Oh, Trojans. (You can’t see me shaking my head right now.) So much talent, so little depth and so many injuries and issues. From coach Lane Kiffin’s issues with injury reporting and dealing with the media, to the distraction of media hype and the letdown of the Stanford loss—to Matt Barkley’s dashed Heisman hopes—the Trojans have been dealt a doozy so far this season.
And all of this while playing 10 players down. The USC faithful like to say “Our 75 is better than your 85,” but as I write this, Washington just knocked off No. 8 Stanford who just 12 days ago knocked off then No. 2 USC. The Pac-12 is flat up insane. Year in and year out, teams that shouldn't win, win. Teams that shouldn't lose, lose.
Anyway, USC certainly has the talent, just perhaps not enough of it. Which is, of course, what Paul Dee and the NCAA Committee on Infractions intended when it handed down the infamous sanctions related to the Reggie Bush case.
Most USC fans knew there would be issues, but didn’t expect them to surface quite so soon. With kicker Andre Heidari and center Khaled Holmes going down (not to mention several others lost for the season such as Devon Kennard and Scott Starr), it is hard not to wonder what if…
What if USC had 85 players? What if…USC had even just five of their 18 2013 commits playing on the team right now.
Let’s take a look at five 2013 Recruits Lane Kiffin's probably wishing he could gave right now:
WHO: DE Jason Hatcher (6'2", 240 pounds, Louisville, Ky.)
WHY: USC has depth issues at defensive end. The Trojans were thin at that position before the loss of Devon Kennard to a torn pectoral muscle.
The 4-star defensive end from Trinity High School in Louisville, Kentucky nearly committed to Louisville and Tennessee before Tee Martin sealed the deal for USC.
Hatcher is considered the No. 3 DE in the country by Rivals.com
Who: RB Ty Issac, 6'3", 220 pounds, 31" vertical jump
Why: We all saw the Stanford game when both RBs Curtis McNeal and Silas Redd were out with injuries and FB Soma Vainuku had to come in at RB, right? Well, that is why.
This 5-star running back out of Joliet, Illinois' Joliet Catholic Academy is the No. 1 rated RB in the country according to Scouts.com. He is tall and built like a TE with great speed and the ability to break into long runs. He is exceptional at changing directions and manning the sideline to sideline with wily elusiveness.
He is intelligent and a great route runner as wells as good receiver out of the backfield with the ability to split out or play in the slot. He is adept at the wingback position and Kiffin will likely use him inside running the blitz due to his size.
WHO: OG Khaliel Rodgers 6'3", 300 pounds, Eastern Christian Academy, Elkton, Maryland
WHY: USC's O-line is mediocre at best. Rodgers also plays center. And if this season has shown the Trojan fans one thing, it is how valuable a great center is.
Four-star Rodgers is listed as the No. 2 center in the country by Rivals.com. If this season has taught USC fans anything, it's that we need a good center. And Cyrus Hobbi may not live up to his billing, so Kiffin and company must hedge their bets with this young man.
WHO: OT Nico Falah 6'4", 267 pounds, runs the 40 in 5.03 seconds. Bellflower, CA's St. John Bosco HS
WHY: Four-star OT Falah is a local boy who could make an immediate impact on the depleted and inexperienced Trojan O-Line, were he enrolled this year at USC.
Falah is big, mobile and perhaps the most visible member of the O-line at St. John Bosco—a team filled with top Division I prospects.
WHO: CB Jalen Ramsey, 6'0", 190 pounds, runs the 40 in 4.54 seconds out of Nashville's Brentwood Academy
WHY: USC has been struggling against the pass all season. One reason is due to the ineligibility of CB Isiah Wiley who was expected to return for his senior season and start opposite Nickell Robey.
That didn't happen and replacements Torin Harris and Anthony Brown have not been as effective as the Trojans have needed them to be. Additionally Brian Baucham was hospitalized following the Cal game for breathing issues and has not yet been cleared medically. USC has a huge need for a second CB.
Nationally ranked third at his position, 5-star CB Ramsey committed to USC in July, but made his first official visit to Florida last weekend. USC has an immediate need at cornerback, as explained above.