Just when the Trojan Family seems like it can’t get any bigger and subsequently prouder, Lane Kiffin goes to recruit. After Jalen Ramsey became the 15th recruit to commit for the Class of 2013 on Monday, the Trojans not only became holders of the nation’s top recruiting class according to Rivals, but they showed that despite the ideas of many, the Trojans’ class can still keep on getting better.
Even though Jalen Ramsey’s decision was expected, his commitment proves that the Trojans have been perfect so far this year when it comes to recruits that analysts somewhat associate with USC.
Khaliel Rodgers was tied to USC via teammate and best friend Kenny Bigelow, and he committed to the Trojans last week. Eddie Vanderdoes was considered to be tied to both the Trojans and Oregon, and he chose USC on the same day as Rodgers. For Lane Kiffin and the bunch, being able to seal the deal on the targets is something that is not only becoming a strength, but on the verge of being unbelievable, as the class keeps getting better and climbing the rankings.
Don’t buy it? Well, remember that Vernon Hargreaves III has USC has his leader. Hargreaves isn’t just the top corner in the nation according to most recruiting services, but he’s the fourth best prospect in the country according to ESPN, while 247Sports and Rivals have him listed as sixth and ninth, respectively. Should he grab one of the three remaining scholarships in USC’s Class of 2013, the prowess of the class as we know it, would get better. Therefore, furthering that ‘wow’ factor that Lane Kiffin is deploying.
Rivals currently has the Trojans at a star average of 4.20, which is just shy of the all-time record of 4.22 set by USC in 2007. Assuming Hargreaves comes aboard, his five-star ranking could give the Trojans the record. Then, take into account that Eddie Vanderdoes is listed as just a 4-star lineman accounting to Rivals, while other publications have started to adorn his name with a fifth star. A revised assessment from Rivals, and again, USC’s rating would continue to get better.
Should Browne, Bigelow and Cravens maintain 5-star ratings, with Vanderdoes becoming consensus, Jalen Ramsey possibly grabbing a fifth star from 247Sports and Hargreaves being a possibility, the Trojans have a serious shot at at least tying the Class of 2007, who had six 5-stars when it was all said and done on Signing Day.
Comparing this class to then, it comes down to the factor of depth in recruiting. Going into 2007, the Trojans had a stockpile of young running backs, yet still were able to haul in not one, but two 5-star running backs, in Marc Tyler and Joe McKnight. Plus, Carroll and co. added a 4-star back in the form of Broderick Green. That’s something that Kiffin would never be able to do, given scholarship restrictions.
That depth created a logjam in the USC backfield, which ultimately forced Emmanuel Moody and Broderick Green to find solace in the SEC. With Kiffin’s class, transfers seem unlikely, even at wide receiver, where the Trojans could feature four 4-Star commits if Paul Harris chooses the Trojans, not to mention current underclassmen like Marqise Lee, Victor Blackwell, George Farmer, Nelson Agholor and Darreus Rogers.
USC’s ability to use the sanctions as a crutch rather than a pitfall has been incredible, and is another sign that times are different from ’07. Under Carroll, the pitch was always about USC, the tradition, and the ability to compete for a starting position. That’s why guys like McKnight and Green were able to travel more than halfway across the country to be a Trojan, despite USC already having a slew of talented backs ahead of them.
With Kiffin under sanctions, a reduced number of scholarships has instead become a way to weed out lesser-ranked recruits, making both recruits and USC more selective, preserving the nation’s top star average. Need proof? Look no further than USC’s recruiting efforts at The Opening, which sealed the deal on players like Nico Falah, Eddie Vanderdoes and Jalen Ramsey.
These kids know how valuable a USC scholarship is right now, and those who have already committed to USC have taken the full advantage of that value. Commit now, or forever hold your peace. Or, at least until Signing Day, if you decide to play with hearts of fans and recruiting gurus.