There’s no getting around the effects of the NCAA sanctions against USC, which are still front and center even in the decision Pat Haden made when hiring Steve Sarkisian as the new Trojan head coach.
Haden told ESPN’s Colin Cowherd that USC must sign four early enrollees in January or lose out on those scholarships completely, a fact that influenced the timing and choice of Sarkisian.
“The first task for our head coach, and ‘Sark’ was the easiest transition to be perfectly honest, is to get the four midyears,” Haden said. He added that he knew he needed to make a hire within the first week of December in order to give the new head coach time to lock down recruits as quickly as possible.
The Trojans did not fill their full allotment of new scholarship players from last year’s class, thus giving them a chance to finish out that class with recruits from this year as midyear enrollees. Signing those players is massively important for the Trojans whose roster limitations are already stretched extremely thin.
Sarkisian has relationships with many of the USC recruits, having recruited them for Washington, and should be in good position to secure the early enrollees he needs.
Haden then says that Sarkisians next big job is re-recruiting the juniors on USC’s roster who could jump to the NFL. After that it is on to filling out the class of 2014.