After the 2014 season ended with Ohio State beating Oregon in the National Championship Game, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach turned heads by ranking USC No. 4 in his Way-Too-Early Top 25.
It was an incredible amount of confidence put in a team that couldn’t finish games in 2014 and was losing its leading rusher, leading receiver, leading tackler and hands down its best NFL prospect in Leonard Williams.
Now, after Signing Day, Schlabach has doubled down on the Trojans. He ranked USC third in the nation behind Ohio State and TCU and ahead of Alabama. Yeah.
Here’s what he had to say about SC:
"USC coach Steve Sarkisian’s first full recruiting effort was a rousing success, as the Trojans signed 16 players ranked in the ESPN 300, including No. 1 cornerback Iman Marshall, No. 1 running back Ronald Jones II and No. 1 inside linebacker John Houston Jr. After being hampered by NCAA probation, the Trojans were able to sign a full class of 24 prospects for the first time in four years. They were already starting to build depth and now there’s plenty of help on the way. Junior college transfers Isaac Whitney and De’Quan Hampton might give quarterback Cody Kessler a couple more weapons on the perimeter, after Agholor left early for the NFL draft."
Schlabach again makes valuable points and highlights the areas to be optimistic in the Trojans. This is a team that surely can win the Pac-12 and make the playoffs if things go right this year. The talent is there is to do so and sanctions can no longer be used as a crutch or excuse.
But it’s still a whole lot of hype for the Trojans, who have yet to show they can close out games under Steve Sarkisian. Until then, it’s a ranking that’s probably a wee bit too high, despite taking into account the potential.
What say you? Are the Trojans being overrated by ESPN right now? Are you excited or concerned by the expectations? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts below in the comments.
What do you think of USC's ranking at No. 3?
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