Head coach Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans currently have the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation according to Rivals.com, but with programs like LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame and Alabama right behind them, how can they hold on to the top spot for 2013?
The world of college football recruiting is ever changing as recruits commit, recommit and eventually settle in, so USC is not necessarily guaranteed to finish No.1. It would be a huge accomplishment for Kiffin and his staff though, so it's a worthwhile goal.
Here's the blueprint for how the Trojans can keep the No. 1 recruiting class for 2013:
Keep Commits Committed:
This seems a bit self-explanatory, but it's an integral part of the recruiting process. Nobody's commitment is final until National Signing Day, so until then, even the strongest of commitments can be swayed away by another elite program.
Kiffin's class currently has 18 commitments, five of which are 5-star players. Keeping 5-star defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow, 5-star quarterback Max Browne, 5-star safety Su'a Cravens, 5-star running back Ty Isaac and 5-star corner Jalen Ramsey is a must for USC if they want to keep the No. 1 spot.
The issue is, with so much talent and depth, the chances of losing a talented 4-star player is high. USC has the challenge of trying to make everybody feel just as important as their Top Five recruits are.
A solid group of 3- and 4-star recruits is the key to having success as a recruiter, so keeping those talented 4-stars interested and feeling significant will have to be a focus for USC.
Attract At Least One More Elite Recruit:
Whether it be a very talented 4-star player, or a 5-star stud, USC needs to get at least one more elite recruit committed to their 2013 class. Two or three more would be optimal, but at this point even one more 4- or 5-star could put them over the top for good.
247Sports has USC amongst a big group of programs with "warm interest" from 5-star defensive tackle Toby Johnson (Rivals 4-star), and if they stepped up the recruiting process with him, they could make their way to the top of that list.
Another big name with USC near the the top of his interest list is 4-star defensive end Tim Williams, but the Trojans will have to out-recruit the likes of Alabama, Miami, LSU and Florida State. Other names to consider are 4-star safety (Rivals 5-star) Leon McQuay III, and even 5-star linebacker Matthew Thomas, who has USC as a "cool interest," but an interest none the less.
These are just a few recruits with interest in USC. If the Trojans can get commits from a few more of these elite players, I don't see how they can be overtaken for the No. 1 spot.
Sway Away An Elite Recruit:
USC is certainly not a stranger to the fact that recruits can and will be swayed away from their commitments, as strong as those commitments may seem, so a great way to stay on top of the recruiting rankings would be to get an elite recruit to sway over to their squad.
A player that could be an interesting option here is Auburn commit, 4-star inside linebacker Trey Johnson. Johnson is scheduled to take an official visit to USC in January, and considering the year that Auburn is having on the football field right now, perhaps the Trojans can take advantage and get him to sway away from the Tigers.
Getting a player like Johnson to de-commit and come on board with the Trojans would be a huge recruiting win for Kiffin and his staff, and it would also go a long ways towards bolstering his 2013 class as the No.1 group in the nation.
If he's able to do all three of these things laid out in the blueprint, there is no way anybody will be able to top the USC Trojans 2013 recruiting class.