Longtime football coach Monte Kiffin will soon resign as the assistant head coach of the USC Trojans in a move that is sure to have implications on the recruiting trail.
Pedro Moura of ESPN.com reports on the elder Kiffin's decision to leave USC:
The 72-year-old Kiffin, who came to USC when his son, Lane, was hired as coach in January 2010, said in a statement he plans to pursue opportunities in the NFL. He said he made his resignation announcement now to help USC's recruiting efforts and to keep attention on the team's bowl-game preparation.
"I really enjoyed my time at USC and the opportunity I had to work with our players and coaches," Monte Kiffin said in the statement, released Thursday night on the school's official site. "The chance to work for my son, Lane, was unique and memorable, but we always treated each other professionally on a coach-to-coach basis."
Coaching shakeups are a part of college football, especially this season, and they typically have a negative impact on recruiting—even at the assistant coaching level. Most recruits actually have a better recruiting relationship with assistant and position coaches due to their role in recruiting, so losing an assistant can sometimes be just as detrimental as losing a head coach.
But how will Kiffin's resignation impact USC recruiting, specifically?
At least in the short term, the Trojans are going to have to be very attentive in regards to their defensive commitments. Even though Kiffin's title was assistant head coach, he was mainly responsible for calling the defense in-game—something most recruits will be aware of.
First and foremost, Lane Kiffin needs to find a replacement, and he needs to do it fast. Uncertainty is horrible for recruiting, and USC's defensive commitments are going to want to know what's in store for their future.
Who's going to be running the defense? Will the scheme change, and will I be able to fit a new scheme if it does? How will the new coach plan on utilizing me?
Those are all questions current commitments will want to know.
USC's 2013 class features elite 5-star defensive recruits like defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow, safety Su'a Cravens and cornerback Jalen Ramsey, so bringing in a coach that these recruits can connect with is huge.
Looking outside of USC to fill the void is an option, but there's also Ed Orgeron, who coaches the defensive line and actually has the defensive coordinator title—whatever that means.
There's also the fact that the loss of Monte could hurt USC with current recruiting targets who may have felt a connection with him. Mike Farrell of Rivals.com Tweeted that 5-star safety Leon McQuay III could be one of those players:
USC doesn't have room for many more recruits, but there are still some talented players out there that the Trojans are targeting. If Monte played in a role in drawing them to USC, this could end up swaying them to join a different program.
Another thing to take into account is how the uncertainty surrounding who's calling the defense could hurt USC in regards to potential recruits for 2013. Tahaan Goodman,a 4-star safety, and 4-star defensive end Tim Williams are two recruits that have major interest in USC, and one has to wonder how Monte's resignation will impact both of their recruiting processes.
Either way, getting a new defensive play-caller in place as soon as possible has to be priority No. 1 for Lane Kiffin and the Trojans.