- Garry Paskwietz, Publisher, WeAreSC.com
Now that the 2012 class is almost in the books, the recruiting attention is ready to move full-steam ahead to the class of 2013. Many prospects are already known to USC recruiting fans, but here are five names that every fan will want to make sure to follow throughout the upcoming recruiting season.
DL Kenny Bigelow -- 6-foot-3, 280 pounds (Bear, Del./Red Lion Christian Academy)
Bigelow became the first verbal commit for the class of 2013 at USC when he was on an unofficial visit for the UCLA game in November. Bigelow was on the trip with some of his high school teammates -- including quarterback David Sills, a class of 2015 commit. When the Trojans made an offer, Bigelow talked it over with his family and quickly accepted. He was one of the stars of the Rutgers Nike Camp last year and had offers from schools such as Oklahoma, Oregon and Auburn. Bigelow -- who had 20 sacks in 2011 -- is scheduled to play defensive tackle at USC.
LB Su’a Cravens -- 6-1, 210 (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta HS)
It’s not too often that a junior beats out a good group of seniors for a prestigious award, but that’s what happened this season when Cravens won the Glenn Davis Award as the top prep player in Southern California. He’s a multi-talented player at running back and safety, although he projects at linebacker at the college level. Cravens had 96 tackles in 2011 as he led his team to a CIF title. USC originally offered as a fullback, but quickly changed its mind and made it clear they wanted him on defense. The Trojans are considered an early leader on this one.
LB Michael Hutchings -- 6-2, 210 (Concord, Calif./De La Salle HS)
When De La Salle has an elite athlete as part of their state championship team, it makes a lot of sense to recruit him. That was certainly the case in 2011, as Hutchings was one of the top defensive players on a DLS team that won its third straight California state title. Hutchings holds offers from national powers such as Oklahoma and Michigan, but he calls USC his top school followed by other Pac-12 programs such as California, UCLA, Washington and Oregon.
DB Max Redfield -- 6-2, 200 (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo)
It’s a very good year for safeties in the Los Angeles area, and Redfield seems to be the cream of the crop. With terrific size and athleticism, he has the ability to be a real enforcer at the college level. Redfield is also an excellent basketball player on one of the top teams in the area. USC got his attention with an early offer, while other schools such as UCLA, Oregon, Washington and Notre Dame have stepped into the mix.
OL Laremy Tunsil -- 6-6, 280 (Lake City, Fla./Columbia)
You can never have too many offensive linemen, and one player who has earned an early offer from the Trojans on the o-line is Tunsil. Of course, Tunsil has also attracted offers from other elite programs such as Florida (his early favorite), Florida State, Georgia and Notre Dame, so he will have his share of suitors. The talented player -- who led his school to a state title -- will compete with Robert Nkemdiche (Loganville, Ga./Grayson) for the unofficial honor of being the top lineman in the Southeast.