Amir Carlisle and Anthony Sarao Choose USC


Jim Harbaugh left Stanford earlier this month to take over as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Now, some of his recruits are changing their minds about playing for the Cardinal, and the Trojans have been one of the main beneficiaries. One day after running back Amir Carlisle switched from Stanford to USC, four-star linebacker Anthony Sarao (Absecon, N.J.) made the same decision.

Amir Carlisle (Sunnyval, Calif.). switched to USC after making an unofficial visit to campus this weekend. Not only did USC take away a commit from a Pac-10 rival, but it also added its only running back for the 2011 class. Ranked by as the 16th best player at his position, Carlisle measures 5’11.5” and weighs 190 pounds. Recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman has compared him to former Cal standout Jahvid Best, who was known for his speed and breakaway ability. Carlisle runs a 4.43 40-yard dash and can catch passes well coming out of the backfield, which will make him two-dimensional. He is not the kind of power back to bring in and pound the ball up the middle, but he is extremely dangerous in the open field and can change direction on a dime. Most importantly, Carlisle has incredible balance. He can sustain contact while still staying on his feet, which will translate to big plays.

Anthony Sarao (Absecon, N.J.) visited Los Angeles this past weekend as well. When making his decision, he told, “It was a perfect visit. I had a great time out there.” The campus wasn’t the only selling points. The New Jersey native admired the coaching staff as well. “USC has one of the best coaching staffs in college football,” Sarao told “They definitely know what they’re talking about.”

Sarao, who is ranked 11th at his position by, possesses great strength and ball carriers have a very hard time escaping once he has them wrapped up. The 6’1”, 220-pound linebacker can also go toe-to-toe with fullbacks when he blitzes or tries to shoot through the gaps. He brings with him good instincts and defends passes well when lining up against tight ends. Sarao addresses an area of severe need for the Trojans. Starters Malcolm Smith and Michael Morgan graduated, and Lane Kiffin remains unsure about how the linebacking corps line up if USC played today.

Sarao’s commitment is a huge boost for the Trojans nationally. Despite NCAA sanctions, the Trojans were able to nab a quality player from across the country, which gives more credibility to the program. California has always been a stronghold for USC recruiters, but the ability to add top talent from across the country makes the roster even stronger. To date, USC has built the fourth best recruiting class in the country according to