USC Football Recruiting: Grading Every Commitment
Now that the Trojans' recruiting staff has unpacked their bags after a long season of singing USC's praises to prospective high school players, it's time to look at the fruits of their efforts.
Some fans of the men of Troy were disappointed that USC couldn't deliver any one of a number of prospects late on National Signing Day, but overall, it was a very successful haul for a program that is operating under the shackles of reduced scholarships.
This slideshow will look at the 2012 class and grade each player based on a myriad of considerations including physical talent, football acumen, potential and ability to contribute right away among other things.
With that in mind, it should be noted that every player signed by the Trojans is "A"-caliber or they wouldn't have been offered in the first place.
That said, this piece will attempt to delve slightly deeper to assign an assessment for each of these talented players.
Let's get started, shall we?
Darreus Rogers (Wide Receiver)
photo from recruiting.scout.com
It came down to the wire before Carson's 6'2", 200 lb wide receiver finally decided on the Trojans, and USC is glad he made the commitment for the cardinal and gold.
Possessing good size and speed, Rogers will likely spend 2012 as a redshirt while the receiving corps shakes itself out and prepares for the likely loss of Robert Woods in 2013.
Rogers definitely has the talent to star for the Trojans and look for big things out of him in the future.
Leonard Williams (Defensive Lineman)
photo from sbnation.com
One of the two annual USC signing day "surprises," big Leonard Williams (6'5", 270 lbs.) will have a brilliant football career with the Trojans when all is said and done.
At this point, Lane Kiffin will use Williams as a defensive end but don't be surprised if he slides inside to the tackle spot at some point in his tenure with the Trojans.
Blessed with great quickness, Williams is a devastating tackler who should contribute in some capacity immediately for USC.
Nelson Agholor (Athlete)
photo from recruiting.scout.com
The other of the two signing day "surprises," Nelson Agholor is the one recruit the Trojans couldn't afford to lose out on. And they didn't.
Agholor's tremendous talent and versatility makes him valuable to Lane Kiffin who needed to add an explosive player who can see the field in many different capacities including running back, receiver, safety, and kick returner.
Agholor will contribute immediately for the Trojans and the sky is the limit for this talented youngster from Florida.
Devian Shelton (Safety/Cornerback)
photo from 247sports.com
Devian Shelton was a late recipient of a Trojan offer and the Inglewood High School prospect didn't waste any time in accepting it.
Shelton has the size (6'2", 180 lbs) to be dominant cornerback and the versatility to play deep at safety as well.
If Shelton can prove that he can man the corner for USC, his value will increase multi-fold as he will be one of the taller at his position in the nation.
However, look for Shelton to redshirt in 2012 as the Trojans sort it all out.
Zach Banner (Offensive Tackle)
One of the "jewels" of the Trojans 2012 class, Zach Banner (6'9", 300 lbs), will eventually hear his name called as a top ten pick in the NFL draft.
Banner will wind up as a left tackle who will protect whomever follows Trojan quarterback Matt Barkley as USC's signal caller.
Having said that, don't be surprised if Banner takes a redshirt this year as Lane Kiffin strategically negotiates the next two years of reduced scholarships.
Kevon Seymour (cornerback)
A good sized (6'0", 175 lbs.) cornerback, Kevon Seymour, who hails from Muir High School in Pasadena, CA, will see the field of play sooner rather than later for the Trojans.
However, he will need to pack on some weight at the college level but certainly has the frame and desire to do just that.
Seymour has a great attitude and wants to be the best he can be and this drive, plus his God given talent, will make him a household name for Trojan fans in the years to come.
Morgan Breslin (Defensive End)
photo from football.dvcmultimedia.net
One of the most highly sought junior college players in the nation, defensive end Morgan Breslin will see plenty of playing time in 2012.
Breslin has good size (6'3.5", 250 lbs.) and a great motor when it comes to chasing the quarterback.
He will have to work on his run support but this guy has all of the intangibles to be a force for USC in the next couple of years.
Gerald Bowman (Safety)
When Gerald Bowman, the most highly sought after junior college player in America, signed with the Trojans, it immediately solved USC's depth issues at safety.
Blessed with tremendous speed (4.43 forty) to go along with good size (6'1", 215 lbs), Bowman is a heavy hitter who punishes both runners and receivers.
Bowman will contribute immediately for the Trojans and will enter the rotation at safety in 2012 both as a back-up to T.J. McDonald and possibly as a starter replacing Jawanza Starling.
Jordan Simmons (Offensive Guard)
In Jordan Simmons, the Trojans get a mammoth (6'5", 330 lbs) offensive lineman with huge (literally) upside.
Simmons will get a look to play in 2012 but even if he takes a redshirt, he will be an immediate contributor in 2013 when depth will be an even more important consideration than the upcoming year.
As is the case with all Trojan offensive linemen, Simmons will be playing on Sundays when his USC career is over.
Chad Wheeler (Offensive Lineman)
As an early enrollee, Chad Wheeler is a project who could wind up as a very good linemen for the Trojans.
Wheeler has good size (6'6" 260 lbs), and will certainly pack on bulk at the next level.
Though he will take a redshirt in 2012, Wheeler will provide depth in 2013 and beyond and could wind up starting beyond that if he improves like the coaching staff thinks he will.
Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (Tight End)
While the Trojans are well stocked at the tight end position right now, they simply could not pass on Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick who was named the #1 player at his position by ESPN.
With his size (6'5", 250 lbs), Cope-Fitzpatrick was recently called a "touchdown maker" by Lane Kiffin and will be given a long look to contribute as a true freshman.
However, given USC's depth at the position (Xavier Grimble, Randall Telfer, Junior Pomee and possibly Christian Thomas), don't be surprised if he takes a redshirt with a nod for possible depth issues in the future.
Scott Starr (Linebacker)
photo from recruiting.scout.com
If there was ever guy who was born to be a Trojan, it is Norco's Scott Starr.
Rated the #3 middle linebacker in the nation by Scout.com, Starr has already made an impression on his teammates as an early enrollee as evidenced by his new nickname, "little Brian Cushing."
However, it is not his physical stature, which at 6'3", 230 lbs is plenty big enough, that does not evoke comparisons to the former Trojan great, but his desire to dominate and the speed (4.55 forty) that gets him there.
Whether it is this year or next, look for Starr to become a fan favorite with the Trojan faithful.
Max Tuerk (Offensive Lineman)
The third jewel of the tremendous Trojan offensive lineman trio, Max Tuerk has everything one looks for in a dominant lineman.
With great size (6'4", 290 lbs), and even better technique, Tuerk will get a long look for play in 2012 and if not, he will be a fixture on the offensive line after that.
Though he will have to gain some weight, Max Tuerk will be yet another great USC offensive lineman when all is said and done.
Jahleel Pinner (Fullback/Running Back)
photo from ocregister.com
With the sudden departure of running back Amir Carlisle, getting a guy like Jahleel Pinner became crucial for the Trojans in 2012.
Rated the #1 fullback in the nation by Scout.com, Pinner may see some time as the Trojans "big tailback" as well, this year.
Whether it is this year or next, look for Pinner to be utilized in short yardage situations when they need those tough carries.
Jabari Ruffin (Outside Linebacker)
Along with Scott Starr, the Trojans were fortunate to sign a couple of impact linebackers for the 2012 season and in Jabari Ruffin, they are getting an outstanding linebacker who is blessed both with size and speed.
At 6'3", 230 lbs, Ruffin can play any linebacker position but his sideline-to-sideline speed suits him best for the outside and that is where he will get his longest look.
If not in 2012, look for Ruffin to make big news in 2013 and beyond.
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Though short on quantity, the Trojans 2012 class is big on quality and they addressed several areas of need going forward.
Despite the disappointment of missing out on guys like offensive linemen Kyle Murphy and Andrus Peat, USC garnered several impact players and their contributions will be felt this year and beyond.
It should also be noted that the Trojans were able to save three scholarships which can be awarded to early enrollees for the next class.
When fans look back to this years class in the future, they will see a number of players who will be starring for USC and for that reason, this class gets a very good overall grade.