USC Signing Day: The Bad


Continuing on with our “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” series about USC’s newest signing class (you cant check out the first installment, “The Good” here), it’s time to look at what USC could’ve done better.

Here’s THE BAD:

USC did not score much depth in the secondary. It’s no secret that the Trojans never really recruits DBs all that well, and this year proved no different. To be sure, USC often scores a stud safety or cornerback (T.J. McDonald and Nickell Robey, for example) but that’s just it: they get ONE stud safety or cornerback. This year, ‘SC got two safeties that have bright futures ahead of them in Josh Shaw—and early enrollee that transferred from Florida—and new commit Gerald Bowman. The problem though, is that Shaw might have to sit out a year because he transferred, leaving just Drew McCallister, Demetrius Wright and potentially Bowman to back up McDonald and Jawanza Starling. If either of them get hurt, USC is gonna be in TROUBLE. And even if they stay healthy, McDonald, Starling, and McCallister will all graduate in 2012, so Shaw and Bowman will have to learn fast so they can take over the reigns the following season. Not only that, but they’re OLD. Not old in actual lifespan, but in terms of college football years, because they’re both transfers. Clearly they’ll be judged on the quality of the work they put in as opposed to the quantity over their time as Trojans.

Likewise, at the cornerback position, USC got two four-star recruits in Kevon Seymour and Devian Shelton. Currently USC has three-ish capable corners in Nickell Robey, Anthony Brown (post-ankle surgery), Isiah Wiley and Torin Harris. Wiley did a decent job of picking up the slack when Brown broke is ankle, but neither he nor Harris is particularly stellar at the position yet. Robey and Brown are the best two corners ‘SC has, so—much like at the safety position—the Trojans’ ability to succeed in their coverage sets rides on the stars not getting hurt. Though this seems obvious, other schools—like Oregon for example—have a range of talent across many positions, so it’s not so detrimental if a star is out. If Robey or Brown has to be sidelined for any amount of time, USC’s defense could falter. Seymour and Shelton will likely redshirt—unless some unforeseeable event impedes this—so hopefully by the time they are ready to take the field in the Coliseum, they will have picked up the system and will know the coverage well.

There are no standout running backs in this class. As we’ve mentioned before, USC’s running game is going to be contingent on Curtis McNeal’s heath. None of the running backs behind him are ready yet to be every down backs, nor are they particularly big enough to be productive in the way that McNeal is in this offense. Jahleel Pinner will indeed be a helpful addition, but it still hurts that there is no one significant or game-ready that can be the back up running back. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, in terms of how often USC is willing to run the ball next season.

These were the most prominent areas that stuck out as somewhere that USC could’ve done better, but one could reason that the scholarship ban played a factor in this. It’s very taxing for a team when the coaches feel that taking out the starters will completely derail the overall play of the defense, but USC has managed to make it work for the past two seasons. If history is to be repeated next season, USC will be able to save its new recruits until they are actually needed, and will not have to burn a year of eligibility.

So we’ve gone over the good and the bad; in the final installment, Reign of Troy will look at the worst, most egregious recruiting fail of all in: THE UGLY.