USC enters Top 5

Originally Published: January 2, 2006
By Tom Luginbill | Scouts, Inc.

I've been saying it all along, and now it is coming true -- USC is going to be just fine. I know many USC fans have been concerned with the number of commitments they have (or lack thereof).

Coaches these days must prepare for early NFL entry and recruit to it by position. This is why USC had entered my top five. Everyone wants to knock USC's defense, yet the Trojans haven't lost a game, and Notre Dame and Fresno State were really their only threats.

Well, they are meeting defensive needs. Of their 11 commitments, seven of them are on defense. With the likely departure of S Darnell Bing, Taylor Mays and Antwine Perez are perfect fits. USC also needs depth and production at linebacker, and landing Josh Tatum addresses that need. Look for more linebackers to come on board. New commit CB Shareece Wright adds defensive perimeter help.

As usual, the USC staff targets five or so national prospects to go after and just landed another one in WR Vidal Hazelton. He is in the mold of a Mike Williams. Of the 11 commitments, four of them are out of state, but three of those prospects are the Trojans' top recruits so far.

Bear in mind, as we have seen in the last month, a verbal commitment certainly isn't set in stone -- it's more like written in pencil with a big eraser handy. QB Jevan Snead, RB Michael Goodson, QB Mitch Mustain and RB Emmanuel Moody are among the many prospects to change their minds so far, proving it doesn't really matter what happens now, it matters what happens on Feb. 1.

To truly evaluate the strength of a recruiting class, you need to wait at least two years and then rank them (check out Bruce Feldman's recent blogs). That is why I'm not ranking past a top five at this point. Recruiting is far more about quality than it is quantity, and more importantly, it is about filling roster needs.

That being said, here are the current top five classes:

1. Florida

2. Texas

3. Georgia

4. Notre Dame

5. USC

On the cusp:

LSU: Still love their class. Speed and athleticism are abundant.

Auburn: Great offensive skill. Last year's class was mostly defense. Landing WR Tim Hawthorne (Homewood, Ala.) would be big.

Ohio State: Doing excellent in-state with RB Chris Wells, among others. Also has its hands in California's cookie jar.

Miami: The Hurricanes are doing better than people think.

Keep an eye on:

Oklahoma: The Sooners finished the season strong, QB Rhett Bomar is growing up, and their win against Oregon in the Holiday Bowl only helps matters. This class of 21 prospects includes WR Adron Tennell (Irving, Texas) and DT Pryce Macon (Corpus Christi, Texas). Yep, the Sooners are dipping into the Texas well once again, with eight commitments from the Lone Star State.

Tom Luginbill is the national director of recruiting for Scouts Inc. Tom will be a studio analyst on ESPNU every Thursday and Saturday, talking college football and giving updates on the latest recruiting news.