Top 25 California Football Recruits | Class of 2012

Top California Prep Football Recruits

Now that signing day has passed, the majority of recruits have made their decisions. As always, the state of California produced a horde of talent for the big schools to court. The 2012 class of California recruits will surely make a lasting impact on the universities they attend. There are a number of future stars to look out for.

Here are the Top 25 California Recruits in 2012.

1. Ellis McCarthy (DT, Monrovia, UCLA)

The signing of stalwart defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy demonstrates the ability of a former NFL coach like Jim Mora Jr. to attract five-star recruits. After verbally committing to Cal, McCarthy decided to stay close to home and anchor the Bruins defense.

The nation‘s top defensive tackle prospect, McCarthy was a flat out beast at Monrovia High School and is expected to be a disruptive force along the defensive line. At 6’4 311, McCarthy possesses the brute strength, athleticism and versatility that will make him a nightmare for opposing offenses to contain from day one.

2. Shaq Thompson (DB, Grant Sacramento, Washington)

A hard hitting safety with unlimited upside, Shaq Thompson is taking his talents to Washington. After making commitments to Cal and Oregon, the 6’2 210 Grant High standout felt most comfortable with the Huskies and will join former high school teammate James Sample in the Washington secondary.

Widely considered one of the top defensive backs in the nation, Thompson should make his presence known right away. With the influx of offensive coaches like Mike Leach and Rich Rodriguez in the Pac 12, the Huskies are counting on Thompson to quarterback their defense for years to come.

3. Arik Armstead (DE, Pleasant Grove, Oregon)

The Oregon Ducks landed stud defensive end Arik Armstead to bolster their defense. The 6’8 285 standout from Pleasant Grove High in Elk Grove is expected to play football and basketball for the Ducks. After initially committing to USC, Armstead grew more comfortable with Oregon coach Chip Kelly and should wreak havoc in the trenches for the Ducks.

It’s undeniable that Arik already has the physical abilities to be a dominant collegiate. Armstead was highly rated as an offensive lineman as well. With access to the Ducks state of the art facilities and top notch conditioning programs, the sky is the limit for Armstead.

4. Jordan Simmons (OL, Crespi, USC)

At 6’5 340, former Crespi offensive lineman Jordan Simmons is a mountain of a man. Simmons will continue his football career at USC and is projected to play guard. Jordan’s unique blend of size , strength and athleticism should translate well at the next level.

Rated the top player at his position, Simmons should compete for playing time immediately. With Matt Barkley returning, the Trojans will be slinging the ball all over the field and Simmons will help solidify the interior and provide a mammoth roadblock for defenders.

5. Kyle Murphy (OT, San Clemente, Stanford)

One of the most prized recruits in this year’s class, former San Clemente offensive tackle Kyle Murphy chose the Stanford Cardinal over USC. At 6’7 275, Murphy has tremendous upside and should make an immediate impact for David Shaw and the Cardinal.

Stanford caught a stroke of luck with the addition of Murphy and will be reaping the benefits for the years ahead . Already solid in pass protection, Murphy has the skill set to become an all-around stud and will be playing on Sundays someday.

6. Deontay Greenberry (WR, Washington Union, Houston)

The biggest surprise of signing day came when former Washington Union wide receiver Deontay Greenberry switched his commitment from Notre Dame to Houston. The Irish faithful were expecting Greenberry to replace future NFL first round pick Michael Floyd on the outside. At 6’3, Greenberry possesses the size and speed to be a big time playmaker.

Notre Dame’s loss is Houston’s gain. The Cougars landed one of the top receivers in the nation. Greenberry will be a nightmare for defensive backs to contain and should produce from the get go.

7. Tee Shepard (DB, Washington Union, Notre Dame)

Despite missing his senior season, defensive back Tee Shepard was a highly coveted recruit and a major addition to the Notre Dame defense. At 6’0 175, Shepard has the size and speed to compete with receivers and excellent ball skills to boot.

Shepard has enrolled early and will most likely play cornerback for the Irish. With his ball hawking instincts and extra practice time, Shepard should be an immediate contributor in the Irish secondary.

8. Erik Magnuson (OL, La Costa Canyon, Michigan)

The Michigan Wolverines landed former La Costa Canyon offensive tackle Erik Magnuson to bolster their offensive line. Coach Brady Hoke returned to the San Diego area to pluck away a promising prospect to the Big House. At 6’6 275, Magnuson has the physical tools to carry on the Michigan tradition of quality offensive lineman.

With Brady Hoke’s ability to develop lineman and Magnuson’s skill set, there is no reason Magnuson should not make an immediate impact for the Wolverines.

9. Jabari Ruffin (LB, Downey, USC)

Probably the best linebacker in the state, former Downey star Jabari Ruffin will attend USC. At 6’4 230, Ruffin brings athleticism and speed to the Trojan line backing corps. Ruffin has a lot of upside and playmaking ability.

Ruffin will greatly benefit from the Trojans off-season strength and conditioning programs and should carry on the USC tradition of dynamic linebackers.

10. Jordan Payton (WR, Oaks Christian, UCLA)

After a long and winding recruiting road, former Oaks Christian wide receiver Jordan Payton signed with UCLA. After previous commitments to Washington, Cal and USC, Payton determined that the Bruins were the best fit for his future.

At 6’2 205 with great hands and blazing speed , Payton should be an immediate contributor in the passing game. Moving forward, the future in Westwood looks very bright indeed.

11. Aziz Shittu (DE, Buhach, Stanford)

The Stanford Cardinal landed a prize recruit in stalwart defensive end Aziz Shittu. The standout pass rusher chose Stanford over USC, Cal and UCLA to the delight of folks in Palo Alto. Shittu brings explosiveness and playmaking ability to the Cardinal defense and should make an instant impact.

At 6’3 275, Shittu will be a nightmare for opposing tackles to corral. Because of his size and strength, Shittu has the versatility to play defensive tackle. Wherever he lines up, expect Shittu to wreak havoc.

12. Bryce Treggs (WR, St. John Bosco, Cal)

Speedy St. John Bosco wide receiver Bryce Treggs will play his college ball at California. The shifty Treggs will bring explosiveness and big play ability to Jeff Tedford’s offense. The addition of Treggs provides returning quarterback Zach Maynard another weapon at his disposal.

At 6’0 175, Treggs will most likely play the slot but has the versatility to play on the outside for the Bears. Expect Treggs to contribute from day one.

13. Max Tuerk (OL, Santa Margarita, USC)

The USC Trojans continue to stock pile lineman, signing former Santa Margarita offensive lineman Max Tuerk. At 6’5 290, Tuerk has the versatility to play guard or tackle. In either case, the addition of Tuerk adds needed depth to the Trojans front.

A converted tight end, it’s unclear what impact Tuerk will have next season but he certainly has the potential to be a quality lineman for Lane Kiffin in the years to come.

14. Kevon Seymour (DB, Muir, USC)

The USC secondary received quite a boost with the addition of former Muir defensive back Kevon Seymour to their 2012 class. Seymour will most likely play cornerback for the Trojans. At Muir, Seymour was explosiveness returning punts and at wide receiver.

Seymour’s ball skills and athleticism should lead to immediate playing time in the secondary. At 6’0 170 Seymour can match up physically with most wide outs and has a very bright future.

15. Zach Kline (QB, San Ramon Valley, Cal)

The Cal Bears landed top quarterback prospect Zach Kline from San Ramon Valley. At 6’2 200, Kline has the potential to be a great quarterback under the direction of Jeff Tedford. Kline possesses a cannon arm and rare leadership intangibles that should land him on the field in the near future.

Kline will compete with returning starter Zach Maynard for the starting job. Maynard has the leg up but
long term Kline may be the man to take the reigns and lead the Bears for the foreseeable future.

16. Byron Marshall (RB, Valley Christian, Oregon)

With Lamichael James leaving for the NFL, the Oregon Ducks were in need of a running back. Enter Byron Marshall. The former Valley Christian standout signed with the Ducks and should add depth to their backfield.

At 5’10 195, Marshall possesses power and speed and should blend right in with returning backs Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas. While carries may be scarce at first, Marshall has the potential to be a force in the Oregon backfield.

17. Gabriel Marks (WR, Venice, Washington St.)

New Washington State head coach Mike Leach landed a quality wide receiver when former Venice standout Gabriel Marks chose Pullman as his next destination. At 6’0 175, Marks should fit in right away in Leach’s pass happy offense.

The addition of Marks for the Cougars validates the hire of Leach. Marks adds explosiveness and game breaking ability. Expect Marks to contribute immediately and give confidence to potential recruits that Pullman is the place to be.

18. Jake Rodrigues (QB, Whitney, Oregon)

The Oregon Ducks landed former Whitney quarterback Jake Rodrigues to add depth under center. At 6’3 210, Rodrigues has dual threat capability, possessing a strong arm and mobility. Rodrigues has tremendous upside and should excel under the tutelage of Chip Kelly.

With Darron Thomas leaving early, the Oregon Ducks starting quarterback spot is up for grabs. Bryan Bennett will be the presumptive starter but Rodrigues should fuel the competition and challenge for playing time.

19. Ishmael Adams (DB, Oaks Christian, UCLA)

Jim Mora’s first recruiting class at UCLA landed another gem in defensive back Ishmael Adams. The former Oaks Christian star will join fellow teammate Jordan Payton in Westwood. At 5’10 185, Adams has the physical tools to compete with Pac 12 wide receivers.

Adams has the ability to be a shut down corner because of his coverage skills and ball hawking instincts. Expect Mora and company to coach him up and have an early impact.

20. Scott Starr (LB, Norco, USC)

The USC Trojans secured another quality prospect in former Norco linebacker Scott Starr. Already enrolled, Starr has the versatility to play multiple positions on defense. Starr possesses a high football IQ and should be hard to keep off the field.

At 6’3 230, Starr has immense potential and should carry on the great USC line backing tradition with his aggressive style and relentless play. This dude is a flat out beast.

21. Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (TE, Whitney, USC)

Former Whitney star tight end Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick is headed to USC where he will provide Matt Barkley with yet another weapon to his arsenal. At 6’5 250, Cope-Fitzpatrick is a big target with good hands and a lot of upside.

Due to the logjam at tight end, Cope-Fitzpatrick will have an uphill road to get on the field. There are a bevy of young tight ends including Xavier Grimble and Randal Telfer on the roster. With Lane Kiffin’s willingness to field the best team based on performance, Cope-Fitzpatrick will certainly have an opportunity to make his case.

22. Kyle Kelley (DE, Woodbridge, Arizona)

The best local prospect to join the Rich Rodriguez program at Arizona is former Woodbridge defensive end Kyle Kelley. At 6’3 230, Kelley can rush the passer off the edge with great success. Kelly has a high motor and good instincts.

It remains to be seen how Kelley will be used best in the 3-3-5 defense but expect him to be a solid contributor right away and for years to come.

23. Michael Barton (LB, Concord De La Salle, Cal)

Fresh off leading his team to a dominating 35-0 victory over Westlake Village in the California State Bowl Division Championship, linebacker Michael Barton is poised to make an immediate impact at the collegiate level. The Bay Area product has decided to stay close to home and attend Cal.

At 6’1 200, it seems likely that Barton will move to safety . As a three-year starter at De La Salle, Barton demonstrated uncanny football instincts, a relentless pursuit of the ball and invaluable leadership skills. Moving forward, Barton will be a vital asset for Jeff Tedford and company.

24. Jayden Mickens (WR, Dorsey, Washington)

Washington coach Steve Sarkisian returned to So Cal to snatch former Dorsey super athlete Jayden Mickens back to Seattle. At 5’9 175, Mickens possesses blazing speed and home run ability and should fit right in as a slot receiver for the Huskies.

Mickens could make a big impact in the return game as well. Adding Mickens to Keith Price and their high powered offense should reap immediate rewards for the Huskies.

25. Brandon Beaver (CB, Compton, Washington)

The Washington Huskies hit gold with the signing of former standout Compton cornerback Brandon Beaver. With the slew of explosive offenses in the Pac 12, Beaver solidifies a vital need for quality defensive backs. At 6’1 185, Beaver has the size, speed and strength to match up with the best receivers in the conference.

Beaver has the potential to contribute immediately because of his coverage and ball skills. Good cover guys are a premium and Beaver is one of the best in the bunch in this class.