Welcome back for this week’s Gold Nuggets, Saturday Out West columnist Jon Gold’s weekly trip around the Pac-12.

Read below for news, notes and quotes from the second week of July…

Arizona: Elijah Rushing rewrites what’s possible for Wildcats

Terrific column out of new Arizona Daily Star columnist Michael Lev on the significance of Elijah Rushing’s announcement, as the Salpointe Catholic edge is now the top commitment in program history.

Lev caught up with Rushing’s mother to discuss her son’s decision.

“He really feels a strong pull in his heart to build something here at home, the place where he was raised, where he became the person that he is,” Trisha Rushing told Lev. “He just has such a love and affinity for his city. There was just really a tug on his heart that he just couldn’t ignore.”

Arizona State: QB Trenton Bourguet ready to build an empire

One of the significant early steps that Kenny Dillingham took after he assumed the head coach position at Arizona State was naming Trenton Bourguet the starter for spring ball. That happened on Dec. 22, less than a month after Dillingham got the gig and weeks after Bourguet decided to return to ASU for his redshirt senior season after replacing starter Emory Jones and passing for 1,490 yards, 11 touchdowns and 6 interceptions with a 71.4% completion percentage.

“Some people are surprised I’m returning,” he told the State of the Sun Devils podcast last week. “There was never a doubt in my mind I wouldn’t be coming back.”

The former walk-on performed well in the spring against a pair of transfers in former Notre Dame quarterback Drew Pyne and former BYU quarterback Jacob Conover, as well as heralded freshman recruit Jaden Rashada. Deciding on his starting quarterback will be Dillingham’s primary goal in the fall, but Bourguet sounds like he’s all in however it unfolds.

“I think Arizona State is a great place to be a quarterback and definitely an empire starting to be built under coach (Kenny) Dillingham, and I’m excited to be a part of that,” he said.

Cal: Bears gain a talented battery

Four years removed from its most recent winning season, Cal is 3 recruiting classes removed from the last group that moved the needle in any fashion.

That’s why Rahshawn Clark’s commitment to the Bears this week is so significant. Clark is Cal’s 1st 4-star commitment, giving the Bears an impressive battery from Seattle’s Garfield High, as he is slated to join teammate EJ Caminong, the country’s No. 26 quarterback.

Those foundational pieces should help Justin Wilcox put together a bounce-back class. Cal hasn’t had more than 1 4-star recruit since 2021.

Colorado: Coach Prime back in familiar kicks

Look, you give me Dennis Hooper and Coach Prime in his prime, and I’m a happy man.

But not as happy as Deion Sanders to be back with Nike, which has a long-standing partnership with Colorado. Coach Prime had been decked out in Under Armour for more than a decade, after his original divorce from the Oregon-based sports behemoth. The former Falcons, 49ers and Cowboys legend had a long relationship with Nike, but he felt jilted by not being given a share of the profits. He even vowed never to work with them again.

Well, judging by his smile below, he’s plenty happy now.

Oregon: Traeshon Holden a sleeper for Ducks

Troy Franklin had a far greater share of Oregon’s receiving production than did any of his competitors for preseason all-conference, so it may be easy to dismiss the Ducks as a 1-man band.

But are we sleeping on Traeshon Holden? Miles Dwyer of Ducks Wire thinks so. He wrote:

With so many new receivers coming into the Oregon football program, it seems to me that Traeshon Holden hasn’t gotten enough credit. Headed into 2023, the conversation around the core wideouts has centered on Troy Franklin, Kris Hutson, and Tez Johnson. While I think those three receivers will be the top three wideouts for Bo Nix and offensive coordinator Will Stein this season, I think the potential impact of Holden is being underestimated.

Oregon State: Beavers go back-to-back

Despite boasting perhaps the best corps in the Pac-12, Oregon State just keeps adding future Beaver backs.

Brandon Dullis, a 3-star prospect and the 113th-ranked running back in the nation, became the 2nd player at his position to commit to Jonathan Smith, joining fellow Texas-bred back Makhi Frazier as they vow to become the next Beaver Lonestar legend. Following in the footsteps of Corvallis hero Jacquizz Rodgers and current star Damien Martinez, Dullis, who hails from Frisco, joins a lofty lineage.

The problem is he joins one crowded running backs room.

In addition to Martinez, Oregon State already 2 talented backups in Jam Griffin and Deshaun Fenwick. The more, the merrier, it seems.

Stanford: Cardinal continuing to rule on the recruiting trail

If it stands, Stanford’s No. 13 rating for its 2024 class would go down as its best class since 2014. And considering the Cardinal continue to pile up high-profile prospects, including 4-star defensive lineman Benedict Umeh, Stanford’s latest commit, there’s no reason to think Troy Taylor is going to slow down any time soon.

Umeh is Stanford’s 28th commit of the cycle, but perhaps most importantly its the team’s 11th offensive or defensive lineman, meaning Taylor and Co. are getting back to doing what made the Cardinal successful.

Stanford used to be imposing on both sides of the of scrimmage. Can Taylor bring that swagger back?

UCLA: Bruins’ new safety thankful for all-out blitz

In addition to the fit, the scheme and the wide-open opportunity, new UCLA safety Jordan Anderson told Bruin Report Online’s estimable David Woods that the team’s full-court press most attracted him to Westwood.

“The whole coaching staff hit me up the first day I got in the portal,” the former Bowling Green safety told Woods. “It kind of gave me insight that they must really want me.”

They don’t just want him, but need him, to help fill the spot vacated by former starter Stephan Blaylock.

USC: Trojans may have secured their tight end of the future

There was a strong chance that 2-sport star Duce Robinson would be drafted in the top-10 rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft this week.

Alas, the Trojans 5-star tight end recruit appears headed to Heritage Hall to team up with Caleb Williams for at least 1 season. Robinson is the top-rated tight end in the country and figures to see at least some time behind talented tight end Lake McRee.

Utah: New 4-star wideout commit credits QB’s commitment

Much like the Cal commitment connection of Clark and QB Caminong, Utah’s latest verbal — 4-star wide receiver David Washington — called out his quarterback-to-be after announcing his commitment. Like Caminong-to-Clark, Isaac Wilson-to-Washington has quite the ring to it as well.

“I’m really excited about my role on the field and about being developed,” Washington told 247Sports’ Blair Angulo. “I know this team can build me into a Pac-12 leading receiver, so I’m looking forward to coming in and learning from guys that have done it. Being in the same class as Isaac Wilson is great and we are going to get something going.”

The Utes needed this recruit — they’ve still got fewer than 10 in this cycle.

Washington: Owen Coutts catching on with Huskies

Here’s a nice story out of Seattle, where Owen Coutts is hoping to make a name for himself despite Washington’s absolutely loaded wide receivers room. Inside the Huskies’ Dan Raley reports that Coutts was diagnosed with a rare heart condition that prevented him from playing while Jimmy Lake was the UW coach. After an initial negative diagnosis, it took plenty of testing to prove he was in no danger by pursuing a college football career.

Now Coutts will attempt to play his first regular-season football game since 2017.

“It’s been a little bit longer of a journey than I would have liked,” Coutts told Raley. “I was able to play only two years of football in high school. … It’s been a long journey to get where I am, but I feel everything happens for a reason.”

Washington State: Can Cougars defy expectations once again?

Fascinating tidbit from CougFanCenter’s Barry Bolton:

THE COUGS WILL be favored on the road in the opener but Washington State usually sees the shoe on their other foot. But the Cougs have done better in that area than anyone else. Indeed, Wazzu is the most underrated team in the nation over the past 30-plus years, according to longtime college football site stassen.com.

Stassen compares preseason rankings vs. the final AP Poll and when you add it all up — from 1989-2022 — Washington State is the nation’s most underrated college football team.

Utah is the second-most underrated team, followed by Boise State, Cincinnati and Kansas State to round out the top 5. Oregon checks in at No. 9 on the list over underrated teams, while Oregon State is 13th.

Given the fact that I have Wazzu pegged for 8th this year, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised.