The USC Trojans held steady at No. 18 in the newest ESPN team football recruiting rankings released Thursday. As expected, the biggest mover in the rankings was California, jumping into the top 10 at No. 8 and to the top of the Pac-12.
USC checks in as the No. 2 team in the Pac-12, just ahead of Stanford (No. 19) and Oregon (No. 21).
The Trojans have fewer verbal commitments than any team in the top 25, but could be poised to make a run up the rankings in the coming weeks, as they could be in the mix for some of the country's top recruits between now and signing day. While USC has a shot to catch California, especially with defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif./Monrovia) still a top target for both schools, Alabama may have separated itself from the pack in terms of the top spot.
It will be difficult for the Trojans to rank highly in the various recruiting class rankings, as a reduction of 10 scholarships will certainly cut into the impressive haul this coaching staff is capable of securing. Still, USC is in position to grab a class that ranks in the top 15 in the nation and could even jump into the top 10 if things break right during the big upcoming recruiting weekends.
With 12 total commitments, USC has just a handful of spots left in the 2012 recruiting class as the Trojans coaches look to make the most of the scholarship reductions over the next three years.