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June 21, 2007

Calif. schools keeping top prospects home

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Trying to get a top player out of California and away from the local schools is always tough. But when you look at this year's Rivals.com California top 100 it looks like getting a player away from USC, UCLA, Cal and Stanford is almost next to impossible.

More than a quarter of the top players in the Golden State have already pledged to local schools and that number is sure to increase as more and more players make up their mind throughout the recruiting season.

What's even more clearer is that both USC and UCLA look to have a stranglehold on the top players in their own backyard. While there's still definitely a chance that the top player in the state, running back Darrell Scott, will bolt for somewhere outside of California, when you look at the job that the Trojans and Bruins have done early on, it's nothing short of amazing.

The Trojans have pledges from two of the top four players in the state No. 3 ranked Matt Kalil and No. 4 ranked D.J. Shoemate and seven of the top 50 players in the state. Guys like defensive end Wes Horton at No. 16, offensive tackle Matt Meyer at No. 20 and receiver Chris Polk at No. 23 really give the Trojan class some amazing depth.

"USC is really setting itself up for another top class nationally," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Greg Biggins said.

While the Trojans' efforts have been remarkable, the Bruins have also done nothing but impress.

UCLA has commitments from 15 of the 60 players in California with its top prospects being defensive back E.J. Woods at No. 10, Kemonte Bateman at No. 11, linebacker Uona Kavienga at No. 13, defensive back Aaron Hester at No. 15, defensive end Datone Jones at No. 17 and cornerback Anthony Dye at 18.

"This is about as impressive as of a start as we have seen with UCLA in a long, long time," Rivals.com recruiting analyst Rick Kimbrel said. "I think you could make a good argument that UCLA has what might be the nation's top defensive back class."

Jeff Tedford and Co. at Cal continue to do an amazing job. While the Bears haven't grabbed as many national headlines as UCLA and USC, Cal has landed four of the top 65 players in California already.

The Bears' top in-state pledge is 6-foot-4, 250-pound offensive tackle Tyler Rigsbee of Chico Pleasant Valley. The four-star prospect is ranked as the nation's No. 32 offensive tackle and the No. 35 player overall in California.

He's followed closely at No. 36 by fast-rising Cal quarterback commit Beau Sweeney of Fresno Clovis West. Sweeney threw for 1,289 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior and picked the Bears over offers from Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona and Arizona State.

Anthony Miller, a two-way player that could project at linebacker and tight end, was also a nice get for the Bears. He's ranked as the No. 48 player in the state.

New Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh is also getting in the act and is landing higher quality players already. The Cardinal have picked two players in the top 100, and that includes a pledge from receiver Christopher Owusu of Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian at No. 63. Owusu averaged more than 20 yards a catch in 2006 and might have one of the biggest upsides in the state.

Rivals.com California top 100



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