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Pac-12 recruiting update: Deion Sanders' impact, Utah lands a major OL prospect


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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 Dec. 8 …


Obviously, the biggest news was the hiring of Deion Sanders. What does that mean for Colorado? What does that mean for Colorado's recruiting? And what does that mean for the Pac-12?

Obviously, Sanders will be hitting the transfer portal hard with the expectation that his son, Shedeur Sanders, will be joining him in Boulder.

There's buzz that cornerback Travis Hunter will be joining him, too. I expect that to happen at some point but probably not until after Jackson State's appearance (Dec. 17) in the Celebration Bowl.

There's also talk that Hunter, the No. 1 recruit in the country last year who picked Jackson State, won't end up at Colorado but, rather, with a school where name, image and likeness money might come into play.

My guess is that he joins the Buffs.

*** What does Sanders' arrival mean for the current Colorado commitments?

A number of them tweeted out this week that they were de-committing, and the reality is that most of those were not by choice. They were being told that Colorado is going in a different direction.

Several recruits have been told they can come to Boulder for official visits.

NCAA rules allow you to take an official visit to a school and if there's a coaching change after you commit, you're allowed to take a second official visit. So this weekend, Victory Johnson, a three-star linebacker from San Diego, and Ryan Staub, the Buffs' three-star quarterback commit from Southern California, will be visiting Boulder officially.

But three-star tight end Tucker Ashcroft, who's from Seattle, de-committed. Three-star edge Carson Mott, who's from Simi Valley, did the same. Another three-star edge Brady Nassar, a Bay Area prospect, also de-committed but was quickly offered a scholarship by Arizona State.

Not everybody was as lucky.

A lot of those recruits are trying to find a place to call home after cutting off communication with schools following their commitments to the Buffaloes. That's the hard reality of a coaching change, and Sanders is making it clear that he will be hitting the portal hard.

In the coming weeks, it will be worth watching if high school prospects make up the bulk of the CU class or if, like USC last year, most of the newcomers will come through the transfer portal.

*** On the same note of schools that have changed head coaches, Stanford is still without one (as of Friday morning). But as we talked about last week, there is still power in the Stanford brand.

Myles Jackson, a four-star quarterback out of Millikan High School in Long Beach, has committed to the Cardinal. He was in the prep class of 2024 but has reclassified to the '23 class.

This decision had been under wraps for a period of time.

Jackson was supposed to announce his commitment a couple weeks ago — right after the Cardinal's final home game. Then the plan was to do it last week, after the coaching change, and he put it off. But Stanford had been the school to beat for Jackson for quite some time.

With Jackson in the 2023 recruiting class, the Cardinal can continue its pursuit of Austin Mack out of Folsom and Elijah Brown out of Mater Dei, the other in-state quarterbacks it has offered in the '24 class. (Both players carry four-star ratings.)

So even without a coach, a quarterback is committing to Stanford — and reclassifying to do it.

*** This will be a big week for recruiting in the Pac-12, with every school hosting official visits from both high school prospects and players in the transfer portal.

The group of transfers is expected to include Fentrell Cypress II, one of the hottest commodities on the market. He's a cornerback from Virginia who has a year of eligibility remaining and is expected to visit UCLA this weekend.

I would imagine that USC will keep its visit numbers low with Caleb Williams and Lincoln Riley in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.

*** The Pac-12 champions will be hosting some official visitors, but Utah already made big news this week by landing four-star offensive tackle Spencer Fano, the No. 1 prospect in the West at his position and the No. 2 overall player in Utah.

The Utes grabbed him from Brigham Young's backyard:

He's from Timpview High School in Provo and had narrowed his choice to Clemson, Michigan, Oregon, BYU and Utah.

As a bonus, BYU lost Fano's brother, Logan, a defensive end. He went into the portal, then announced he would be transferring to Utah.

And there's more: On Thursday night, four-star edge rusher Hunter Clegg — he's one of the top 20 players at his position in the country — flipped his commitment from Stanford to Utah.

What a stretch this has been for the Utes on the field and the recruiting trail.

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Jon Wilner
Jon Wilner's Pac-12 Hotline is brought to KSL.com through a partnership with the Bay Area News Group.

Jon Wilner has been covering college sports for decades and is an AP Top 25 football and basketball voter as well as a Heisman Trophy voter. He was named Beat Writer of the Year in 2013 by the Football Writers Association of America for his coverage of the Pac-12, won first place for feature writing in 2016 in the Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest and is a five-time APSE honoree. You can follow him on Twitter @WilnerHotline or send an email at jwilner@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Pac-12 Hotline: Subscribe to the Pac-12 Hotline Newsletter. Pac-12 Hotline is not endorsed or sponsored by the Pac-12 Conference, and the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the Conference.

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