USC continues to own So Cal recruiting

The monopoly is over? You know, the UCLA proclamation issued a year ago that USC's stranglehold on Southland football recruiting was about to be destroyed by Rick Neuheisel.

And Neuheisel's house organ, the Los Angeles Times, penned an exultant piece at the time the NCAA proclaimed sanctions against the Trojans in which the theory of a UCLA recruiting surge was advanced.

Nice try.. But so far, recruits continue to flock to the Troy banner and the Bruins appear to be stuck in the mud. If the Trojans indeed face a strong challenge in the Pacific-10 Conference, if comes from Stanford, not UCLA. Under the guidance of a relentless recruiter, Coach Jim Harbaugh, the Cardinal, finished in's Top 25 in 2010 rankings. And Harbaugh is at it again in 2011 recruiting.

Let's go through the Pac-10 for a study of how teams are faring with a little over seven months remaining before letter-of-intent day arrives on the first Wednesday of February, 2011.

We begin with the Trojans, who have nine commitments, including one with a five-star ranking, running back-defensive back DeAnthony Thomas of L.A. Crenshaw. Five others have earned four stars -- quarterbacks Cody Kessler of Bakersfield Centennial and Max Wittek of Mater Dei, wide receiver Victor Blackwell of Mater Dei, defensive tackle Antwaun Woods of Woodland Hills Taft and defensive end Jalen Grimble of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. Linebacker Tre Madden of Mission Viejo and offensive lineman Marcus Martin of L.A. Crenshaw are listed at three stars, but look for one or both to move up a notch. The most recent player to commit, kicker Andre Heidari of Bakersfield Stockdale, hasn't been given a ranking, but has a tremendous leg. Leaving Heidri out of the mix leaves the Trojans with an average of 3.87, far above anyone else in the conference.

As we said above, If the Trojans have a challenger, it's not UCLA. The Bruins have only three commitments -- three-star players Marc Mustoe, an offensive lineman from Arvada, Colo., and wide receiver Brandon Cooks of Stockton Lincoln. The other UCLA commitment is two-star offensive lineman Torian White of Lakewood.

Now, a look at Stanford. Harbaugh is continuing his run of success for 2011 with 19 commitments, eight with four-star rankings (unusual for Stanford) and 11 with three stars. That's a team ranking of 3.42, extremely good, indeed. Stanford has commitments from players in 12 states, including California.

Washington, under second-year coach Steve Sarkasian, is doing well numbers-wise, but not necessarily in quality. The Huskies have 15 commitments, but only two with four stars, eight with three stars, three with two stars and one without a ranking. A 2.75 average ranking will not make the Huskies challengers for Pacific-10 Conference honors in the future.

Arizona has nine commitments, one with four stars, four with three, three with two and one non-ranked.

Oregon has not capitalized on its Rose Bowl appearrance. The Ducks have seven commitments -- two with four stars, two with three, one with two and one non-ranked. And the experienced quarterback has been booted from school.

Cal has six commitments, two with four stars and four with three stars. Washington State has 11, better than usual for this time of year, but the quality is suspect. Six of the 11 are ranked with two stars and one is unranked.

Five players have committed to Oregon State, one a three-star, two are two-stars and two are unranked. Typical start for the Beavers, who usually wind up with decent classes.

You wonder how long Arizona State is going to be happy with Dennis Erickson's program. He has only two commitments, one a three-star player and the other a two-star.

We'll try to take a look at the national picture as soon as possible. Top Stories