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 first week of July…

Arizona: Former Wildcats Scooby Wright, Lorenzo Burns celebrate second straight USFL title

And in Wright’s case, we really mean celebrate.

This is the second consecutive title for the former Cats, who’ve seen their NFL dreams go by but are still vying for football glory. Wright, the 2014 Pac-12 defensive player of the year, was hampered by injuries this season. Last year, he had a pick six in the fourth quarter of the championship game for the go-ahead score.

Arizona State: Sun Devils continue to shore up secondary.

Independence Day provided quite the fireworks show for Arizona State on Tuesday, as the Sun Devils gained commitments from 3-star cornerback Chris Johnson Jr. and unranked safety Martell Hughes.

Addressing a woeful pass defense has been a primary goal of the new Arizona State staff, and they’re doing so through the high school recruiting ranks.

The commitments of the two newest DBs gives the Sun Devils 4 DB commits this recruiting cycle.

Cal: Justin Wilcox drops in CBS’ Pac-12 coaches ranking list

Cal had coach Justin Wilcox has a crucial year in front of him as the Bears chase their first winning season since 2019.

But CBS is not optimistic that Wilcox can right the ship.

After ranking Wilcox as the 6th-best Pac-12 coach last year, they bumped him down to 9th this year, and intimated that a losing season might spell an end to his Cal tenure. His contract might be a little fat for that to happen, but the Bears can’t afford to wait around too long.

Colorado: Coach Prime claps back once more

When are Pac-12 coaches going to learn not to speak on Deion Sanders?

An anonymous conference assistant coach told Athlon Sports that Colorado is in a predicament with its new head coach.

“It feels like a lose-lose for Colorado with Prime,” the anonymous Pac-12 coach said. “Either he’s gonna be really good really fast and leave for another gig, which, looking at that roster doesn’t seem possible. The alternative is that they’re gonna be bad, and they’ll end up firing him in a big circus. It’s all hard to tell. It’s hard to separate the hype from reality. They’re in on the portal, but they’re also preaching this old-school, ‘work hard to earn everything’ mentality to their roster.”

Coach Prime took to Instagram to respond to the comments with what is becoming a common refrain.

“This is the Dumbest thing I’ve almost ever seen and the Only reason I said almost is because I’m giving y’all time to top this stupidity. ‘We Coming’ and u know it. Love ‘Him’ !!!!”

Oregon: Ducks new offensive line coach blazing the recruiting trail

The Ducks had one of the top offensive lines in the country last year under former offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, who became the New England Patriots’ offensive line coach in January. Oregon’s line allowed just 5 sacks all season and ranked as one of the top running games in the country.

While it remains to be seen if the Ducks can perform the way they did on the field last year under 1st-year head coach A’Lique Terry, he is certainly on fire on the recruiting trail.

His last oral commitment, from 6-foot-8, 365-pound offensive tackle JacQawn McRoy was particularly sweet. Pulling Alabama’s top offensive lineman, right from the heart of SEC country? He’s the Ducks’ 4th 3- or 4-star recruit so far this cycle.

Oregon State: Is Beavers impressive QB room scaring recruits away?

Oregon State’s quarterback room got a major infusion of talent over the last 8 months with the transfer of former Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei and the arrival of freshman Aiden Chiles, who had a great Spring Game showing. They joined a roster that already included incumbent starter Ben Gulbranson, who guided the Beavers to a 7-1 record as starter and a Las Vegas Bowl beatdown of Florida.

But while Jonathan Smith has a pretty full cupboard, the 2024 class is shaping up as a rough one for OSU. Three of the Beavers remaining QB targets — EJ Caminong, Dermaricus Davis and Ryland Jessee — have each committed to other teams in recent days, with Caminong and Davis going to other Pac-12 schools in Cal and Washington, respectively.

Stanford: Can Cardinal keep the summer momentum going?

After an incredibly fruitful June saw Stanford secure the commitments of a stunning 23 3- and 4-star athletes in one month, the Cardinal have crashed the top-15 in 247Sports’ national team recruiting rankings.

What do Troy Taylor and new staff have cooking for July?

More than just hot dogs and hamburgers. The Cardinal are in the running for several top prospects, including Utah 4-star lineman Isaiah Garcia (more on him later). If Stanford can pull either Garcia or 4-star Connecticut defensive lineman Benedicut Umeh, it’s shaping up to be another good month.

UCLA: Move over, Bazooka Joe

The Bruins just got a rather colorful commitment 3/4-star running back Cameron Jones on Sunday, and he chose a rather interesting pose his announcement.

Call him…Bazooka Jones?

Jones is a big get for the Bruins for multiple reasons.

Not only is he a talented back, but he hails from local powerhouse St. John Bosco, and pulling prime recruits out of Bosco is a must for UCLA.

USC: Calen Bullock getting major attention

In a conference full of some highly regarded safeties, no one is getting more preseason pub than USC safety Calen Bullock.

Then again, its no surprise Bullock is feeling the love from Pro Football Focus — he was a PFF first-team All-American last year.

His maturation will be key for the Trojans this year. If his leadership can match his play, the USC defense is going to take a much-needed step forward. Of course another 5 interceptions would help.

Utah: Utes in the hunt for home-state 4-star lineman

Kyle Whittingham has traditionally had good success getting commitments from Utah’s top players, but he’s in a dogfight for one big one.

The Utes could get a big summer boost from 4-star offensive lineman Isaiah Garcia from Corner Canyon, if they can pry him from the likes of Oregon, USC and Stanford. The Cardinal seem like the curveball here.

Utah already has a commitment from the 2nd highest-rated recruit in the class, Garcia’s Corner Canyon teammate Isaac Wilson, but a pledge from his new teammate would be nice. Last year, the Utes signed 3 of Utah’s top 4 playrs, including 4-stars Spencer Fano, Hunter Clegg and Smth Snowden.

Washington: Can Kalen DeBoer keep up the momentum?

In the span of about one week in late June, Washington’s 2024 recruiting class ballooned from 1 commit to 12, including 3 more 4-star recruits.

Perhaps most importantly, Kalen DeBoer and Co. continue to make inroads in California. The former Fresno State has now secured commitments from 8 Cali kids, two-thirds of the class. That is in addition to the 13 Golden State products the Huskies signed last season.

Perhaps the biggest recruit so far from the state is 3-star quarterback Davis, who committed to the Huskies over the Beavers, among others.

Washington State: Cougars lagging on the recruiting trail

Here’s a scary statistic for Cougar fans: Washington State is still seeking its first 4-star recruit of the Jake Dickert era. In fact, you’d have to go back to 2018 for the last time Wazzu signed even a single 4-star.

That’s a big reason the Cougars have ranked around 70th in national recruiting over the last few years, with the Class of 2024 ranked 68th at the moment.