USC Football: Recruiting Process Can Breed Overego and Underperformance


C&G Shades On is a special weekly column from Sara Kakuris, bringing a die-hard USC football fan’s voice and perspective to Reign of Troy.

I should start this by saying I don’t get overly excited about recruits. There are a ton of them, spanning various future seasons at once, that my poor brain can’t keep track of, they commit and decommit and recommit and sometimes they end up amounting to nothing much in the long run.

That’s not to say I’m not elated the second they step on the field. I can’t wait to see if they are going to be the next Nelson, JuJu or Adoree. The potential is endless and it’s an awesome feeling to know we could be looking at the next Heisman winner.

My problem with recruiting is that I stand firmly in the “put up or shut up” camp and you can’t put up before you’re even enrolled.

True, there are some pretty incredible high school players and I’m always happy that we sign the best of the best. But, as college success doesn’t always transfer to the pros, neither does high school stardom to NCAA play.

I’ve mentioned in this column that I am extremely wary of what I view as the celebritization of college players. As any major program knows, ego is often the kiss of death for athletic talent and I don’t like the image it puts on the team as a whole.

I want USC to be viewed as a solid, stand-up program, not a conveyor belt of running mouths and bad behavior.

I don’t think a high school player belongs in a press conference designed solely to announce where he’s taking his talents.

Hype videos are fun, but excessive.

While our and their intentions are generally good and pure, we run the risk of creating a monster before the first kickoff.

These players should be proud of themselves. USC is one of the best programs in the country and we don’t hand out scholarships like Halloween candy. They have earned the right to be pumped.

But what I would love to see more of in recruiting is that pride mixed with humility. Not to sit in front of the media and pretend to wear other teams’ hats and make it a grandstand event, but to stand up with those closest to them and say, “I am proud to be part of the USC tradition. I will work every day to live up to the name and prove that I bleed cardinal and gold!”

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That is not to say that there aren’t recruits who do just that. And I am not being critical of the recruits themselves, only the system that sets the process up to be this way.

Future Trojans killed it at The Opening, proving that no member of Troy wants to be all talk with no action.

A team stocked with USC commits took the win at the 7-on-7 championship.

Josh Imatorbhebhe recorded an incredible 47.1-inch vertical.

Daelin Hayes, wearing the sacred number 55, impressed Willie McGinest with his 99th percentile athlete ranking.

Keep it up, guys.

Teach me your name, not by the Twitter mentions or YouTube videos, but by your character and the strong elements you bring to the team.

There is plenty of time for the limelight and I will be the first to shine it on you when you make strides in the Coliseum.

I welcome hearing your thoughts and any future ideas you’d like to see in a column. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @SCTrojanSara and tweet me any time.

See you next week and Fight On!