Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC Football Recruiting: Dead Period Ends, What to Watch for Until Signing Day 2014

The time is now, for the mayhem has been permitted to resume at an intensified pace. College football recruiting’s dead period ended with the tolls of midnight, allowing for the blowing up of phones and frequent flyer miles for coaches and players alike.

Just three week remain until National Signing Day on February 5th, and Steve Sarkisian’s USC Trojans still have plenty of work to do. Troy currently boasts 17 commitments, but that could change quicker than it takes a recruit to change his relationship status on Facebook. With USC permitted to take on a total of 19 players in the 2014 recruiting class due to sanctions levied by the NCAA, it will surely be a dogfight to the end, as the Trojans try to fill their class.

Here’s how USC’s class stand at the moment:

Signed Early Enrollees (5):

Name Pos Rating HT/WT Location
Jordan Austin OL ★★★ 6-5/267 Claremont, CA
Jalen Greene QB ★★★ 6-3/195 Gardena, CA
Don Hill DE ★★★ 6-3/240 Boise, ID
Toa Lobendahn OL ★★★★ 6-3/290 La Habra, CA
Claude Pelon DT ★★★★ 6-5/285 Mesa, AZ


Committed Recruits (12):

Name Pos Rating HT/WT Location
Chris Brown OT ★★★★ 6-6/285 Los Angeles, CA
Bryce Dixon TE ★★★★ 6-4/230 Gardena, CA
Malik Dorton DE ★★★★ 6-3/227 Bellflower, CA
Shay Fields WR ★★★★ 5-10/170 Bellflower, CA
Ajene Harris ATH ★★★ 5-11/170 Los Angeles, CA
Rahshead Johnson CB ★★★★ 5-11/175 Long Beach, CA
Jonathan Lockett CB ★★★★ 5-11/172 Santa Ana, CA
Austin Maloata DE ★★★ 6-3/250 Corona, CA
Uchenna Nwosu DB ★★★ 6-2/185 Harbor City, CA
John Plattenburg CB ★★★ 5-11/187 Houston, TX
Viane Talamaivao OL ★★★★ 6-3/300 Corona, CA
Olajuwon Tucker DE ★★★★ 6-4/225 Gardena, CA


Notable Targets (2 Available Slots):

Name Pos Rating HT/WT Location
Adoree’ Jackson ATH ★★★★★ 5-11/172 Gardena, CA
John ‘Juju’ Smith ATH ★★★★★ 6-1/207 Long Beach, CA
Damien Mama OL ★★★★ 6-5/360 Bellflower, CA
Michiah Quick ATH ★★★★ 6-0/170 Fresno, CA
Josh Frazier* DT ★★★★ 6-3/334 Springdale, AR
Fred Warner+ OLB ★★★★ 6-3/210 San Marcos, CA
Arrion Springs^ S ★★★★ 5-11/190 San Antonio, TX
Lamont Simmons CB ★★★ 6-2/185 Jacksonville, FL
Charles Nelson ATH ★★★ 5-9/170 Daytona, FL
Courtney Garnett DT ★★★ 6-2/280 New Orleans, LA

* Committed to Alabama
+ Committed to BYU
^ Committed to Oregon

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Three Storylines to Watch:

1. De-commitments still expected: At this point, it looks like Austin Maloata will ultimately de-commit, despite him telling 247Sports this week that he’s still committed to the Trojans. He hasn’t heard from USC coaches since Ed Orgeron resigned, and is actively pursuing the interest garnered from Washington State and Arizona State. Also, don’t be surprised if Malik Dorton signs elsewhere, as he’s scheduled an official visit to Washington. Fellow St. John Bosco product Shay Fields also has visits lined up, as Colorado has been closing ground of late. Additionally, Bryce Dixon is a possibility to depart the class, as he’s giving UCLA his final official visit.

2. Trojans hard after the Big Local 3: All recruiting year, Adoree’ Jackson, Juju Smith and Damien Mama have been highlighted as Southern California’s three biggest recruits. With Smith being the nephew to USC assistant Johnny Nansen and Mama having ties to the Trojans in the form of buddies Nico Falah and Viane Talamaivao, USC could be sitting as the favorite to land at least two. As for Jackson, it’s anyone’s guess. With family in the south, a move to the SEC is a very real possibility, and despite being out of his announced ‘final six’, Oregon has made a late push for a visit. Still, the Trojans hope Serra-to-USC roots that have earned the commitments of Jalen Greene and Olajuwon Tucker help woo the nation’s most explosive undecided recruit.

3. New coaches get their chance to rake: With the recruiting dead period over, it’s finally time for Steve Sarkisian’s highly-touted staff to put up or shut up. They’ve been lauded as a staff full of young stud recruiters that have the ability to relate to recruits. With top targets on the board and flips potentially in the cards, now’s when we’ll see the hires pay dividends or the impact of losing key recruiters like Ed Orgeron and Tommie Robinson. Can Chris Wilson make a difference in the south? Will Tee Martin continue to be a rising star as a recruiter? Is Peter Sirmon going to manage USC’s recruiting efforts efficiently? We shall see.

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Interactive: Play the role of recruiting coordinator

USC currently has two available scholarships, though that number’s expected to rise with the expected de-commitment of Maloata. Put yourself in recruiting coordinator Peter Sirmon’s shoes and fill out the remainder of the Trojans’ 2014 Recruiting Class. We’ll give you some leeway. Pick four players that you’d like to see USC close with on Signing Day.

How would you like to see USC round out the 2014 class?

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