It’s become apparent at this point that the USC coaches would prefer to add a second cornerback in this class.
One of the realities of the scholarship reductions is that there will be certain positions where tough choices will have to be made -- the coaches may want to add a player for depth purposes but have to weigh the importance of the choice against the limited scholarships available.
The ability to bring in a second corner in this class was one of those decisions. There was a pretty good sense all along that Kevon Seymour (Pasadena, Calif./Muir) was a solid lean to the Trojans and it would have been understandable if the coaches had decided to place all of their eggs in that basket.
However, the coaches have continued to pursue several other corners even after Seymour committed during the Army game.
Davonte Neal (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) has been a prime target for a long time as a multi-talented athlete, but USC's interest has consistently been at corner. Neal kept a long list of schools under consideration for the majority of the recruiting period and USC was always one of the schools on that list. He only has one official visit left at this point and while USC is in the mix for it, it doesn’t appear as if the Trojans are in good shape on this one.
There was also a strong run made at Tee Shepard (Fresno, Calif./Washington Union) even though Shepard was a long-time verbal commit to Notre Dame. The USC coaches got him on campus for an official visit in December and made their pitch, but it fell short and Shepard re-confirmed his commitment to the Irish.
The Trojans also made a push for the top-ranked corner in the country in Tracy Howard (Miramar, Fl./Miramar) and got him to Los Angeles for an official visit last weekend. Howard enjoyed the trip, had some good conversations with Monte Kiffin, then got home and said USC was too far.
Now the news comes out on Wednesday that USC is talking about a potential visit from Oregon State commit Cleveland Wallace (San Jose/Oak Grove). The Trojans coaches have asked Wallace to hold open the weekend of Jan. 27 for an official and -- with the recent departure of Beavers DB coach Keith Heyward to Washington -- Wallace is open to listening to what USC has to say.
With its continued pursuit of other corners, even after the verbal commit from Seymour, it’s pretty clear at this point about the intentions of the USC staff. It wants to add a second corner. It remains to be seen if that will actually happen on signing day, but it’s definitely something to pay attention to over the next two weeks.