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West Spotlight: Five most contested recruiting battles

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Official visit season is right around the corner, and while many recruitments are winding down a host of others are becoming more contested by the day. Here is a closer look at the five most contested recruiting battles happening in the West.

THIS SERIES: Five most contested recruiting battles in the Midwest | Mid-South

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Contenders: USC, Oregon, Miami, Michigan State, UCLA, Michigan, Texas

After an early commitment to USC, the Long Beach (Calif.) Poly four-star linebacker backed off that pledge in the fall but the Trojans are definitely still a contender in his recruitment, although it feels like a long shot now.

Oregon should also be watched because of Williams’ relationship with that coaching staff. He’s coming off a very good visit to UCLA, where he hit it off with position coach Ken Norton, Jr., and then the four-star is expected back at Michigan State this weekend. Michigan and Texas are also involved, along with numerous SEC schools, where it has felt he’s wanted to play. In addition, Miami has especially recently made a big impact on him. With many top prospects making decisions, it actually feels like Williams’ group of contenders is getting bigger, not smaller.

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Contenders: Stanford, USC

After Oregon landed commitments from quarterbacks Michael Van Buren and Luke Moga, it looks like the Ducks are all set at the position, but that doesn’t mean Brown’s recruitment won’t end up being a Pac-12 battle as well.

There are some major SEC schools involved, but this very much looks to be a Stanford vs. USC situation, and the Cardinal might have the edge. The academics at Stanford, mixed with a new pass-happy offense, provide intrigue. USC missed on some elite local talent in Dylan Raiola and others, but Brown remains a very real option.

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Contenders: USC, Oregon, Texas, Cal

On New Year’s Eve, the four-star athlete from Long Beach (Calif.) Millikan released a top 10, but there have been many changes since that time with one major program entering the fray in USC.

The Trojans and Oregon look to be battling it out for Pellum, who is an excellent wide receiver and defensive back, and while he’s had a steadier recruitment with the Ducks (and a great visit there in April), the Trojans have really stepped it up recently. Both schools, along with Texas, and others are in the mix.

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Contenders: USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State

The hard-hitting four-star linebacker from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco has three finalists, and a summer decision is expected after one final round of visits. The feeling is that the Irish and the Buckeyes hold the edge for Viliamu-Asa as he has deep connections with both coaching staffs and the allure of playing at those programs is definitely high. But there is also a certain appeal to stay home and play for the upstart Trojans.

Whichever decision Viliamu-Asa makes, he’s planning to announce it before the start of his senior season.

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Contenders: Oregon, USC, Nebraska, Miami, Ohio State, Texas, Georgia

The more Baker takes visits around the country the longer his list of favorites seems to get, but the stalwart program through it all for the four-star offensive lineman from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei has been Oregon. The Ducks have been involved with Baker for a long time, and they should be considered the favorite.

USC is never going to give up on a local talent such as Baker and there is an outside shot Baker could also go national and pick one of his other favorites as well.

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