Recruiting highs and lows
National Signing Day may have arrived with a thunder, but it would leave with less than a whimper. The Trojan staff had already secured seven of the nation’s elite prospects before Wednesday’s media extravaganza, and all that remained was to chase big fish that previously swam their waters, and possibly reel another that swims without direction.
Southern California’s day was both success and failure, depending on who you read. With only 13 commitments for the 2013 class, it is the smallest group to be gathered in the past 10 years. The smaller assembly placed the Trojans outside the top-ten of class rankings for the first time since 2002, though it leads the nation with an average star-rating of 4.42.
The average star rating is bolstered by 5-star players Max Browne, Kenny Bigelow, Su’a Cravens, and Leon McQuay III. Each can be found atop the rankings for their positions, and each would enroll at USC before Signing Day’s arrival. They are supported by 4-star players Chris Hawkins and Justin Davis, and also 2012 carry-over, Darreus Rogers.
With seven early enrollees, sanctioned USC had eleven open spots available, and this is where disaster occurred. The Trojans managed to solidify the prior verbal commitments of Nico Falah, Ty Isaac, Steven Mitchell, Michael Hutchings, and Khaliel Rodgers, but the defensive line would take major hits.
The staff was unable to reverse the decisions of former commits Kylie Fitts and Eddie Vanderdoes. And to make matters worse, those players would submit letters of intent to longtime enemies. Fitts committed to UCLA on Wednesday, where they will fulfill his wish for early enrollment. Vanderdoes leaves California for South Bend, Indiana, pledging Notre Dame over USC, UCLA, and Alabama.
Though many thought DE Torrodney Prevot leaned more towards local Texas A&M, USC inevitably lost him to Oregon. Also making the flip were DE Jason Hatcher and CB Jalen Ramsey, with the pair opting to remain closer to home.
But the Trojans did gain a commitment from Daytona Beach prospect Quinton Powell, who will be reuniting with former high school teammate Leonard Williams. Powell is a 4-star defensive end that snubbed offers from local schools to move out west.
In the end, USC may not have addressed the issue of depth, but received a quality package overall. The Trojans finished 13th in the national recruiting rankings, and second only to rival UCLA in conference. National Champion Alabama won the day with 25 commitments. Runner-up Notre Dame placed third, behind Ohio State.