USC National Signing Day Recap


With the 2012 National Signing Day officially in the books, it’s time to look at what happened for USC on Wednesday. Leading up to Signing Day, USC had secured five early-enrollee players who would count against the class of 2011:

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Morgan Breslin,

DE, 6-3, 255, Walnut Creek, CA (Diablo Valley J.C.)

Josh Shaw, S, 6-2, 195 Palmdale, CA (Florida)

Scott Starr, LB, 6-3, 230, Norco, CA (Norco (CA) HS)

Chad Wheeler, OT, 6-6, 265, Santa Monica, CA (Santa Monica (CA) HS)

DeVante Wilson, DE, 6-4, 235, Corona, CA (Corona (CA) HS)

Due to NCAA sanctions, USC was limited to just 15 scholarships for the Class of 2012, and successfully signed 12 guys on Signing Day. According to, USC had the 13th-best class overall, and had the Trojans as high as 7th; which is a feat considering the Trojans could not bring in a full class. Also to note, USC has the highest star-rating for its commits (4.06), which means that when USC brings in players, they very often are four-star caliber or better. So if anyone ever doubted what USC could do with just 15 scholarships this year, they were foolish to do so.

Here’s a complete list of the 2012 recruiting class:

Nelson Agholor, WR, 6-1, 180, Tampa, FL (Berkeley Prep HS, Tampa, FL)Zach Banner, OL, 6-9, 335, Puyallup, WA (Lakes HS, Lakewood, WA)Gerald Bowman, S, 6-1, 215, Philadelphia, PA (Pierce J.C.)Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, TE, 6-5, 260, Rocklin, CA (Whitney HS, Rocklin, CA)Jahleel Pinner, RB, 5-11, 225, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA (Mission Viejo (CA) HS)Darreus Rogers, WR, 6-2, 195, Compton, CA (Carson (CA) HS)Jabari Ruffin, LB, 6-4, 230, Downey, CA (Downey (CA) HS)Kevon Seymour, DB, 6-0, 170, Pasadena, CA (Muir HS, Pasadena, CA)Devian Shelton, DB, 6-2, 185, Inglewood, CA (Inglewood (CA) HS)Jordan Simmons, OL, 6-5, 335, Inglewood, CA (Crespi HS, Encino, CA)Max Tuerk, OL, 6-6, 295, Trabuco Canyon, CA (Santa Margarita HS, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA)Leonard Williams, DL, 6-5, 275, Daytona Beach, FL (Mainland HS, Daytona Beach, FL)

So just how good of a class was this for ‘SC? Let’s see:

First, USC picked up some CLUTCH recruits in Nelson Agholor, a wide receiver out of Florida, as well as Leonard Williams, also a Florida native. In the days leading up to Signing Day, word got out the USC might snag Agholor from the good ole’ Gators and that came to fruition, but Williams was a complete surprise to most. USC is known to essentially have its way with the recruits in California—and most specifically, LA—so being able to land promising athletes from out-of-state on a consistent basis is huge for the program. Furthermore, poaching players out of Florida is always a good look, especially when they provide depth at positions that USC is—and will undoubtedly be at the end of the 2012 season—thin at. The Trojans also brought in the nation’s fourth-best tight end, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, who is poised to be another big time playmakers for USC’s stacked offense.

From there, USC was on a roll, signing top-rated offensive lineman (another position that USC has issues at, something that was much talked about last season) Zach Banner, Max Tuerk, and Jordan Simmons. Though all of these were expected because these guys had all verbally committed to USC, it still was significant that they went through with their intentions, unlike defensive end Pio Vatuvel, who was a USC commit but ended up signing with the Huskies. Banner, Tuerk and Simmons were three of the five OL that represented the West in the Army All-American game,  and some analysts consider these guys to be game-ready. This could mean a lot for USC’s running game, which as it stands, will live and die by the health of last year’s break-out star, Curtis McNeal. USC did land running back Jahleel Pinner, but the Trojans are still painfully short at this position.

For all the good that Signing Day brought the Trojans, there were still some blemishes on the day. Late in the afternoon, USC still had offensive tackles Kyle Murphy, Kyle Dodson and Andrus Peat, quarterback Cyler Miles, and defensive tackle Aziz Shittu still on the board. In a perfect world, USC would’ve gotten all of these athletes, but in reality, the Trojans expected to pull in Peat, Dodson, or Murphy knowing that any one of them signing would probably mean that the others would go somewhere else. Miles was kind of a stretch since he was a UW commit to begin with, and though he flirted with the Trojans, he stayed true to his commitment. When it came time to announce the decisions of the big guys though, Dodson elected to go with Ohio State, and Peat, Murphy AND Shittu chose the Stanford Cardinal.

The Trojans were confident that they would get some kind of combo of these athletes, so completely striking out on all accounts dealt a sizeable blow to SC.

The silver-lining though is that their commitments to other schools kept USC well under the scholarship limit, with 12 players signed at the end of the day. This leaves room for the Trojans to either pick a few guys up in the next few days who haven’t signed anywhere yet, or to sign three guys as early-enrollees next January. It also means that USC will not have to cut anyone come Fall Camp to meet the 75-scholarship athlete restriction.

Taken as a whole, Signing Day was a success for the Men of Troy.

Now that we’ve further examined just how Signing Day went for USC, stay tuned for our analysis of what USC gained in its 2012 class, as well as the areas that the Trojans still need to improve on.