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Friday, November 15, 2013
Recruits watching Stanford at USC

By Erik McKinney

While it's true again that one game won't tell the recruiting fortunes of either Stanford or USC, it's also fair to say that this is a very important game for the Trojans. Stanford is sitting at 16 solid verbal commitments and with the No. 2 class in the Pac-12. The Cardinal’s goal between now and signing day is to close the deal with several impact uncommitted recruits still on the board.

But USC, with only nine commitments, has an opportunity to make a huge statement to recruits in both the 2014 and 2015 classes on Saturday night. A win would give interim head coach Ed Orgeron even more momentum toward taking the position on a permanent basis, which would infuse even more energy and success into the recruiting efforts for the Trojans. Even with a positive showing, it wouldn't be a surprise to hear high profile recruits pick up the chatter about their interest in USC.

Here are 10 impact recruits who will have their sights set on the Coliseum, as USC hosts Stanford.

2015 WR Cordell Broadus (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar): Broadus made waves when he now famously said following the dismissal of former USC head coach Lane Kiffin, "He should have been fired a while ago." Broadus said he was very much looking forward to what USC will do at the head coaching position and is excited about the future of the Trojans. He'll be in attendance Saturday night and will be looking to experience, first-hand, the direction of the program under Orgeron. 2015 CB Frank Buncom IV (San Diego/St. Augustine): Buncom received an early offer from Stanford, and while he doesn't yet hold one from USC, it wouldn't be surprising if the 2015 ESPN 300 prospect eventually nabbed one from the entire Pac-12. At this point, Buncom doesn't appear to be rushing into anything in regard to recruiting, but he was definitely watching when Stanford dispatched Oregon last week. Another big win for the Cardinal could see them generate some serious momentum with the cornerback.

TE Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure): Dixon was a likely lean to UCLA and an October official visit to Oregon has the Ducks in the thick of things, but USC will push for the ESPN 300 prospect as well. Dixon said early in the process that location would likely play a factor, so the thought has been that the two Los Angeles schools would battle it out. As with a number of recruits, USC has a chance to make a statement on the field this weekend, though, against as with a number of recruits, Dixon likely won't jump into anything until he is more sure of the long-term plans with the USC head coaching position.

DE Uriah-Dillon Leiataua (Compton, Calif./Dominguez): Leiataua now holds offers from both Stanford and USC, after the Trojans extended one on Thursday. The three-star defensive end has been looking hard at Stanford for some time now and the Cardinal will prove difficult to beat in this race. Leiataua will likely be in attendance Saturday night, so an in-person impression will be made by both programs.

2015 CB Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly): Marshall is another 2015 recruit who grew up watching USC football and sat through the home game against Washington State. Marshall holds offers from plenty of national programs, so USC will have its hands full in keeping the talented defensive back home. A win Saturday would put the Trojans in a good spot for Marshall, who could become one of the 2015's lightning-rod recruits, attracting a number of talented prospects to the same school he chooses.

OG Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco): Mama is another ESPN 300 recruit who falls into the category of being turned off by the Lane Kiffin start to the season and reeled back in by the Orgeron switch. Though he holds offers from virtually every top program in the country, this one could come down to a local battle between the Trojans and Bruins. A longtime USC fan, Mama likely only needs to be persuaded that the Trojans are back to being the Trojans that he grew up watching. Saturday could be a big step in that direction.

2015 CB Stanley Norman (Culver City, Calif./Culver City): Norman's situation is similar to Marshall's. This is another talented junior defensive back who pulled in an early offer from the Trojans and would like to know more about the permanent direction of the program before making any kind of decision. During USC's several weeks of sputtering this year, UCLA did a terrific job of recruiting Norman. If USC has a chance to seriously get back into the race, it could start with Saturday's game.

2015 QB Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco): Rosen never shied away from calling Stanford his early favorite, going so far as to hint that if he received an early offer, he would likely waste little time in committing. But he also couldn't hide his disappointment when Stanford extended an offer to another 2015 quarterback. Ultimately, it will likely be one of California's four Pac-12 programs that lands Rosen and it would be surprising to see him go into his senior season uncommitted.

OT Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton): Tucker committed to USC more than a year ago, but made the decision to decommit and ultimately looked destined for Stanford. Now, an inspired season from Arizona State could be making his decision more difficult, but the Cardinal will continue to press for the nation's No. 46 overall prospect. He has gone quiet with regard to recruiting, but it wouldn't be surprising to learn that he is tuned into Saturday night's game, just as he was watching Stanford's Thursday night showdown with Oregon.

ATH Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco): At this point, it feels as though it would be more surprising if the ESPN 300 athlete stuck with his Cal commitment than if he would up elsewhere. Sought after by Oregon State and Utah as well as the Los Angeles schools, Wadood is part of a large contingent of St. John Bosco recruits that have been listed as priorities for the USC coaches.