturday night and Philips' the day before.

Texas went up to No. 16 with Rising's verbal one of two commits for the Longhorns over the weekend.

It wasn't just about commitments either.

Two of the West's top quarterbacks visited SEC schools over the weekend and three more Scout 100 prospects hit the road nationally.

Longtime USC commit Matt Corral visited Georgia and took in the Bulldogs' Spring Game, though he remains solid to the Trojans.

And Lehi (Utah) four-star quarterback Camm Cooper also swung by Athens to see Georgia, netting an offer, and then went to visit Tennessee for the Vols' spring game.

The No. 1 athlete in the country, Talanoa Hufanga from Corvallis (Ore.) Crescent Valley, visited Alabama for their spring game and Hufanga left Tuscaloosa with a much-awaited offer from the Tide.


His fellow Oregonian, Top 10 receiver Chase Cota from Medford (Ore.) South, was also offered by Alabama during the week, as well as Georgia, but he was in South Bend instead, taking in the Notre Dame spring game.  He was there with yet another Oregon native, Braden Lenzy, the third Scout 100 prospect from the Beaver State.  

Lenzy committed to Notre Dame in February.

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Scout national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins and Mountain/Island recruiting analyst Blair Angulo contributed to this report.

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