The USC Trojans have officially lost out on 4-star defensive end Kylie Fitts.
Fitts, a former USC commitment, still had the Trojans as an option as his decision day approached, but according to Adam Gorney of Rivals.com on Twitter, the talented recruit has instead chosen to go to UCLA:
Adam Gorney @adamgorney
Former #USC commit Kylie Fitts has committed to #UCLA2013-2-6 02:58:43
This will go down as yet another recruiting loss for Lane Kiffin and the Trojans. USC may not have lost Fitts tonight per say, but it definitely lost out on him considering that at one time Fitts looked like a Trojan through and through.
He left the class because there wasn't room for him to enroll early at the time, and he was informed of that just days before he was planning on attending USC for the upcoming semester. It was obviously a turn of events that created a rift between Fitts and USC, and in the end—the Trojans loss is UCLA's gain.
Frankly, losing on the recruiting trail has become a trend for USC, and this is the worst time of the recruiting cycle to start bad trends.
I also reported today that 4-star defensive end Torrodney Prevot would not sign with the Trojans on Wednesday, and instead will choose between Texas A&M and Oregon, per Greg Powers of Scout.com on Twitter:
Greg Powers 🏟 @GPowersScout
Can positively conform that Prevot has informed the #USC staff that he will no longer sign with SC. #TAMU #Oregon #NSD2013-2-5 21:16:51
This came after the initial bad news of the day for the Trojans (per Rivals)—the flip of 5-star cornerback Jalen Ramsey from USC to Florida State. Finally, almost as if stirred by a "domino effect", news broke via Scott Van Pelt of ESPN Radio that 4-star defensive end Jason Hatcher was decommiting from USC as well, per John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader on Twitter.
John Clay @johnclayiv
Scott Van Pelt just said on ESPN radio that Jason Hatcher is de-committing from USC to sign with Kentucky. Hatcher to announce Wed. #bbn2013-2-5 20:38:19
This all happened in one day—the day before national signing day. Also known as—the worst day possible to lose a commitment.
USC may have been hit the hardest today, but this was a storm that has been brewing over the Trojans program for a while. The Trojans started off extremely strong on the recruiting trail but have taken a massive fall since. Eerily enough it's rather reminiscent of the year they had on the football field, coming in with the No. 1 ranking and all the hype in the world.
Remember, the Trojans have also lost the commitment of 5-star defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, 5-star safety Max Redfield (now a Notre dame commitment), 4-star wide receiver Eldridge Massington (who wanted to enroll early to rehab a knee injury but wasn't able to) and 4-star receiver Sebastian LaRue (who wanted to play wideout although he was recruited by USC as a defensive back).
Not all of those decommitments were recruits simply spurning USC per say, but the fact of the matter remains that at one point and time all of those players were committed to USC—and now they're not.
Blame it on the poor season on the field, Monte Kiffin's resignation, the changes to the assistant staff, or place the blame squarely on the head coach's shoulders.
No matter what way you look at it, something is obviously not right.
In the end though, fair or not and no matter how we perceive it, the blame for this negative recruiting trend will go on Kiffin's record.
He's the head coach and the face of the program, and ultimately his reputation is the one that gets hit the most as recruits decide that USC is not the best place for them—for whatever reason.
This is becoming a trend for Kiffin, and that's not a good thing for USC.