USC’s Class of 2013 features 16 commits and has two spots remaining. That’s old news. The class is the most talented in the nation and is further proof that Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron are the best recruiters in the business. That too, we know. We also know that commitments are verbal and things vocalized aren’t always put to paper. But, but, but, but this class however, might actually make it to paper. Or at least there are signs of security.
For real this time.
When Cal was picking up commitments like nobody’s business last fall and into the beginning of this year, they did so with the help of Tosh Lupoi. Called one of the best recruiters in the game, Lupoi worked wonders in turning Cal’s class into one of the best in the country. He created the ‘Cal Gang’ monkier and made Berkeley a destination and the recruits bought in and committed.
Though, when he left in January to go to Seattle and join Steve Sarkisian’s staff at Washington, Cal’s vaunted class collapsed.
We thought Shaq Thompson committed to the ‘Cal Gang’, but in the end, we discovered that he pledged his name to Coach Lupoi. Ellis McCarthy and Jordan Payton were going to be Bears, but they ended up in Westwood. Arik Armstead was on the verge of committing to Berkeley, and he wound up in Eugene. Bryce Treggs, the ring leader of the ‘Cal Gang’, even took late trips to USC and UCLA and second guessed his commitment to Cal.
But it hasn’t just been Cal and Tosh Lupoi. Remember De’Anthony Thomas and all of those former USC commits that Trojan fans love to bring up day and night, this sentence notwithstanding?
Yeah. Not happening this year.
Why? Because for one, these kids sort of committed to themselves. USC had eight commitments at The Opening, then just 10 days later, had five more commitments, four of which attended the camp.
Michael Hutchings is great friends with Eddie Vanderdoes, who is buds with Justin Davis. Khaliel Rodgers and Kenny Bigelow are best friends. Max Redfield and Su’a Cravens have a strong bond and collectively, the class of 2013 aren’t just future teammates, but they’re tweeps, comrades and confidants.
They encourage each other on Twitter and they work together to add to the class. They went after Vernon Hargreaves early last week, and by the end of it, they were passing around Reign of Troy’s graphics of the future offenses and defenses, and starting #WildBunch3.
But I know, I know. That’s what Cal fans said about the ‘Cal Gang’, right? Sure, they did. They made T-shirts and started hashtags on Twitter. Then it collapsed, as noted.
This class for USC however, won’t sink. One reason being, that unless the Trojans lay an absolute egg in 2012, Lane Kiffin, Monte Kiffin and Ed Orgeron are not getting fired or leaving for another school, a la Tosh Luopi.
Plus, when you look back at how USC commits or targets strayed away from the Trojans, it’s hard to see similar situations arising with the Class of 2013.
Arik Armstead decommitted because of family issues pertaining to the Trojans’ supposed treatment of Armond Armstead’s injury in 2011. That’s obviously a pretty specific issue that can’t be replicated. DeSean Jackson chose Cal because he felt like USC thought they had him. This group of kids love being ‘had’, if you will. Vontaze Burfict flipped to Arizona State for academics. Because, well, you know.
The truth is, that while there is always cause for concern that 17-year-old kids will be 17-year-olds kids and change their mind, there’s a fine line between lauding, being cautious and already planning to be vindictive.
USC’s Class of 2013 is about as perfect as you would draw it up, if you’re Lane Kiffin. For now. And in the grand scheme of things, with Signing Day being slightly more than six months away, that’s all you can ask for and then some.