By Brandon Huffman
The Hotline is delighted to provide Pac-12 fans with a weekly dive into the recruiting process through the eyes and ears of Brandon Huffman, the Seattle-based national recruiting analyst for 247Sports.
The following information, in his words, was provided to the Hotline on March 30 …
*** While the 2023-24 recruiting cycle is underway with the spring evaluation period set to start in two weeks, there is still one final piece to the 2023 puzzle. And Lincoln Riley found that magical piece with the commitment of five-star tight end Duce Robinson to USC on Thursday evening.
This is a major development. Robinson, from Phoenix, is the No. 1 tight end in the high school senior class, the No. 19 player overall and the top prospect at any position in Arizona.
His commitment enhances a USC recruiting class that’s already talented. With Robinson, Malachi Nelson and Zachariah Branch, the Trojans have the No. 1 tight end, the No. 1 receiver and the No. 5 quarterback in the country.
For a long time, it appeared Robinson was headed to Georgia, which already had two elite tight ends secured, plus All-American Brock Bowers returning for next season.
But many people believe Robinson will be a high-round pick in baseball, so there remains the possibility that he never plays football for the Trojans — if he gets a huge guaranteed contract from a major league franchise.
Still, it’s a significant victory for USC. With Robinson and Branch, it’s very obvious the Trojans want to throw the ball.
Moving to news from the class of 2024 …
*** It has been a good start for Troy Taylor in his first full recruiting cycle as Stanford’s head coach. He went to Atlanta, an area Stanford has been recruiting well since the Jim Harbaugh era, to land three-star defensive lineman Jacobi Murray.
Murray is also a shotputter and discus thrower, but he’ll be playing football for the Cardinal. He’s a top-65 defensive lineman nationally, and that’s a position of need for the program.
Taylor grabbed another track athlete in three-star receiver Chase Ferrell from Southern California powerhouse Oaks Christian, whose brother, Bryce, is a receiver and returner for the Cardinal.
Chase has already been clocked with a 10.5-second 100-meter time as a sophomore and would like to run track in college. He had offers from Arizona, ASU, Cal and Oregon.
*** Arizona has prioritized Hawaii under Jedd Fisch and landed a top-10 player from the state with the commitment of three-star linebacker Nazaiah Caravallo. This spring, he has been active in the seven-on-seven circuit and adds to the Wildcats’ success in the Pacific Islands.
*** Arizona State entered Texas and grabbed a commitment from three-star receiver Zechariah Sample, a slot receiver and top-100 player nationally at his position.
While the Sun Devils are trying to emphasize the in-state kids under Kenny Dillingham, they will continue to dabble in Texas.
*** Colorado coach Deion Sanders got his quarterback for the 2024 class, going into Indianapolis, of all places, for three-star prospect Danny O’Neil. He’s a top-five player in Indiana and a top-30 quarterback nationally.
O’Neil is a big win for Sanders, who got his quarterback early in the cycle. A lot of people thought O’Neil might be heading down to Kentucky.
Speaking of quarterbacks …
*** Four-star prospect Elijah Brown, the top uncommitted quarterback in California in the class of 2024 and the No. 3 passer in the country is heading on a West Coast tour with visits set up to Stanford, USC and UCLA. He also recently visited Arizona State.
Stanford has made Brown a big priority with Troy Taylor’s arrival.
UCLA, even though it has five-star quarterback Dante Moore in the ’23 class, is pursuing Brown aggressively.
And USC, of course, has had great success over the years with Mater Dei kids.
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