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Wednesday, November 21, 2012
USC recruiting strong despite losses

By Blair Angulo

An underwhelming season has hardly affected USC’s recruiting efforts, as the Trojans have maintained their standing atop the new ESPN class rankings. Preseason aspirations of a BCS championship have since been deflated, but USC commits have, for the most part, stood firm.

Chris Hawkins
A disappointing season for the Trojans hasn't scared off ESPN 150 recruits likes Chris Hawkins.
Aside from the unsurprising decommitment of four-star athlete Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) earlier this month, the Trojans’ bumpy campaign has arguably helped solidify the stance of some in the nation's No. 1 recruiting class.

“I just want to see the Trojans win,” four-star cornerback commit Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) said. “We’ve been fighting hard battles. I just want to see them get back on their feet and win. It was very tough to see them lose. The defense, in particular the defensive backs, haven’t played very well. It just makes me want to get there even more. Hopefully, I can get there and help my team win games.”

Redfield, who USC has recruited as a free safety, decommitted a day after the disappointing 62-51 defeat to Oregon at the Coliseum. He attended the game, but the decision to re-open his recruitment had nothing to do the Trojans’ record.

Redfield simply wanted to give Notre Dame, Oregon, LSU and Washington clean, unbiased looks. The success of the Fighting Irish under third-year coach Brian Kelly hasn’t hurt, but it’s not entirely why Redfield has decided to weigh his options.

Apart from that, there has been minimal activity since late July when USC bagged its final commitment. Yet, that steadiness could change as the Trojans limp through the end of the regular season following a loss to rival UCLA.

USC athletic director Pat Haden has already said coach Lane Kiffin will return next year, but Trojans OL commit Nico Falah just got back from an Oregon visit and said the Ducks are "back in it."

For now, though, recruits like top-rated safety Su’a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) have embraced the thought of arriving on campus with the opportunity to make a difference. Following the 39-36 upset loss at unranked Arizona, Cravens tweeted, “If any recruit thats committed to USC wants to decommit cuz they lost leave. We trojans stick together no matter what. Were a close family!”

Perhaps this comment from four-star defensive end commit Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley) is the most common sentiment among recruits: “Keep calm and fight on!”