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Friday, February 15, 2013
WeAreSC recruiting mailbag

By Blair Angulo

WeAreSC recruiting reporter Blair Angulo answers reader questions in his mailbag every Friday. Have a USC recruiting question of your own? Submit it via Twitter @bangulo or @WeAreSCstaff.

Via Twitter (@USC86): What prevented Darreus Rogers from playing last year?

Darreus Rogers
Darreus Rogers took a grayshirt in the 2012 season.
WeAreSC: Rogers did not immediately meet academic requirements, forcing him to grayshirt and instead enroll in early January. USC coach Lane Kiffin has not discussed scholarship allotment with the media, but the arrival of running back Silas Redd via transfer might have also affected Rogers’ enrollment status last summer. Still, Rogers consistently proved himself to be one of the state’s premier pass catchers in the 2011 high school season. The Trojans got a good one.

Justin Robertson (Phoenix): What effect will the firing of coach (Kennedy) Polamalu have in 2014 recruiting?

WeAreSC: It’s no secret that Polamalu is well respected in Southern California. He knows the landscape and has established great relationships with local high school coaches. Those connections often paid dividends, so his absence in the next cycle has the potential to be immense.

In the 2014 class specifically, Polamalu was the lead recruiter for Gardena Serra’s Adoree’ Jackson and Long Beach Poly’s John “JuJu” Smith -- arguably the top two talents in the area -- as well as elite tight end Tyler Luatua of La Mirada. UCLA is also in the conversation for the three athletes, so USC will have to re-establish connections there.

Mike Gutierrez (Oakland, Calif.): How close was Matthew Thomas to becoming a Trojan?

WeAreSC: NoleNation recruiting reporter Corey Dowlar followed Thomas’ recruitment pretty closely throughout, and he always maintained that USC’s biggest obstacle was Thomas' mother, who preferred that her son stay in Florida. Thomas was torn between USC and Florida State on the eve of signing day and ultimately chose the Seminoles, but the five-star linebacker nearly became a Trojan.