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The Pac-12 Conference has struggled in recent years to keep top talent close to home.

But there are signs of improvement early in the 2023 recruiting cycle, particularly for the USC Trojans, Oregon Ducks and UCLA Bruins.

The Colorado Buffaloes are off to a hot start, but it may not be sustainable. The UCLA Bruins are off to a slow start on paper, but is likely to rise very quickly, very soon.

As for the Washington Huskies, it's still too early to say. But the early signs point to a slightly down year - unless they pick up the pace. 

Here's a look at the Pac-12's 2023 recruiting haul by the numbers (so far);

- 94.24: USC's "average rating per commit," according to 247Sports. That's No. 2 nationally

USC's recruiting class is ranked No. 10 nationally so far, but early on it's far more important to look at "average rating per commit" - ARPC - to get an idea of where teams could stack up down the road.

For example, Texas Tech and Northwestern each have top-10 nationally-ranked recruiting classes early. But the Red Raiders already have 20 commitments and the "average rating per commit"/ARPC is middle-of-the-road. Northwestern's class, while certainly an improvement over traditional years, has 14 commitments and looks more like a very solid Big Ten class, rather than an elite class nationally.

Back to USC, the Trojans have seven commitments, highlighted by three five-star recruits: quarterback Malachi Nelson (No. 2 overall), wide receiver Zachariah Branch (No. 14 overall) and athlete Makai Lemon (No. 24 overall).

A 94.24 ARPC rating is traditionally an indicator of a top-five recruiting class nationally - if the Trojans can continue to stay around that number.

- 2: Number of composite five-star signees in entire Pac-12 in the 2021 recruiting cycle

Centennial defensive end Korey Foreman (USC); Kennedy Catholic quarterback Sam Huard (Washington) 

- 2: Number of composite five-star signees in the entire Pac-12 in the 2022 recruiting cycle

Rainier Beach five-star offensive tackle Josh Conerly Jr. (Oregon); Mater Dei five-star defensive back Domani Jackson (USC) 

- 3: Number of composite five-star verbal commitments for USC in the 2023 recruiting cycle so far; 0: Number of five-star verbal commitments in the rest of the conference

USC has all three five-star commitments in the Pac-12 Conference so far.

Oregon's record for most five-star commitments in a recruiting cycle? 3 in 2020 (Justin Flowe, Noah Sewell, Dontae Manning).

USC is already recruiting at a level the Pac-12 Conference hasn't experienced in years.

Does that mean the conference belongs to the Trojans from now on? Certainly not.

But it is worthy of mention that USC already has more five-star commitments in the 2023 cycle than all non-USC schools  in the Pac-12 combined have landed in the past two-plus recruiting cycles. 

- 91.94: Oregon's "average rating per commit"/ARPC, according to 247Sports 

Oregon's recruiting class consists of five pledge and is rated No. 21 nationally, but its ARPC of 91.94 is very encouraging.

Here's Oregon's ARPC over the last five classes

2022: 90.59 (National class ranking: 13th) 

2021: 92.36 (6th)

2020: 90.19 (12th) 

2019: 90.6 (7th)

2018: 89.18 (13th) 

Oregon's current 91.94 grade among five commitments isn't inflated by a big-time five-star recruit. In fact, the Ducks' highest-rated pledge in the 247Sports composite rankings is Basha four-star cornerback Cole Martin (No. 91 overall). 

So, its ranking could be sustainable over an entire class, particularly if the Ducks find a way to secure one (or multiple) of its top targets: five-star quarterback Jaden Rashada, five-star offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor, five-star defensive lineman David Hicks, five-star edge-rusher Jayden Wayne, five-star running back Richard Young, five-star offensive tackle Samson Okunlola among others. 

If that's the case, Oregon's recruiting haul will flirt with top-10 status nationally. 

- 30 percent: Number of top-10 players in California already committed to Pac-12 schools 

The decline in the Pac-12's national relevance can be attributed to many things, but one is the conference's inability to keep top talent home.

So far in 2023, the Pac-12 has made a little bit of progress there.

Three of the top 10 players in California are committed to Pac-12 schools. USC has the aforementioned Nelson and Lemon, while Oregon secured the commitment of Valley Christian wide receiver Jurrion Dickey.

Two of the top 10 have already committed to leaving the state - Long Beach Poly quarterback Nicholaus Iamaleava (Tennessee) and De La Salle tight end Cooper Flanagan (Notre Dame). 

That means five of California's top players remain undecided.

How those recruitments shake out could play a big role in whether or not the Pac-12 Conference views its recruiting efforts as "improving" or "floundering." 

- No. 2 in Pac-12 Conference belongs to Colorado, but it won't last  

Colorado is leading the way with 10 commitments in the Pac-12, which gives them the No. 2 class in the conference and the No. 13 class nationally.

But it won't last.

Last year, Colorado finished with the nation's No. 47 class with an ARPC of 85.27.

So far, the 2023 class has an ARPC of 85.29.

That's remarkably similar, meaning the Buffaloes are likely to finish in the 40's again this cycle. 

- UCLA is 8th, but a climb is imminent 

There are significant rumblings of marked improvement in UCLA's approach on the recruiting trail early in the 2023 cycle, and while that doesn't currently show, it may in a matter of days.

UCLA is the heavy favorite for both Lincoln four-star running back Roderick Robinson II, the top back in California, and Mater Dei Catholic four-star prospect Tre Edwards, the nation's No. 6 inside linebacker.

If the Bruins land both of those players, they'll leapfrog multiple schools to the No. 4 spot in the Pac-12 Conference.

The Bruins are in a talent-rich area and appear to be improving their approach.

That should lead to better results in 2023 than in 2022, when UCLA finished No. 57 nationally

- 1 commitment; Arizona State's recruiting class

Amid rampant recruiting violations last year, Arizona State's recruiting class tumbled to last-place in the Pac-12 Conference.

The hangover effect is real.

The Sun Devils' class is again last early this year with just one commitment.

Currently, there's a (fair) perception that Arizona State has been a mess lately - on the field and off of it.

If Arizona State returns to relative normalcy this fall and is competitive in the Pac-12 there's a chance they climb the rankings significantly.

So far, however, it has been very tough sledding.

- 0.75: Jump in "average rating per recruit" for Washington so far between the 2022 and 2023 classes

Lat year, Washington signed just 10 commitments and finished 11th in the Pac-12 Conference. The "average rating per commit" for the class was 85.75, good for 9th in the Pac-12. 

This year, Washington is 5th in the Pac-12 Conference in the traditional class rankings, but 8th in the early ARPC calculations (86.50) with four pledges. 

If Washington were to finish with an 86.50 ARPC for the class, it would be a profound disappointment.

Here's a look at Washington's previous "average rating per commit" numbers.

2021: 88.03

2020: 88.23

2019: 90.10

2018: 90.21

It's still way too early to say whether or not the Huskies have improved in that metic, as one or two big-time pledges could shift the number dramatically. 

Still, given that they are certain to sign more than 10 recruits this year, the Huskies should improve upon last year's 11th-place finish.