USC College Football Recruiting: 11 Recruits the Trojans Must Land
Lane Kiffin: great head coach, even better recruiter.
After finishing the 2011-2012 recruiting year with a top-10 class, Kiffin and the USC Trojans' coaching staff took to the next class as quickly as possible.
It's already June and the Trojans have seven of their 18 total scholarship spots full for the 2013 recruiting class.
Kenny Bigelow, Max Browne, Ty Isaac, Justin Davis, Eldridge Massington, Chris Hawkins and Kylie Fitts are all top players at their respective positions.
While it is not guaranteed that those players will stay true to their verbal commitments to the Trojans, at this point, they are all considered to be solid in terms of that they will attend USC in 2013.
With about eight months and an entire season still to go until the 2013 National Letter of Intent signing day, these are 11 recruits that the Trojans must get locked up to fill the remaining spots before that day in February 2013.
11. Scott Pagano, Defensive Line
Pagano has been flying under the radar in the eyes of many fans, but teams have been looking at him for quite some time now.
His long list of potential suitors includes offers from LSU, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia and Oregon along with many more.
He's a big, strong and athletic defensive tackle from Hawaii that will provide a load along the defensive line.
His main area of concern is his technique, but he's got a full season ahead of him to prove it.
Should USC land Pagano, they'll have a great, versatile option along the defensive line for years to come.
10. Demorea Stringfellow, Wide Receiver
Demorea Stringfellow is a big receiver, reaching about 6'3", 215 lbs at the moment.
Coming out of Rancho Verde, Stringfellow has offers from a majority of the Pac-12 schools and some from Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame.
He's been impressing across the camp circuit recently and picked up the offer from USC not too long ago.
He'll fit well across from many of the speedsters that USC has such as Marqise Lee, George Farmer, Nelson Agholor or Eldridge Massington who is extremely speedy for a guy his size.
9. Khaliel Rodgers, Offensive Line
Khaliel Rodgers doesn't currently have an offer from USC, but the stout interior offensive lineman could be pretty close.
The teammate of current USC commit Kenny Bigelow, Rodgers is capable of playing guard or center along the offensive line.
He's got a nasty demeanor and finishes plays no matter what.
His recent performance at the Nike camp has been getting him even more notice and should he make it out to the Rising Stars camp and impress the coaches, Rodgers could have an offer from the Trojans soon enough.
8. Nico Falah, Offensive Tackle
Nico Falah is a 6'5", 270 lbs offensive tackle out of St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, California with offers from multiple programs across the nation, including most of the Pac-12.
He seems to be favoring UCLA and USC, but anyone could be a possibility.
Falah is one of the top ranked recruits at his position and would help USC at a position that should always be full of depth.
This one comes down to USC and UCLA.
7. Demarcus Walker, Defensive Line
Big Demarcus Walker is an athletic 6'4", 275 lbs defensive end out of Jacksonville, Florida.
He seems to have a pretty strong interest in USC and he would be a great fit along the defensive line class that could feature Kenny Bigelow, Kylie Fitts and Scott Pagano.
Walker has a mean streak when playing and has even played some tight end.
His size and quickness could be a huge mismatch for offensive tackles at the college level.
6. Michael Hutchings, Linebacker
If you're looking for a linebacker that will excel in pass coverage, Michael Hutchings is one of the best in the country at the high school level.
He's well put together and is agile from the linebacker position.
The 6'1", 210 lbs. Hutchings has multiple offers and when he hits the ball carrier, it's easy to see why he's getting the attention.
As the camp circuit continues, so shall Hutchings' rise up the rankings.
5. Priest Willis, Cornerback
While his size has many wondering whether he is a cornerback or a safety, the 6'2", 190 lbs. Priest Willis has the ability to play either position effectively.
He's a physical specimen that has tremendous tackling and man coverage abilities.
Willis also has spectacular speed, making his combination of size and speed rather rare.
Many believe that Willis is strongly considering UCLA or LSU, but as it gets closer, playing with a solid defensive back recruiting class could be very tempting for him.
4. Tahaan Goodman, Defensive Back
When you look at Tahaan Goodman, it's hard not to see this young man who looks physically like he's ready to be a football player at the college level.
At 6'2", 190 lbs., Goodman has great size and coverage ability to man the safety position.
His high school teammate, Chris Hawkins, is already a USC verbal commit, so the Trojans may have a good shot at Goodman.
Talks recently say that Goodman and Willis would like to play college football together as well.
Goodman appears to be taking time with the recruiting process, so if he commits, it doesn't seem to be happening in the near future.
3. Max Redfield, Athlete
It seems as though Max Redfield is intrigued by teams across the nation due to the possibility that they will allow him to play wide receiver.
Redfield is a standout player at the safety position as well, capable of providing great coverage in the secondary.
He's a talented kid that can effectively play both sides of the ball, but the 6'2", 195 lbs. Redfield out of Mission Viejo could be a star at the college level no matter which position he ends up at.
This recruiting battle should come down to USC, Oregon and LSU.
2. Jaylon Smith, Linebacker
This one may seem to be a bit of a surprise, but it seems as though the Trojans' push for Jaylon Smith has been heated as of late.
The speedy 6'3", 225 lbs. linebacker is one of the best (if not the best) in the nation and seems to be down to Ohio State, Notre Dame and USC.
Playing in space, Smith is a dangerous linebacker with great agility and pass coverage skills to go along with his quickness.
If USC can get him out to Los Angeles for a visit, they could become serious players in the Jaylon Smith sweepstakes.
1. Su'a Cravens, Safety
The top of the list; probably the biggest target left on the Trojans' board, Su'a Cravens is just a monster of an athlete.
He has the ability to play safety, linebacker, running back and wide receiver.
He also has the ability to be a five-star player at any of those positions.
With an announcement date set for June 6th, Cravens is down to USC, UCLA, Nebraska, Michigan and Ohio State.
Most likely destined for the safety position in college, Cravens has the attributes of the dominant player mold of Troy Polamalu, Taylor Mays and Ronnie Lott that could continue the legacy after T.J. McDonald is gone.
Lane Kiffin, Ed Orgeron, Monte Kiffin, Tee Martin and the rest of the staff have the opportunity to put together a special class with scholarship limitations.
If they get the players they are targeting the hardest, the 2013 class could easily be in the top five or top three in the nation when all is said and done.