USC Trojans: Football Recruiting

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A flurry of commitments and decommitments has led to considerable movement in the latest class rankings update. Several top-10 programs added ESPN 300 prospects, including Tennessee, which picked up top-10 ILB Darrin Kirkland Jr. The Vols already have a class that features a talented group of defensive linemen, and have now added a big, powerful inside linebacker that can develop into a tough downhill run-stopper. Butch Jones now has Tennessee in contention for a second-straight top-five finish.

Outside the top 10, USC landed a verbal from in-state tight end Tyler Petite, a tall, lengthy prospect with the size, speed and leaping ability to potentially create mismatches as a receiving target at the position. After landing the former Duke commit, USC's class features eight ESPN 300 prospects.

Ole Miss also saw a move up in the rankings with a pair of additions. The Rebels landed ESPN Junior College 50 QB Chad Kelly, a player who is physically gifted enough to be a strong candidate to replace QB Bo Wallace, a one-time junior college transfer himself. Ole Miss, who not sits at No. 17, also landed ESPN 300 OT Michael Howard. He is a lean OL prospect that needs to fill out, but is an athletic and tenacious player and with development could end up being a real strong pick-up out of Florida for the Rebels.

Inside the rankings

Coach Art Briles has had two very distinct luxuries when it comes to recruiting in today's complicated landscape -- recruiting in the shadows and recruiting without pressure. Both are actually in many ways, one in the same. As Briles has built this program, he's been able to do it his way without public pressure or booster interference because early on, nobody thought it could be done and nobody cared.

This staff was able to go after who they wanted, on their own timetable and without much scrutiny. In today's recruiting world, that's a huge luxury. Players like Levi Norwood, Antwan Goodley or Tevin Reese, who was a late qualifier, were all bypassed by other Power 5 programs, but nobody even noticed Baylor signed them or griped, "who are these guys" on signing day.

As a result, prospects like these were brought along at a normal pace and developed properly by the coaching staff. Redshirting the bulk of the classes for the first few years has also been huge for the Bears. The challenge going forward will be dealing with increased program exposure and expectation level which almost always brings with it increased recruiting scrutiny from boosters and fans alike. But the Bears don??t need to change a thing.



To see the full class rankings, click here.

USC Trojans weekend recruiting visits 

December, 10, 2014
Dec 10
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After two big recruiting weekends in a row, the USC Trojans are set to host yet another strong collection of Class of 2015 official visitors this coming Friday through Sunday. And while there is a good chance some more names will be added to the list in the next couple days, here are the three prospects we’re hearing will make the trip at this point:

USC Trojans recruiting notebook 

October, 13, 2014
Oct 13
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Sidelined since the end of the 2013 season after injuring his knee and undergoing surgery, ESPN 300 defensive tackle and USC commit Jacob Daniel made his highly anticipated return to action this past Friday night, helping his Fresno (Calif.) Clovis North team take down Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West 32-0.

Moving well and showing no obvious lingering effects from his injury, the 6-foot-4, 320-pound Daniel made his presence felt right from the get-go when he recorded a sack on his very first series.

[+] EnlargeJacob Daniel
Johnny Curren/ESPNUSC defensive line commit Jacob Daniel made his season debut last Friday and says he's "100 percent Trojan."
“It just felt good to see all of my hard work come together,” said Daniel, who was presented with his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey one day prior to his 2014 debut. “I’ve worked so hard coming back from surgery, and it just felt good for all of that to pay off and to actually have a pretty productive night.”

Daniel, who committed to the Trojans in May, had an opportunity to travel down to Los Angeles Oct. 4 to see USC take on Arizona State. And while Steve Sarkisian’s squad ultimately came out on the losing end in that contest, the unofficial visit still left a positive impression on him.


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When the USC Trojans scrimmaged in the Coliseum last week, there was a notable sideline visitor in highly ranked cornerback Iman “Biggie” Marshall.


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Nearly 90 recruits -- including 10 ESPN 300 prospects -- made commitments to the Pac-12 since the start of June, as the conference recruiting race heated up alongside the weather this summer. Not surpisingly, even with the boon over the past two and a half months, the Pac-12 still lags behind other conferences when it comes to sheer commitment numbers. Many Pac-12 programs have become content to wait until the season, or after the season, to put an emphasis on official visits and commitments. At this point, 35 programs hold commitments from 16 or more recruits, and only one of those -- Arizona -- resides in the Pac-12.


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ESPN 300 wide receiver Tristan Payton gave a verbal commitment on Friday to the USC Trojans.



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USC scored a big get following Day 2 of fall camp on Tuesday as Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola Class of 2015 defensive end Christian Rector verbally committed to the Trojans.


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Steve Sarkisian added some intrigue to the future of USC's quarterback recruiting last week with a pair of offers to Class of 2016 prospects Shea Patterson and K.J. Costello.

 It may seem a little early to be jockeying for position with players who haven’t started their junior years of high school yet, but that’s not the case in the current world of quarterback recruiting. This process seems to move up every year.

Sarkisian had already extended one offer earlier in this spring to Malik Henry, the No. 2-ranked player in the ESPN Junior 300. Henry, a terrific athlete at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, has received interest from schools such as UCLA, Texas, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Florida State.


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The tailback recruiting picture got a little clearer for the USC Trojans on Monday night with the verbal commitment from Aca'Cedric Ware.

USC coach Steve Sarkisian had stated at the beginning of the recruiting cycle for the Class of 2015 that he would be looking to take two tailbacks, and that was before the transfer of Ty Isaac at the end of spring ball. With only one underclass scholarship tailback on the roster (Justin Davis), there was a definite need at the spot and it figured the Trojans would have their pick of players to choose from.


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The Trojans scored a big get on Monday night when Cedar Hill (Texas) Class of 2015 running back Aca'Cedric Ware committed to USC. The Trojans, who likely need two tailbacks in this class, just lost out on Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany's Dominic Davis to Washington State last weekl. There simply aren’t a lot of prospects at the position on USC’s radar, so Ware’s commitment is significant.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound ball carrier attended the Rising Stars camp earlier this summer, and he obviously impressed enough for the Trojans staff to continue in their pursuit of him. Ware rushed for 1,289 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013, and he averaged 9.27 yards per carry. He chose USC over Iowa, Notre Dame and Ohio State, and he becomes the 13th commitment for Trojans from the Class of 2015.

Steve Sarkisian and the USC Trojans received a verbal commitment on Saturday from ESPN Junior 300 athlete Daelin Hayes.


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Mission Hills (California) Bishop Alemany wide receiver Desean Holmes gave the USC Trojans a commitment on Monday.


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HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- The Battle of the Beach passing tournament was held Saturday at Huntington Beach Edison High School with a loaded field that included plenty of USC recruits.

One of the bigger highlights was the opportunity to watch two of the top 2016 quarterbacks in Malik Henry and K.J. Costello. Henry has a USC offer and was recently named the No. 2 prospect in the 2016 ESPN Junior 300, while Costello checked in at No. 61 on that list. The two had a chance to match up in the quarterfinals at the event, with Costello leading his Santa Margarita team to a victory over Henry and Westlake.


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The Opening Wednesday recap 

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- It was a full day of on-field work as the linemen put on pads and the skill players were divided into teams for the start of 7-on-7 pool play.

Here's a rundown of some of the USC recruits in action:

  • WR Christian Kirk: I would say Kirk was as good as any player I saw today who wasn't named Calvin Ridley. Kirk had multiple touchdowns during the day from the slot, including a pair down the middle where he simply split the defense and outran everybody to the end zone. The common speculation among the recruiting media is that this one is a USC-Texas A&M recruiting battle, and whoever lands Kirk is getting a good one.

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WeAreSC The Opening notebook 

July, 8, 2014
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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The first day of The Opening was highlighted by a commitment for the Trojans from Isaiah Langley (Pleasanton, California/Foothill), the No. 7-rated athlete in the ESPN 300 rankings. Langley (6-foot, 164 pounds) is a versatile receiver/corner who will focus on the defensive side of the ball for the Trojans. With good height and long arms to go along with solid coverage skills, Langley is the latest example of USC coach Steve Sarkisian's efforts to upgrade the cornerback spot.

"I'm a lockdown corner," Langley said. "I can bring some kind of physicality, but for the most part I'm a coverage guy."


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