This year is not turning out quite like the USC Trojans had planned. BCS National Championship gone. Pac-12 Conference championship highly unlikely. Heisman Trophy for their quarterback, also probably not going to happen.
So, what's a 2013 USC verbal commit recruit to think of all this? Some of the Trojans' esteemed 2013 class appear to be sticking like glue to their beloved USC.
Others? Not so much.
Even prior to the Oregon game, some of the "strong verbal" commits have indicated they will take visits to other schools. Most of them are couching it in terms of still being committed to USC, and they very well may be, but one has to wonder.
Do the Ducks have a chance at any of these highly-recruited kids? Read on.
Technically, if the Ducks were to land 4-star safety Max Redfield, it would not count as a "flip" from USC. The nation's No. 3-rated safety re-opened his recruitment Sunday night and has de-committed from his verbal commitment to USC.
According to Justin Hopkins, West Coast Analyst for 247Sports.com, Redfield "is in the process of setting up an official visit to Oregon, which he claims will likely happen within the next month." Redfield, 6'3", 195 lbs, is from Mission Viejo, CA. He originally committed to USC in July.
The smart money for Redfield is on Notre Dame. He visited the Irish recently and was reportedly smitten. Redfield also plans to visit Washington on Nov. 10. But last summer, Oregon was definitely in the running for Redfield before his commitment to the Trojans.
You have to believe that once he sees Oregon's facilities, the visit to Notre Dame might fade a bit. Plus, Eugene is a heckuva lot closer to Mission Viejo than South Bend, IN.
Of course, USC is still fighting (Fight On) to keep Redfield. However, that program is suddenly embattled, and I'm not just talking about its three conference losses this season.
I like Oregon's chances for landing Redfield, the nation's No. 31-rated overall player.
Way back on July 9, I shared a tweet with you from Nico Falah. It simply read "Win the Day."
I took it to mean that the 4-star offensive lineman was considering the Ducks. Two days later, Falah broke hearts all over the state of Oregon when he verbally committed to USC.
Falah is still committed to USC, but announced today that he will visit Oregon after all. The 6'4", 267 lbs offensive tackle from Bellflower, CA, has said that the Ducks have OK'd an official visit, even though he remains verbally committed to the Trojans. After a talk with Oregon's offensive line coach, Steve Greatwood, last week, it was agreed that Falah would visit Eugene on Nov. 17 for the game with Stanford.
USC is still in the driver's seat for Falah, the No. 16-rated offensive tackle in the nation. Cal and Washington are also still in the hunt.
Will Falah flip to Oregon? Hard to tell. He is saying all the right things about his ongoing commitment to the Trojans.
However, you have to wonder if any further incidents like USC's deflating of game balls or jersey-switching on poor Colorado, coupled with Oregon's on-the-field success and off-the-field people and facilities might open the door a crack.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I give Oregon's chances with Falah a six.
First, it must be said that Oregon does not have a single linebacker commit in the class of 2013. Uh-oh.
Second, there is no evidence that 4-star outside linebacker Michael Hutchings is wavering in his commitment to USC. Hutchings is very busy currently, playing for his De La Salle high school team, who is 10-0 on the season.
There is no reason to think that Hutchings, the No. 8-rated OLB and No. 55-rated overall player in the nation will bolt from the Trojans. Yet, Joe Aliotti, an assistant coach at De La Salle, is you-know-who's brother.
Something is telling me that Nick Aliotti should visit.
As with Hutchings, there is no reason to suspect that 4-star linebacker Torrodney Prevot is getting nervous about his verbal commitment to USC.
The 6'3", 201 lbs Houston, TX, native visited Oregon in October during the Washington game, and there was silence on all fronts after that official visit. Prevot was quoted back in September—before he took his official visit to Oregon—saying: "I'm 100-percent committed to USC."
The only reason Prevot is in this piece is because of the excellent Texas connections that Oregon has developed over the past few years—LaMichael James, anyone?
Prevot is the No. 16-rated OLB in the nation. He's probably a long shot to flip, but stranger things have happened.
Eddie Vanderdoes is a smart kid.
While his commitment to USC remains "solid verbal," he told recruiting analyst Rob Cassidy today that he wants to have backup options, just in case:
It's one of those things where if something happens, it's good to have backup options, Vanderdoes said on Thursday. As I get close to signing day and, for example, if USC defensive coordinator Ed Orgeron leaves for the NFL or something like that, I want to make sure I know my options. Things like that have happened in the past.
Vanderdoes has not taken an official visit to Oregon, but last summer before he committed to USC, his top three favorites were LSU, USC and Oregon.
According to Cassidy, the first scheduled visit for Vanderdoes will be to UCLA on Nov. 24, when the Bruins play Stanford. Vanderdoes is the No. 4-rated defensive tackle in the nation, and the No. 33-rated overall prospect.
Maybe the Ducks should put in a good word for Orgeron with the NFL.
Kay Jennings is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.