Football recruiting is a crazy game, with a roller coaster trajectory that found Lane Kiffin’s Trojans going from having the No. 1 class in the nation, to suffering eight de-commitments in the Rivals 250 and ultimately winding up with the 13th ranked recruiting class despite hauling in 12 players, five of which with five-star ratings.
To better look into the some of the interesting quirks of the 2013 class and its impact, we break it down by the numbers:
4.42: This is a number that will likely be embossed on a gold plaque and find itself on the wall of Lane Kiffin’s office pretty soon, as the Trojans set a Rivals record with an average star rating of 4.42. Notre Dame was second in the country with their class, though they were a full half-point behind SC’s freshly minted record.
3.95: Lane Kiffin’s average star rating while being the coach at USC has been phenomenal as noted above, and it sits at a four-year cumulative average of 3.90. But going back into the Pete Carroll era and beginning in 2007, the Trojans have had an average star rating of 3.95 over a seven period. That’s remarkable, as since Rivals started tracking recruiting classes, only three times has another school had a singular class with a higher rating, two of those being classes that finished at 3.96. The only time a school other than USC eclipsed the 4.0 mark –something the Trojans have done five times– was in 2002 by Bobby Bowden’s Florida State Seminoles. That year, the Noles finished with an average star rating of 4.09 due to six five-star signees, including Lorenzo Booker and Leon Washington.
59th: Much has been made about the players that USC lost and how much value they withheld from Trojans’ class. How much value is it exactly? Well, if you took the eight players that de-committed from USC and grouped them as a class, by using the Rivals formula, they would have finished with the 59th best class in the nation. With just eight players, that hypothetical class would be ranked above Boise State, Stanford and Kansas State, and just two spots and seven points behind defending Sugar Bowl champion Louisville.
2nd: The flip side of the previous number is that had that the Trojans kept their commitments –and omitting Leon McQuay III and Quinton Powell on a first-come first serve basis– USC would have would up 2nd overall, just behind Alabama. If you include the omitted players for an over-signed class, the Trojans would have finished No. 1 overall by a margin of nearly 300 points.
1: USC had just one new face on Signing Day, four-star linebacker Quinton Powell. How different is that from normal? Well, in 2011, Marqise Lee and Lamar Dawson were two of seven recruits that made their decision in favor of USC on Signing Day itself.