Whether you trust Rivals, Scout, or ESPN, there's one thing that most Arizona State diehard fans are aware of right now when it comes to recruiting. With a week left until National Signing Day, the Sun Devils have the top-ranked class in the Pac-12.
According to Rivals, the Sun Devils rank 16th in the country with 25 total commits including six 4-star recruits while Scout.com pegs Arizona State 10th in the nation and lists seven 4-star recruits as part of the Sun Devils' haul. As for ESPN, a rather generous rating system considers 11 of the 25 verbal commitments as 4-star prospects.
Any way you cut it, it's impossible to deny that Arizona State is bringing in an impressive group of players. Recruiting analysts at asudevils.com and devilsdigest.com (the top two local recruiting sources) have said that the class of 2014 is one of the top recruiting classes the Sun Devils will sign in recent memory.
At the top of the class, the Sun Devils list coveted 4-stars such as linebacker Derik Calhoun, defensive end Connor Humphreys, and athlete Tyler Whiley. Arizona State has managed to snag verbal commitments from players with offers from Florida, USC, UCLA, Texas A&M, and Tennessee among others.
The list continues, and so does the list of teams ranked below the Sun Devils in Pac-12 recruiting rankings. As of Wednesday morning, Arizona State still held a narrow advantage in both Rivals and Scout rankings over the Sun Devils' conference foes.
With such little time left until Signing Day, is it possible that Arizona State finishes atop the Pac-12? Well, by our research, probably not.
Though this is our first year following recruiting closely as a website, we do know where the Sun Devils stand compared to traditional recruiting heavyweights such as USC and UCLA.
In the Rivals.com rankings, UCLA sits 17th overall, just a spot behind the Sun Devils while the Stanford Cardinal are hanging around at 21st. Arizona rounds out the top 25 with Oregon looming back at 32nd, and the once-mighty USC Trojans coming into the week ranked 34th.
In the Scout.com rankings, Arizona ranks second overall in the Pac-12 with a ranking of 16th while UCLA and Stanford rank 19th and 20th respectively. Oregon sits just outside the top 25 at No. 26 as USC follows closely behind at No. 28.
Clearly, there isn't a lot of separation between the top six teams in the conference in terms of recruiting right now. The Sun Devils have a bit more cushion in the Scout.com rankings, but teams such as UCLA and USC have a lot left to gain before Signing Day.
As of Wednesday morning, the Sun Devils' recruiting class is close to full with room to add a commitment or two while teams like USC and UCLA have more flexibility.
Based on the top remaining uncommitted recruits' offer lists, it appears as though USC and UCLA both have the best chances to climb the rankings over the next week. We don't know how much an individual commitment affects the rankings, but each Southern California school is still in the running for a few 4 and 5-star recruits in Rivals.com top 100 recruits.
The top remaining recruit that both schools have their eyes on is Adoree' Jackson, the No. 6 recruit in the country and the top recruit in the state of California according to Rivals. Jackson is also considering Florida and LSU, and the Sun Devils would rather have one of the top athletes in the country choose an SEC school over a Pac-12 South counterpart.
Another top 50 recruit still considering both Southern California schools is 4-star offensive guard Damien Mama who won a state championship with St. John Bosco in California this fall. Mama is one of USC's top targets, but Scout.com recruiting analyst Greg Biggins tweeted that Mama will make an official visit to UCLA this coming weekend. Mama will also likely make an LDS mission after he graduates high school and that will delay the start of his college career.
One other recruit considering USC is 5-star athlete John "JuJu" Smith who also has offers from Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State and UCLA. Smith played with Mama at St. John Bosco and the pair are reportedly very close off of the field as well.
It's a definite possibility that USC could land Jackson, Mama, and Smith, which would likely vault the Trojans to the top or near the top of Pac-12 recruiting rankings. It's also possible that the Trojans could miss out on all three recruits, and in that scenario, Arizona State could still finish ahead of the Trojans.
As for UCLA, the Bruins are still in the running for linebacker Rashaan Evans who ranks as the 14th best recruit in the class of 2014 according to Rivals. Jim Mora is competing with Alabama and Auburn for Evans, and landing the the linebacker who hails from Auburn, Ala. would be a steal.
A fellow 5-star recruit still considering the Bruins is Malachi Dupre, the 15th best recruit in the country and the No. 2 ranked wide receiver. Dupre's Rivals.com profile lists Alabama, Florida State and LSU as the Bruins' competitors for Dupre's talents.
With a near-complete recruiting class, it's too early to tell how Arizona State will finish in the final Pac-12 recruiting rankings. However, if the Sun Devils are able to hold onto verbal commitments from all of their 4-star recruits and perhaps add one to two more players, Todd Graham will have made a significant improvement upon his 2013 recruiting class and that's a stride that Sun Devil fans are excited about.