- Garry Paskwietz, Publisher, WeAreSC.com
So, how was your Wednesday?
If you’re a fan of USC recruiting, my guess is it was a pretty good day.
My day started at Cathedral High School to watch a camp that featured USC class of 2015 verbal commit quarterback David Sills (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy). It’s always good to get a chance to catch Sills in action whenever he comes to California to judge the progress he is making as a player.
When the camp was completed, Sills said he expected a decision soon from his offensive line teammate, Khaliel Rodgers. Little did he know that the decision would come very soon, as in just a few hours later.
Rodgers was known to be close to a decision between USC and Auburn, but it seemed that he could go either way. He had long wanted to be a Trojan to join Sills and Kenny Bigelow, but during the time that USC didn’t offer, he found another school he clearly liked in Auburn.
When Rodgers announced for the Trojans on Wednesday afternoon it caused a huge stir on the USC message boards. Not only was it a solid signing for the Trojans but Nico Falah (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) was scheduled to announce later in the day, so this was now shaping up to potentially be an outstanding day for the future of the Trojans offensive line.
As expected, Falah committed to the Trojans and -- if that had been it for the day -- it would have been just fine with USC fans. It’s always a good thing when you can solidify your offensive line class, especially when it happens in the course of a single day.
As we all learned, however, the day wasn’t over.
First there was a Twitter post update from the top-ranked cornerback in the ESPN rankings -- Vernon Hargreaves III from Tampa (Fla.) Wharton -- who had visited the USC campus Wednesday. His update said “USC = Perfect” and later in the day he announced the Trojans as his top school.
Maybe that move of the Trojans to the top of the list was a bit of post-trip enthusiasm, maybe it was more than that. I don’t think we really know yet. But Hargeaves doesn’t seem like a guy who is playing around with the recruiting process so -- at the very least -- it has to be considered a positive sign in terms of the Trojans having a chance to sign him.
The biggest news came at the end of the day. In fact, very late in the day around 11 p.m. PT, when the reports came that defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes from Auburn (Calif.) Placer had given a verbal commit to the Trojans.
This was the cherry on the Wednesday sundae. Vanderdoes is the top-rated defensive tackle in the West, according to the ESPN rankings, and his fiery on-field persona and athletic skills should fit perfectly in the middle of the Trojans defensive line. With the interior of the defensive line a major priority in this class, it also gives Ed Orgeron a pair of talented commits as Vanderdoes joins Bigelow to form a strong defensive tackle duo.
This one was truly unexpected, at least the timing of it. The Trojans had seemed to be gaining ground on the Oregon Ducks and his recent reports from The Opening had indicated that USC had a “great” shot to land him. He was known to be making an unofficial visit to USC later in the month so the thinking was that the trip would be critical to helping with his choice. Apparently Vanderdoes had seen all he needed to see, though, and he committed to joining the USC class.
It was an absolutely fantastic day for USC fans as the number of verbal commitments climbed to 14 for the Class of 2013 along with the possibility of a major out-of-state prospect to potentially add to the class. The scouts at ESPN RecruitingNation noticed too, as when the updated class rankings came out on Thursday morning the Trojans' class had been moved to the No. 2 spot overall. Not bad for a school currently in the middle of NCAA sanctions.
5dChantel Jennings and Kevin Gemmell