With the arrival of Silas Redd and the commitments of Torrodney Prevot and Jason Hatcher, the Trojans have their hands full in the Class of 2013. Lane Kiffin and the rest of the USC staff have 18 commitments in the class, the maximum allowed including early enrollees, and even if Class of 2012 recruit Darreus Rogers qualifies academically, the Trojans will need at least one player to decommit to make room for Redd, given the 15 scholarships per year stipulation in the sanctions levied on USC back in 2010.
Decommitments are the nature of the beast, and considering that the Trojans have three defensive ends, three wide receivers and two running backs plus the transfer of Silas Redd, there’s situations where a change of heart wouldn’t be entirely out of the question. Nor would it have to be overwhelmingly public like the flips of De’Anthony Thomas and Arik Armstead, considering that defensive end Pio Vatuvei flipped from USC to Washington on Signing Day this year, and it’s been widely forgotten.
But even despite a full slate of commitments, the Trojans’ Class of 2013 still has plenty of variables that could come into play, when you consider that the Trojans have offered scholarships to 94 players this year so far, with 18 committed to USC, 45 committed elsewhere and 31 yet to decide where they’ll play out their college careers.
All of these early commitments are a sign of the times, with recruits wanting to commit earlier and earlier to forgo the stress of being recruited during their senior season of high school. However, the early commits are an interesting phenomenon, given the fact that many players still plan on taking all of their allotted official visits during the fall, subjecting themselves to the recruiting pitch of rival coaches and making life tough for the coaches at their committed school.
Wide out Sebastian LaRue has made it clear he’ll be making a handful of visits this fall, and Nico Falah has indicated he’ll be making the Tour of California, chumming with USC’s rivals. It’s odd for the committed schools, but for the sake of the recruits, sitting on unused official visits doesn’t exactly earn you bonus points when it comes to education. If you’re making a decision on where to go to college, you’re likely to make more than one visit, and recruits are no different, regardless of allegiance.
For the Trojans, the recruiting strategy over the last couple weeks has really turned from a mentality aimed at solidifying the last few commitments to the class, to planning on how to keep the class in tact. With Max Browne as the de-facto leader of the class, he’ll be a ring leader among the recruits, as are guys like Justin Davis, Eddie Vanderdoes and Michael Hutchings, all of whom devout their lives to keeping in touch with one another on Twitter.
And, as you would expect, it works both ways. The top recruit in the nation, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, is committed to Clemson but is planning to visit Troy this fall. You have to think he’s a long shot at committing to USC, but that possibility is there, considering how fast players like Jalen Ramsey and Jason Hatcher were said to have fallen in love with USC’s campus after visiting from across the country.
An unexpected commitment of Nkemdiche would surely throw a wrench into the plans of the class, as it would likely force one of the three defensive end commits (Kylie Fitts, Jason Hatcher or Torrodney Prevot) to find greener pastures. But considering the drama oozing out of Clemson in his commitment to play for Dabo Swinney’s Tigers, the forcing of a hand of an already committed recruit can’t be the wildest side effect of Nkemdiche.
There’s a long way to go until Signing Day, six months to be exact, but given the nature of USC’s small class and the overbooked scholarship count that Lane Kiffin is playing with, the Trojans could have the best chance ever to hold on to a whole class due to the idea of scarcity and chemistry.
But, this is college football recruiting, and that’s just too inconceivable to take for granted, with the vast amount of players the Trojans have offered, the breakdown by position of the commitments and the prospects of official visits which are still to come for some.