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Pac-12 football's 2022 recruiting class rankings: Oregon claims 4th straight recruiting crown; Arizona surprises, Washington stumbles

Josh Conerly's surprise decision had a big impact on the 2022 Pac-12 football recruiting class rankings

The 2022 football recruiting cycle finally came to a dramatic close Friday when Rainier Beach five-star offensive tackle Josh Conerly Jr. announced his commitment to Oregon over USC, Washington and others.

That decision shook up the final recruiting class rankings in the conference, and because it was likely the last major impactful pledge of the 2022 class it also cemented the spots of the rest of the league.

Here's a look at the Pac-12 recruiting class rankings* - and what it means for those programs (*rankings courtesy of 247Sports):

Rainier Beach football 5-star offensive tackle Joshua Conerly Jr. announces in his home gymnasium he will sign with Oregon over USC.

Josh Conerly Jr.

1. Oregon Ducks (No. 16 nationally)

Entering the 2022 recruiting cycle, Oregon had won the conference recruiting crown three consecutive years.

A fourth looked all-but-certain in early February, as the Ducks had compiled a top-10 class nationally.

But Mario Cristobal's sudden departure to Miami (Fla.) just days before the early signing period crippled Oregon's recruiting class and the group tumbled outside the top 50.

Prioritizing recruiting expertise, Oregon quickly assembled a new coaching staff, led by Dan Lanning, and hit the recruiting trail.

They re-secured both Lincoln (California) four-star cornerbacks Jalil Tucker and Jahlil Florence, as well as four-star two-way lineman Dave Iuli, held on to All-American Bowl linebacker Devon Jackson and flipped Georgia four-star running back pledge Jordan James.

But even that wasn't enough for the top spot.

Until Friday.

When Conerly, the nation's No. 9 overall prospect and No. 1 offensive tackle, committed to Oregon over USC, Washington and others it locked up the conference recruiting crown.

Oregon has now finished with the No. 1 recruiting class in the Pac-12 four consecutive years.

Prior to that streak the Ducks had never finished with the best class in the league.


David Bailey

David Bailey

2. Stanford Cardinal (No. 19 nationally)

Stanford has experienced an up-and-down recruiting effort since the class of 2018, twice finishing with recruiting classes in the back half of the top 25 and twice finishing No. 40 nationally or worse.

Hoping to find firmer footing in the 2022 recruiting cycle, Stanford took some big swings - and delivered a couple of home runs.

David Shaw signed seven four-star prospects (21 signees; 33 percent bluechip "hit" rate).

But the highlight of the class was unquestionably Mater Dei defender David Bailey.

With three bluechip teammates - Domani Jackson, Raleek Brown and C.J. Williams - all headed to USC, it looked like Bailey may follow suit.

However, he bucked that trend and committed to Stanford, becoming the headliner of the class.

Bailey is rated the nation's No. 3 edge-rusher.

Other important additions were Texas four-star defensive lineman Earnest Cooper IV and a pair of four-star offensive tackles, Fisher Anderson (Tennessee) and Lucas Heyer (Minnesota).


Tetairoa McMillan – Servite High School football

Tetairoa McMillan

3. Arizona Wildcats (No. 22 nationally)

The unquestionable surprise of the Pac-12 conference, the Arizona Wildcats have struggled on the field.

But they put together an historic recruiting class, thanks in large part to their quartet of Servite High School (California) additions.

The first three to head South - four-star tight end Keyan Burnett, three-star quarterback Noah Fifita and three-star linebacker Jacob Manu - are all solid additions.

But they also help lay the foundation for elite wide receiver Tetairoa McMillan to waver late between his verbal commitment to Oregon and future alongside his friends in Arizona.

In the end, the Servite connection proved too much to pass up, and McMillan immediately became the highest-rated pledge in program history. 

Arizona signed five bluechip prospects in the 2022 class: St. John Bosco four-star running back Rayshon Luke (California), Bishop Alemany cornerback Ephesians Prysock (California), Oaks Christian edge-rusher Sterling Lane (California) and Burnett and McMillan.


Nate Johnson Final

4. Utah Utes (No. 38 nationally)

The Pac-12 Conference experienced a significant "down year" in recruiting, securing only three of the nation's top 37 recruiting classes - and none in the top 15.

Utah has never been a traditional recruiting power, and this class is its second lowest-rated since 2017.

Still, it finished No. 4 in the conference - and there were a few victories.

In-state four-star linebacker Lander Barton is rated the nation's No. 4 linebacker, while Clovis quarterback Nate Johnson (California) is one of the conference's top signal-caller additions.

Going forward, Utah would like to significantly improve in-state recruiting.

The Utes landed just one of the top eight players locally.



5. Colorado Buffaloes (No. 47 nationally)

Colorado is not a familiar face in the top half of the Pac-12 recruiting rankings, but they managed to get there in 2022.

While most of the country signed smaller classes, thanks to the NCAA' s decision to grant an extra year of eligibility to student-athletes (COVID-19), Colorado put together a standard 25-man class.

Only four programs signed more than 20 prospects, and no one topped Colorado's 25.

All of its signees were three-star prospects.


Damien Martinez

Damien Martinez

6. Oregon State Beavers (No. 56 nationally)

Oregon State finished with a class that falls slightly below its 10-year national average in class ranking, and yet its placement at No. 6 in the conference is among its highest finishes ever. 

Have I mentioned it was a down recruiting year in the conference?

Oregon State signed 16 three-star prospects, highlighted by Oaks Christian edge-rusher Mathias Malaki-Donaldson (California), IMG Academy interior offensive lineman Dylan Lopez (Florida), Calvary Christian linebacker Melvin Jordan (Florida) and Lewisville running back Damien Martinez (Texas).

Overall, the Beavers landed a higher caliber three-star prospect than they did in the Gary Andersen era.

But the program would still like to end its multi-year run of classes without a composite four-star prospect (2017; wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins).


Kamari Ramsey

Kamari Ramsey

7. UCLA Bruins (No. 57 nationally)

Talk about a missed opportunity.

In a year in which Oregon, USC and Washington all experienced coaching changes, UCLA still couldn't finish with a top-50 class nationally.

So, what happened?

Well, there's good and bad news here.

UCLA signed just 11 pledges - six of them four-star prospects for a 54.5 percent blue-chip rate, which was second in the conference behind only USC. 

That's the good news - and possibly the biggest takeaway.

If UCLA can maintain a blue-chip rate at or above 50 percent, the Bruins should finish with a top-25 class in 2023. 

But the bad news is that UCLA failed to secure a commitment from any of the top 10 players in California, and secured just two of the top 20.

Sierra Canyon four-star safety Kamari Ramsey and Vista Murrieta four-star tight end Jack Pedersen are very solid pieces.

But Chip Kelly has to start winning more in-state battles.


Cameron Sidney

Cameron Sidney

8. California Golden Bears (No. 60 nationally)

After a stellar 2021 recruiting cycle in which California finished No. 3 in the Pac-12 Conference, the Golden Bears fell back to normal in 2022.

California signed a 15-man class that consisted of one bluechip prospect, Norco running back Jadyn Ott (California). 

Overall, Cal did not secure a top-25 pledge from the home state, which contributed to the mediocre finish.


Jakobus Seth

Jakobus Seth

9. Washington State Cougars (No. 61 nationally)

The Nick Rolovich vaccination drama could have been devastating to the Washington State football program - both on the field and in recruiting.

But the Cougars managed to weather the storm and put together a respectable season.

Washington State finished with 21 three-star prospects, but had an average rating per pledge that was last in the conference.

If the rest of the conference returns to normal-sized classes in 2023, the Cougars will tumble to the bottom of the pack.


Domani Jackson

Domani Jackson

10. USC Trojans (No. 65 nationally)

This ranking is wildly misleading.

Lincoln Riley signed a conference-low eight recruits and instead focused on adding key transfers into the program.

Still, USC's average rating per commit was tops in the conference and among the highest in the country.

Mater Dei defensive back Domani Jackson was the highest-rated recruit in the Pac-12 (No. 5 nationally), while his Mater Dei teammates, running back Raleek Brown and wide receiver C.J. Williams, were also major additions. 

Out-of-state addition Zion Branch, a Bishop Gorman standout safety, was another key "get" for the Trojans. 

Given a very small sample size, Riley proved USC will be a major recruiting force in the Pac-12 going forward. 


Ryan Otton

Ryan Otton

11. Washington Huskies (No. 95 nationally)

Easily the biggest head-scratcher in the conference.

Washington signed just nine prospects on its way to a class that finished barely inside the top-100 nationally. 

But given such a small class, it's unfair to look at the group purely by overall ranking.

In terms of average rating per prospect, Washington was still ninth in the Pac-12 - below Arizona, Utah, Oregon State as well as the traditional recruiting powers. 

Once again, in-state recruiting woes proved to be an issue.

The Huskies signed just one of the top five prospects in their home state - Tumwater four-star tight end Ryan Otton - and missed on five-star offensive tackle Josh Conerly (Oregon), Union All-American Bowl wide receiver Tobias Merriweather (Notre Dame), Puyallup four-star lineman Dave Iuli (Oregon) and Todd Beamer four-star offensive lineman Malik Agbo (Texas).

The silver lining?

It seems like Washington knows it has a recruiting message problem and is working to fix it.

Expect better days ahead for the Huskies. 


Jacob Newell

Jacob Newell

12. Arizona State Sun Devils (No. 103 nationally)

Arizona State's coaching staff (not-so-allegedly) cheated its way through the COVID-19 pandemic so brazenly that there was clear evidence on social media and it was a major talking point behind-the-scenes throughout the conference.

Heck, I did a radio segment on Arizona State's obvious cheating before the NCAA had even announced an investigation.

In other words, it was not subtle.

The Sun Devils paid the price this year, as multiple coaches were either fired or forced to resign, wreaking havoc on the 2022 recruiting class.

Arizona State finished last in the conference and signed just one player rated in the top 1,000 prospects.