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Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Signing day primer: USC

By Blair Angulo

Team needs: With all-conference cornerback Nickell Robey declaring for the NFL draft and the graduation of safeties T.J. McDonald, Jawanza Starling and Drew McAllister, adding depth in the secondary is a pressing need for the Trojans. Given Matt Barkley’s departure, it was imperative that USC sign another quarterback to pair with Max Wittek and Cody Kessler.

Help is on the way: The Trojans already have No. 1 safety Su’a Cravens, No. 3 safety Leon McQuay III, No. 11 cornerback Chris Hawkins and No. 2 quarterback Max Browne on campus as early enrollees. The group should gain valuable experience during spring practice.

Other key commits: No. 4 cornerback Jalen Ramsey figures to step in right away, while No. 3 defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow adds versatility inside in new defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast’s 3-4 scheme. No. 4 outside linebacker Michael Hutchings brings big-hitting ability, and No. 11 receiver Steven Mitchell has plans to contribute immediately.

Other key targets: USC is still in on former commit Eddie Vanderdoes -- a newly minted five-star prospect and No. 1 defensive tackle -- but so are the likes of UCLA, Alabama, Notre Dame and Washington. No. 8 defensive end Kylie Fitts might be another possibility if he decides holding off enrollment is worth it. No. 6 outside linebacker Quinton Powell has ties to current USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams.