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October 25, 2005

Pac 10 Blitz: Cardinal hot

Who is the hottest team out West other than USC or UCLA?

Try the Stanford Cardinal.

After beating Arizona on the road, the Cardinal came back with an impressive 45-35 victory over Arizona State at home. And surprise, surprise Walt Harris and company are now 4-2 on the season. That's not bad considering Stanford lost earlier in the season to UC-Davis, and recruits are starting to take notice of Stanford's rapid improvement.

Scheduled to be on hand for the Cardinal's big victory was Midwest City, Okla., three-star athlete LaRon Moore. He was one of several key recruits that have been recently liking more and more what they see from Stanford.

"Stanford has really impressed me with how they've played lately," Moore said heading into his scheduled visit. "You know that they have the best academics in the world, but to see them make some strides on the field makes the program even more attractive."

Stanford with its great academic reputation can recruit all over the nation. That has allowed them to move in on Deerfield, Ill., quarterback Alex Loukas.

"I'm planning to take an official visit to Stanford on November 18th, unless we are still playing in the state playoffs. Stanford wanted me to take the official visit earlier, but we've been playing quite a few Saturday games and with the playoffs next week you never know when the games will be until a few days before the games. I'm excited about seeing Stanford in person."

Loukas is still looking at both Purdue and Stanford as his current favorites.

"I would say that both Purdue and Stanford are my favorites right now. I'm also going to look harder at Illinois. Right now I just want to focus on school and the state playoffs, and maybe after my official visit to Stanford I'll look at either making a decision or maybe take another official visit."

Bruins grab fast-rising Verner

With an impressive senior season, Lakewood (Calif.) Mayfair three-star wide receiver Alterraun Verner had become one of the West's hottest targets. But he didn't last on the market too long because when UCLA offered him a scholarship late last week it didn't take him long to jump on it.

"I chose UCLA because I have been following the Bruins ever since I was young," Verner said. "I also wanted to go to a school that was academically challenging and I know I can that at UCLA. I'm used to the area and I know what to expect.

"I started following UCLA all the way back to the days of Skip Hicks and Deshaun Foster. I've always been a fan."

And Bruin fans will likely be a fan of Verner when he gets o the field.

The Bruins recruited him as an athlete with the emphasis on defense and special teams.

Verner is having an outstanding senior season on both sides of the ball for Mayfair. As receiver, Verner has 32 receptions for 635 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball, he has racked up 48 tackles and has picked off four passes. On one of Verner's interceptions, he returned it back for a 102 yard touchdown.

Verner also returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown and has also been getting the job done as a punt returner. Verner is another solid get for the Bruins and fits the UCLA profile to a tee.

USC-UCLA battle brewing

You knew it was coming. Afterall UCLA and USC are two of the nation's top teams in college football, so it's only fitting that they're locking horns for a player the magnitude of C.J. Gable.

The four-star running back/cornerback from Sylmar, Calif., lists both the Trojans and Bruins as the two teams he watches the most. He said he loves the opportunity that UCLA could present him to come play early, but he also is quick to admit that he's a big, big Reggie Bush fan.

"I've been watching Reggie Bush the most because that's my favorite running back," Gable said. "He's been doing really good this year, so I always try to see him play. He could leave for the NFL after this season, too, so I might have a chance to go to USC and play early as a running back.

"Maurice Drew might leave, so I might go there. UCLA and USC are the schools I'm really, really looking at right now. UCLA says that I would have a good shot at starting both ways, just like USC does. They say I can come in and fit their offense, so I've been really looking at them lately."

Big weekend on tap for USC

The Trojans are gearing up to make this weekend's upcoming game a big one - not only on the field but in the recruiting wars.

The nation's No. 1 player, Percy Harvin is slated to be in Los Angeles, but he won't be alone. USC has scheduled two talented Texans - defensive tackle Brandon Antwine and linebacker Michael Morgan - and the nation's top running back LeSean McCoy is set to be in.

"USC said it was their blue-chip weekend," Morgan said. "They wanted only their best recruits to come in that weekend, and I'm flattered that they want me to be there."

It also appears that December 2 and December 16 are going to be big weekends for USC. Several key recruits, including five-star offensive lineman Stephen Schilling are set to be in either one of those weekends.

Arizona for Holmes?

While the nation's top junior college player Louis Holmes has been long thought to be heading to a national program like LSU, USC, Tennessee, watch out for Mike Stoops' Arizona program. Holmes reportedly loves the shot to play from day one for the Wildcats and he's developed a great relationship with several of the UofA basketball players. It also doesn't hurt that Holmes, a five-star player, has taken at least 12 unofficial visits to Tucson, Ariz., this year.

WSU RB isn't sleeper anymore

When he first emerged onto the scene as a Division I player, many people didn't know how talented Mesa (Ariz.) Dobson running back Marcus Richmond was. But now that he's heading to Washington State, people have found out that he's a hidden gem that could play early for the Cougars.

"This is the type of player Washington State makes a living off of," one Pac 10 coach said. "People don't know this, but that kid might be the real top player in Arizona. He's had a great senior season and he's going to make a lot of people sad they didn't offer him."

Etc.

December 2 also looks to be a big recruiting weekend for the Washington Huskies. That's when several players, including three-star defensive end Greg Banks, are scheduled to visit… November 4 is the big weekend for the Oregon Ducks. At least four players have already lined up visits, including quarterback commitment Nathan Costa… Oregon State went local recently to land a commitment from Roseburg, Ore., kicker Kyle Loomis. The sleeper is 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds and also claimed an offer from Oregon… Arizona State commitment Jermaine Williams, the No. 1 player in the state, has had a good season. However, his coach said his main focus is to continue to work on academics so he'll be qualified out of high school.

More Recruiting Blitzes:
SEC: Rebs holding on
Big Ten: PSU profits from visitors


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