One of the most maddening things about trying to predict which college talented high school players will wind up is that, until the ink is dry on their letters of intent, there are no guarantees.
Time after time, verbal commitments are broken on signing day, and college football coaches are left to scramble to fill voids that they thought they had secured only to lose a player to the fickle vagrancies of youth.
To be certain, more coaches will be blindsided on February 6th when those high school players put pen to paper and decide where they will ply their athletic trade for the next four years.
Trojan fans will recall that their program is not immune to those broken promises either. Remember Arik Armstead last year and—shudder—De'Anthony Thomas in 2011?
So it is natural that a nervous fanbase would be concerned about the status of this year's ESPN No. 1-ranked class, especially given the trials and tribulations that USC has experienced on the field of play.
Well, you can relax Trojan fans. Things should be just fine for this recruiting class.
Despite the recent defection of safety Max Redfield, who backed away from his verbal commitment to the Trojans, the rest of this class looks pretty solid.
Yes, offensive guard Nico Falah took a trip to Oregon and says they are back "in it", but he still remains committed to USC as of this writing.
And they are not alone. Su'a Cravens, possibly the best player in the west, is also the Trojans' greatest salesman on this side of the country, and he is joined by cornerback Chris Hawkins, who is firm in his pledge to the cardinal and gold.
In fact, not one other verbally-committed player has backed off of their intention to play for the men of Troy, and most of them have decided against even taking trips to other schools—like many others do.
All of which portends for a very rosy beginning to the month of February for USC.
Will USC finish with a top-five recruiting class this year?
Of course, things could conceivably change if the Trojans lay another egg and lose decisively to Notre Dame on Saturday.
Perhaps one or two recruits could look elsewhere if USC falls flat and those prep players find pastures greener elsewhere.
If this were to happen, two observations should be made: One, those players should be considered faint-hearted, and USC is likely better off without them. Also, there are many other players such as safety Leon McQuay and defensive tackle Justin Manning—both excellent players—very interested in taking their place.
Which brings us to the final piece of the puzzle and his name is Lane Kiffin.
You see, without Kiffin none of this happens.
For those of you laying the Trojans' 2012 disaster completely at his feet and calling for his head, also understand that this class would implode with a coaching change.
For all of the venom being spit at Kiffin, few would argue that the man is not a master recruiter.
So, in summary, the outlook for USC's 2013 recruiting class is rosy and will stay that way as long as this coaching staff remains relatively intact. (Yes, I know there will be some off season changes)
In a season where there is little for Trojan fans to celebrate, they will at least be smiling come February.