Comparing USC and UCLA’s 2015 Recruiting Class


The “Battle for LA” on National Signing Day was less a contest and more an arms race between USC and UCLA, who each landed one of the top classes in the nation.

The Trojans and Bruins sped towards the finish line attempting to snatch up as much talent as possible Wednesday.

UCLA started the day with four major pick ups.

Before the sun had risen, Chris Clark, one of the nation’s top tight ends, picked the Bruins over Michigan. Then UCLA stole Soso Jamabo, the No. 2 running back in the country, out of the state of Texas before four-star guard Josh Wariboko also jumped on the train bound for Westwood. Four-star linebacker Roquan Smith capped the morning off by spurning Georgia for the Bruins.

All four recruits hail from out of state and nabbing them early on Signing Day had media from around the nation chattering about UCLA’s big day.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, it wasn’t all rosy.

Smith declined to send in his LOI and with news breaking of defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich’s potential departure to the Atlanta Falcons, his commitment began to look shaky.

Three-star linebacker Cassius Peat also flipped to Michigan and the Bruins lost out on four-star defensive end Joseph Wicker to Arizona State and four-star tight end Tyrone Wheatley.

Meanwhile, USC’s morning was uneventful as LOI’s for already committed targets streamed in steadily.

The fireworks started at midday, when Serra’s Signing Day ceremony served as the backdrop for commitments from five-star defensive lineman Rasheem Green and four-star linebacker John Houston.

The Serra pipeline would bear more fruit later in the day when Deontay Burnett, a Washington State commit and potential Michigan flip, decided instead to take an advanced blueshirt scholarship with the Trojans.

RELATED: What is a blueshirt?

It would only get better for USC as Iman Marshall, the top recruit in California and top cornerback in the nation, released a video through Bleacher Report to announce his commitment to the home-town Trojans.

Shortly after, USC completed the day on a near-perfect streak, picking up the commitment of three-start defensive lineman Kevin Scott.

Naturally, the national and local media started talking up the Signing Day Battle Royale between the Trojans and the Bruins.

Notably, however, there really was no direct battle.

USC and UCLA were in direct competition for just three recruits on Signing Day — Iman Marshall, Cordell Broadus and Tyrone Wheatley.

Of those, even UCLA insiders agreed Marshall was never going to be a Bruin, both schools lost out on Wheatley to Michigan and no matter how much the media try to trump up the “Trojan-fan Snoop Dog’s son chose UCLA over USC” angle, Broadus had exited USC’s radar months before.

In the end, USC got their guys and UCLA got theirs.

Obviously Jim Mora would have relished snatching Marshall away from USC and Steve Sarkisian would have loved to land five-star linebacker Keisean Lucier-South, but even before Signing Day this class was shaping up to be one in which both schools could feast.

Look no further than the quarterbacks, where USC picked up an early commitment from Ricky Town while UCLA nabbed Josh Rosen, both considered top players in the class. Neither the Bruins nor the Trojans “beat” each other to get their man.

That’s a reflection of the talent available, as well as both staffs’ ability to close on out of state talent in the cycle.

Still, these are bitter rivals who will definitely be battling it out on the field this year and in year’s to come, so here’s how the classes compare, by the numbers:

(All rankings based on 247Sports Composite)* Includes Roquan Smith, who has yet to send in his LOI

Though both schools averaged identical star ratings, USC brought in six more players than UCLA, which gave them room to pick up a greater quantity of quality players.

As a result, the Trojans locked down the top class in the nation according to Rivals and Scout.

UCLA trailed behind at No. 13 in Rivals, No. 9 in Scout and No. 7 in 247Sports.

Of course, USC has consistently claimed the recruiting title over UCLA, but the Bruins have claimed three straight victories over the Trojans on the field.

USC will hope this class can ensure the Victory Bell is painted cardinal once more.

They’ve certainly loaded the gun. The question is whether UCLA has matched their ammunition.

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