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February 1, 2011
Rivals.com analyst Adam Gorney looks at the top story lines in the West region heading into National Signing Day on Wednesday. Los Angeles is home to several of the stories on this list.
1. L.A. home to two of the nation's top five
Southern California is always loaded with talent but the 2011 class was extra special with five-star wide receiver George Farmer and five-star athlete De'Anthony Thomas ranked third and fifth, respectively, by Rivals.com. Farmer and Thomas are both committed to USC, too, and while Thomas visited Oregon last weekend there are those close to the Los Angeles Crenshaw standout who still believes he will sign with the Trojans.
2. USC thriving despite sanctions
Farmer and Thomas are the headliners in USC's class but the Trojans have done a tremendous job landing two outstanding quarterbacks and a host of other four-star pledges despite the NCAA sanctions. Coach Lane Kiffin is loaded up in this class and while the Trojans could get hit in future classes, USC has done a phenomenal job putting together one of the nation's best recruiting classes.
3. Top talent stays in-state to play for Huskies
Coach Steve Sarkisian has done an outstanding job with Washington's recruiting class - especially keeping in-state players with the Huskies. Washington landed four of the top five players in the state with tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, wide receiver Kasen Williams, defensive tackle Danny Shelton and running back Bishop Sankey, who flipped from Washington State last week. Sarkisian and his staff also did a fine job recruiting Southern California and got a pretty good quarterback after Joseph Gray went to San Jose State. The Huskies did a good job getting former Utah pledge Derrick Brown to switch over. That's a big addition to an impressive class.
4. Possible five-star making a big switch
All was quiet on the western front until five-star athlete De'Anthony Thomas took a surprise visit to Oregon last weekend and apparently loved the trip. Since then, USC fans have been scrambling to find any news possible but Thomas has done a good job of staying underground. There seem to be two camps of thought around Thomas: One is that he loves being in Los Angeles and doesn't want to leave family and friends. Plus, he's been committed to USC for so long and has always dreamed of playing for the Trojans. The other school of thought is that Thomas wants to try something new and experience something new in college. Oregon's offense would be a fantastic fit for Thomas' skill set and after his visit that could be making a difference.
5. UCLA takes a hit in recruiting
A 4-8 season didn't help. Then UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow went to Utah. The Bruins still don't have a defensive coordinator. It's been a struggle for coach Rick Neuheisel and UCLA on the recruiting trail this cycle but the Bruins got good news on Monday when Danvers (Mass.) Lawrence Academy standout reportedly flipped from Iowa. The biggest name in the class is four-star quarterback Brett Hundley, who is already on campus and ready for spring practice. Four-star wide receiver Devin Lucien, who'll announce on Wednesday, could be a big boost if he picks the Bruins. Still, almost every other Pac-10 team has a better class by the Rivals.com rankings and things have not been going well in Westwood.