USC football’s No. 5 recruiting class: 2004
Grade: 8/10 Class Ranking: 2nd nationally | 1st in Pac-12 Class Composition:
6 ★★★★★ 6 ★★★★ 5 ★★★ 2 ★★
The 2004 class produced a number of All-American stars but is hurt by the number of flame-outs among its top prospects.
Exceeding expectations doesn’t get much bigger than Clay Matthews, who was a walk-on legacy in 2004, but left as a first-round draft pick in 2008. Matthews was a three-time Special Teams Player of the Year for USC, an All-American honorable mention and All-Pac-12 second-team selection.
USC also hit it big with the premiere targets in the class.
Five-stars Dwayne Jarrett, Keith Rivers and Fred Davis each delivered as All-Americans. Jarrett set USC receiving records and was part of some of the most memorable plays in USC history. Rivers was a team captain while Davis became USC’s first and only Mackey Award-winning tight end.
Deuce Lutui paid off big time as a four-star junior college transfer. He started immediately in 2004 and picked up consensus All-American honors in 2005.
Jeff Byers arrived at USC with heavy expectations as a five-star recruit and though he was never all-world, he completed a solid Trojan career with three years as a starter, a second-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-10 guard.
Four-star Scott Ware dealt with injuries but still became a starter as a senior and earned a spot on the All-Pac-10 second team.
Three-stars Chilo Rachal and Josh Pinkard each forged decent careers as starters.
For all the successes USC had in the 2004 class, it was feast or famine with the higher-rated players.
Five-star Jeff Schweiger had a bright start as a back up in Year 1 with 4.5 tackles. However, a broken foot derailed his career and after an unproductive junior year, he transferred to San Jose State.
Four-star quarterback Rocky Hinds also transferred to UNLV before long while four-star receiver Derrick Jones never played a game for the Trojans before academic ineligibility forced an early move to Oregon.
Meanwhile, five-star lineman Thomas Herring and four-stars Dale Thompson and JC-prospect Ryan Powdrell never really developed into contributors.
Herring wasn’t eligible for admission from the get-go and when he made it to campus he never developed into a contributor. Thompson was a four-year back up at tight end while Powdrell moved from linebacker to fullback, but is best well known for his horrific injury against Nebraska.