Steve Sarkisian Breaks Down 2015 Recruiting Class


Steve Sarkisian addressed the media to wrap up all the Signing Day happenings around USC, covering his local recruiting philosophy, breaking down each position and addressing the future of his program.

“We have an amazing brand,” Sark said of the herculean recruiting effort which paid off with Rivals’ number one class in the nation. “If you were in sales, which we are, this place is an amazing sale.”

Part of that sell is the draw of winning championships, which Sarkisian refuses to shy away from.

“We all chose to come to USC. We weren’t forced to come here. We chose to come here to be the best,” Sarkisian said of the Trojan’s championship aspirations

“I believe our future is ridiculously bright,” he said.

The future also looks bright for several recruits who could make their way to the NFL, but Sarkisian said the staff was careful to target players with the right mentality.

“These guys all came here to be the best. They came to win championships,” Sarkisian said. “The NFL is a byproduct of those championships.”

Feb 4, 2015; Long Beach, CA, USA; (editors note: caption correction) Long Beach Poly High Jackrabbits cornerback Iman Marshall poses after announcing his decision to attend the University of Southern California at press conference at Long Beach Poly. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Selling local recruits was an emphasis, according to the head coach.

“We’re going to make our living in California,” Sarkisian said.

The idea, which played out with this year’s class, is to bring in three-fourths of the class from the state of California, with the remaining fourth coming from out of state.

This class features 19 of 24 from within local hunting grounds.

Sarkisian broke down the class by position.

On the subject of the defensive backs, Sarkisian said his staff looked to add athletic, rangy players and they got them in Iman Marshall, Isaiah Langley, Ykili Ross and Marvell Tell.

He singled out Marshall as a player who will give them the ability to play more press man coverage because of his great physicality.

Tell was praised for his versatility at safety. The ability to defend the run in a physical manner while also being capable of playing man coverage was a major plus from him.

Langley and Ross will both get the chance to play wide receiver, but they also represent the greater physicality Sarkisian is looking for from his corners.

On the defensive line, Sarkisian looked for “big, long, strong” defenders and acknowledged that the great number of seniors who will leave the Trojans after this year necessitated a particular emphasis to fill the group.

In adding Rasheem Green, Jacob Daniel, Noah Jefferson, Christian Rector, and Kevin Scott, USC got exactly what they needed.

At linebacker, Sarksian said he targeted “taller, longer and rangier” bodies.

He noted that all four linebackers — Osa Masina, Porter Gustin, John Houston and Cameron Smith — are big but athlethic, as proven by their ability to play multiple sports and positions.

Across the board on defense, Sarkisian said he wants the team to play more like a bully on that side of the ball.

“To be a really good defense you need to be a bully,” he said.

Jan 2, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Team Highlight wide running back Ronald Jones II (24) runs on to the field during the introductions at the 2015 Under Armour All-America Game at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

On the offensive line, Sarkisian said the Trojans answered needs by filling in depth at the tackle and center position.

He praised Chuma Edoga and Roy Hemsley as long and athletic while saying Cole Smith reminds him of Ryan Kalil and has “center in his blood.”

At quarterback, Sarkisian called Ricky Town a rock at the most important position in sports, while speaking about how Darnold blew the coaching staff away at the Rising Stars camp over the summer with his athleticism and competitiveness.

For Sarkisian, the running backs USC is bringing in this year are home run hitters.

Ronald Jones II is the fastest running back in Texas while Dominic Davis is the fastest running back in California according to Sarkisian. Their speed is meant to give USC an added dimension in 2015.

Aca’Cedric Ware was praised for offering a physicality between the tackles.

At tight end, Sarkisian called Tyler Petite the most important player in the class, who has a “ridiculously bright” future.

Finally, the head coach turned his attention to wide receiver.

With the addition of Isaac Whitney and De’Quan Hampton, Sarkisian said they brought in big, strong receivers who can challenge defenses in one on one situations.

Sarkisian took a moment to praise the blueshirts USC will be bringing in this year, though he did not mention Clayton Johnston or Deontay Burnett by name, saying he holds them in higher regard than most players because they sacrificed the excitement of signing day for the sake of the team.

Finally, Sarkisian said he was open to the idea of any of the incoming players starting as freshman, which certainly helped them in recruiting the class they did, but added that they would not field the players until they were ready.

“The next challenge is getting these 24 guys ready to play,” Sarkisian said repeatedly.

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