It hasn’t been pretty. Much like the 2012 USC football team who started out a preseason No. 1 and ended up 7-6 and unranked, the 2013 recruiting class has players decommitting left and right.
Most of the Lane Kiffin apologists cite his superior recruiting skills as a reason to place faith in him. Well, not to get too far off topic, but retaining commits as well as being able to guide and develop their talent also plays a large part in evaluating whether he is an effective coach or not.
USC’s recruiting class has largely been regarded as one of the best in the nation despite the epidemic of decommits lately. From the recent Kylie Fitts (who may still enroll in June) to Max Redfield (who committed to Notre Dame after dissing USC), a total of five players have bailed on USC in the past few weeks.
While this happens in every program, with the sanctions USC is operating under, it is particularly hard-hitting when they lose one, let alone five, recruits.
What is going on at Troy and within this coaching staff that was so heralded for its recruiting prowess?
It is true USC’s recruiting class is loaded with potential stars. 4-star and 5-star players litter the class, and even with the recent decommits, USC shouldn’t be hurting too much. And, let’s face it, it is still USC—it will not be hurting for players who want to play for Troy.
To date, USC has lost Eldridge Massington, Sebastian LaRue, Max Redfield, Eddie Vanderdoes and Kylie Fitts. While LaRue’s decommit wasn’t a shock—reportedly USC wanted LaRue to play cornerback and he wanted to play wide receiver—Fitts was a huge shock.
When Leon McQuay III committed last week, USC went over the 75 scholarships they are allowed with both Fitts and McQuay slated for early enrollment this coming week. The simple fact is McQuay is a better rated player and outstanding student academically, while Fitts is recovering from an injury that ended his senior season early and kept him out of much of the practices for the Under Armour All-America Game last weekend.
It seems that some of the decommit issues are arising when players want to enroll early and their isn’t space for them under USC’s sanctions and allowed team-member quota. USC must anticipate when players will graduate and when a student-athlete doesn’t finish on time—which isn’t an anomaly at USC even for non-athletes—and their scholarship is not available for a new recruit to use.
So, USC can and probably has or will find themselves in the position of having a player needing an extra semester to graduate, which keeps a new recruit from enrolling early. And when we are talking about recruits, we have to remember that these are 18-year-old teenagers, and they do not always think rationally—as teenagers are wont to do.
Following is a list of players still committed to USC. It should be noted that a number of them are still taking visits to other programs:
Safety Su’a Cravens—Vista Murrieta High School, Murrieta, Calif.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey—Brentwood Academy, Brentwood, Tenn.
Quarterback Max Browne—Skyline High School, Sammamish, Wash.
Defensive Tackle Kenny Bigelow—Eastern Christian Academy, Elkton, Md.
Safety Leon McQuay III—Armwood High School, Seffner, Fla.
Linebacker Michael Hutchings—De La Salle High School, Concord, Calif.
Cornerback Chris Hawkins—Rancho Cucamonga High School, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Wide Receiver Steven Mitchell—Bishop Alemany High School, Mission Hills, Calif.
Athlete Ty Isaac—Joliet Catholic Academy, Joliet, Ill.
Defensive End Jason Hatcher—Trinity High School, Louisville, Ky.
Running Back Justin Davis—Lincoln High School, Stockton, Calif.
Offensive Tackle Nico Falah—Saint John Bosco High School, Bellflower, Calif.
Defensive End Torrodney Prevot—Alief Taylor High School, Houston, Texas
Offensive Guard Khaliel Rodgers—Eastern Christian Academy, Elkton, Md.