2017 National Signing Day: Pac-12 storylines to feature new faces, resurgent powerhouses
Outside of the actual games, National Signing Day is the biggest day in the college football season, with coaches staring at fax machines and fans praising or berating 17-year-olds on Twitter for either holding firm on their commitments or “flipping” at the last moment and signing on the dotted line with the rival school.
As you are glued to the tube and internet for the latest signing news on Wednesday, here are five Pac-12 storylines to keep in mind as some 250-300 football players pledge their allegiance to a school in the Conference of Champions:
- Colorado cashing in on its Pac-12 South title - Oh, what a little winning will do for the recruiting trail. Coming off losing season after losing season after losing season, the average national ranking of Colorado’s last four recruiting classes (2013-16) was 70th. As of the beginning of the week, Colorado’s 2017 recruiting class is ranked 26th in the nation by Scout. The rise is real in Boulder, y’all.
- Quality, not quantity, at Utah - The other most-recent Pac-12 addition is seeing an uptick in its recruiting profile as well. As the Utes have put themselves in Pac-12 South contention over the last three seasons, high-schoolers are taking notice. Kyle Goon makes this point in a recent article for The Salt Lake Tribune and notes that entering the week, Utah has the 20th-best average star ranking for 2017 recruits in the country. The commit list, just at 15 as of Monday afternoon, isn’t your typical haul in terms of numbers, but the level of talent coming into the SLC seems to be getting higher. Players from last year’s recruiting class at Utah had an average star ranking of 3.00, significantly below this year’s average of 3.40.
- First classes for new coaches in Eugene and Berkeley - What will Willie Taggart and Justin Wilcox be able to do with their first recruiting classes as head coach at Oregon and Cal? Much of the focus for first-year head coaches is trying to hold on to as many recruits as possible while trying to convince guys who committed to the school the coach was formerly at to join him in his new digs. The process is a little more rushed for Wilcox, who was officially hired just two and a half weeks ago.
- Highly-touted offensive linemen making their way to The Farm - Death, taxes and the offensive line factory at Stanford. Long known for bringing in top-notch talent in the trenches, Stanford has secured commitments from the top two offensive-line recruits in the nation (and two of the top-four overall recruits in the nation according to Scout) and will be awaiting their LOIs come Wednesday. In future years, those two figure to protect the top-rated quarterback in the class of 2017, who is also supposed to be making his way to Stanford.
- Pac-12 teams in the running for best remaining uncommitted talent - The biggest drama of the day always concerns the dudes who make their decisions on National Signing Day, and plenty of Pac-12 schools are still in play for some high-profile guys. Of the 17 uncommitted prospects in the Scout top 100, eight of them are considering at least one Pac-12 school, with USC in the running for four such recruits.
Feverishly refresh pac-12.com on Wednesday for all the latest updates regarding your team on National Signing Day and all the amazing high school highlight reels, commitment videos and hat ceremonies.