USC began the day with 11 commits. They had plenty of hope that Nico Falah would make it 12, with the looming July 17th announcement of Jalen Ramsey bringing the anxiousness for USC fans. What no one expected, however, was that the Trojans would bolster their Class of 2013 by gaining the commitments of two recruits that many thought were stretches for the Trojans: Khaliel Rodgers and Eddie Vanderdoes.
At 1:26, Khaliel Rodgers, the top guard in the country, got the day started by surprising everyone and committing to the Trojans. Rodgers, an Eastern Christian Academy teammate of both Kenny Bigelow and David Sills, was always tied to the idea of being a Trojan. However, without an offer until this past weekend, the prospects of him joining his best friend Bigelow were much in doubt.
Rodgers had been considering SEC schools like Auburn, and so much so that his buddy, Bigelow, tweeted two weeks ago that he was more interested in Auburn and Alabama than USC, despite being the first USC commit.
But with Rodgers aboard on Lane Kiffin’s magical and lucky Class of ’13, Bigelow can now be considered more committed to USC than ever. A solid verbal, if you will.
Considering that Rodgers is a prospect to play center at USC according to Scout’s Greg Biggins, the Trojans finally have a balanced offensive line, after grabbing a ton of commitments at the tackle position in the Class of 2012.
Despite the notion that most college guards played tackle in high school, grabbing a verbal from an interior lineman is huge for Lane Kiffin. Especially, because it makes the commitment of Nico Falah more versatile.
Falah, as expected at 6pm, promptly threw a Cardinal and Gold cap on his head, becoming USC’s 13th commitment for 2013. In the process, he made the timing of Rodgers’ commitment rather ironic.
Was Rodgers trying to jump the gun on Falah and guarantee himself a spot on the offensive line in USC’s limited recruiting class? Who knows. But what we do know is that Lane Kiffin now has an O-line for the future and is likely finished with his shopping for offensive lineman, pending a decommitment or a major injury.
Assuming Aundrey Walker gets drafted as a junior in 2014 and giving a year for the USC offensive line to be established, there’s now a strong possibility that the line in 2014 could look like this, from right to left, with some room for a couple of left/right flips: Zach Banner, Max Tuerk, Khaliel Rodgers, Jordan Simmons and Nico Falah.
Twenty-four hours ago, looking at USC’s future offensive line was like looking at a bunch of solid individual pieces, just missing form. With Rodgers and Falah both aboard, you can’t really say that anymore.
Instead, Lane Kiffin solidified his offensive line for 2013, and now can re-focus on skill players on defense.
Oh, and yeah, that Eddie Vanderdoes guy.
While USC’s day was starting to simmer down, which included the announcement that Florida’s top cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III now has the Trojans as his leader, USC got its biggest commitment since Max Browne made his decision public back in early April.
Out of nowhere, just before 11pm, word came out from Joe Davidson of the Sacramento Bee that Eddie Vanderdoes had committed to USC.
Yes, the same Eddie Vanderdoes that was said to be an Oregon lean. And yes, the same Eddie Vanderdoes that won an MVP award for being the top lineman at The Opening, where he was roommates with USC commit Michael Hutchings.
Vanderdoes’s commitment to USC instantly makes July 11th a day that Trojan fans will remember for a long, long time. Especially since Vanderdoes has just exploded in the past couple of months, becoming arguably the most popular defensive player on the West Coast, aided by Su’a Cravens’s decision to not attend any of the big recruiting camps this summer. So popular and highly touted in fact, that Vanderdoes was busy tweeting about his newly awarded fifth star, when Davidson’s story hit the interwebs.
For Vanderdoes, the announcement of the decision was actually a surprise, as he expected the word to leak on Thursday in the Sacramento Bee. But nonetheless, the 14th USC commit’s decision has been loud and was paraded on Twitter immediately after.
The interesting part to the commitment of the defensive lineman is that Vanderdoes’s father told Biggins that his son had been ‘100% [USC] for the last two weeks’. So while many pegged Oregon as the favorites, us included, it was really USC the whole time.
Whether or not Vanderdoes decides to continue to take his officials is yet to be seen. His father told our own Tim Tolley over the weekend that a trip to Penn State was still planned, but that was before word of the commitment leaked.
Now, as for Nico Falah, who was overshadowed on his decision day, he intends to take all five of his visits. So with Rodgers aboard, the addition of Vanderdoes, and pending commitments from Jalen Ramsey and Vernon Hargreaves III, it’ll be interesting if there’s a player to jump ship.
Despite the worry that the class doesn’t stay intact, the fact that USC may have actually one-upped Washington’s ability to get eight mid-range commitments in a single day is quite something.
You know, even for Lane Kiffin.