Amidst all of the hand wringing concerning the status of USC's 2013 recruiting class by pundits and fans of the program, there remains one undeniable fact:
Even if things don't go as hoped regarding the balance of this group of prep stars, the Trojans will undoubtedly land a top 10 class in terms of national rankings.
With a stellar group of players enrolling early, USC has the core of a very productive cadre of players, all of whom will be counted on to return the Trojans to prominence sooner rather than later.
Still, there are justifiable concerns for this class and not all of the news out there is favorable.
This slideshow will look at some question marks and how Lane Kiffin and his staff may still wind up with a class that can make a difference in years to come.
Can the Trojans regroup and get back on track?
Yes, but they will have to overcome some obstacles and finish with a bang...
One of the biggest news stories regarding this class is the recent decommitment of Scout.com 5-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes.
At the time, Vanderdoes said it was just a matter of making sure he was making the right decision in committing to the Trojans and that he would make a decision in February.
For those associated with the program, they could nervously laugh and say that it was okay, at least USC would get big Eddie's last visit and the Trojans could be the ones who would leave the lasting impression on his mind prior to his decision.
So much for that.
That is a big blow for the Trojans and realistically, it no longer appears that Vanderdoes holds the Trojans in high esteem.
Of course, many things can change between now and signing day, but optimism for his signing with USC is definitely waning.
While things may not be looking good for USC to land Eddie Vanderdoes, there is another player who fits an area of need that is giving the Trojans some reason for optimism.
Junior college offensive lineman Desmond Harrison has recently named USC one of his top three programs and there is reason to think that the Trojans might even have the inside track to land the big tackle from Contra Costa J.C.
Harrison—a beast at 6'8", 320 pounds—is ready to perform at the next level and holds offers from programs such as Alabama and Oklahoma, among many others.
In addition to the Trojans, Harrison is looking hard at Arizona State and Texas A&M, but according to Scout.com's Greg Biggins, "USC is a school he has liked forever and they have recruited him very hard, especially in the last month.”
After last year's offensive line woes, the addition of a guy like Harrison would be welcomed indeed.
So what if the Trojans either lose another player or are not able to get one they think they have a chance at?
Well, at that point, USC will lower their sights a bit and focus on other players that they might not otherwise would have looked at.
According to ESPN.com's Blair Angulo, two players in the mix for an offer are Los Angeles, Salesian high school wide receiver/defensive back Jermaine Kelly and Narbonne high school linebacker Keishawn Bierria.
Though they are not premier players, both of these guys are very good. Bierria, in particular, would fill a need for the Trojans in a unit that will likely lose Dion Bailey to a position shift to safety.
To be certain, there will be a lot of movement commitment-wise, prior to national letter of intent signing day.
Mitigating factors, such as who will be named defensive coordinator, will also go a long way toward crafting the final list of the players who sign with the Trojans.
And if history is any barometer, the Trojans will deliver at least one signing day surprise as well.
All of which makes for great theater as February 6 draws near.
Can the Trojans reclaim the momentum in recruiting that a disappointing season appears to have cost them?
Absolutely, but Lane Kiffin and his staff will have to do a lot of things right between now and LOI signing day.
Ultimately, USC needs a strong finish with this recruiting class to establish some momentum for a crucial 2013 season where Kiffin's job may depend on success in the upcoming year.
So go get 'em coach. Recruit like your job depends on it.
Because that may very well be true.