USC Football Recruiting: The Good and Bad of National Signing Day

Amy LamareSenior Analyst IFebruary 6, 2013

PASADENA, CA - NOVEMBER 17:  Head coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans on the field before the game against the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl on November 17, 2012 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

At one point, USC had the No. 1 recruiting class in the nation with 18 highly sought-after players. At the end of national signing day, USC has a class full of 4-star and 5-star athletes ready to put on the cardinal and gold and play for the Trojans.

But the Trojans ended the day not at No. 1, not at No. 5. The final ranking for USC’s 2013 recruiting class is No. 14. While this would be great for, say, Vanderbilt, it is not what USC is used to by a long shot. Top 10 recruiting classes are expected. Top five classes are demanded.

How did this happen?

Well, much of it is sheer math. USC, due to those pesky sanctions, can only have 75 players on scholarship at any given time. This would have allowed the Trojans to sign 15 players maximum today.

Undersigning a class, whether by design or strategy, does have a tactical advantage. With 13 recruits in the class of 2013, USC is now free to sign 20 in 2014, the last year the Trojans will be hobbled by scholarship sanctions. USC will be able to have five early enrollees in 2014.


The Good

USC signed more 5-star recruits than any team in the nation, and more than any conference except the SEC and ACC, per Rivals. The 2013 Trojan class has an average star ranking of 4.42 (via

QB Max Browne is a total stud and will challenge Max Wittek and Cody Kessler for the starting job from the get go. Safety Su’a Cravens is a beast, the No. 1-ranked player at his position. Leon McQuay III is not just a 5-star DB, he’s also an academic superstar.

With RB Ty Isaac, USC gains the big, strong back the offense has been lacking in recent years. The 5-star running back out of Joliet Catholic High School in the Chicago suburb of Joliet, Ill., is 6’4” and 230 pounds, physically a great size for a tight end. Isaac should prove to make an immediate impact on the offense, playing alongside senior Silas Redd.

The 13 players Lane Kiffin and his staff brought in to USC are all-world-style athletes. Each and every one of them is well poised to make an immediate contribution to the team. USC, in the past decade or so, has never shied away from starting freshmen. Expect many of this 13-strong class of ’13 to be starters in the fall.

The Bad

There were only 12 (plus Darreus Rogers from last year’s class) when the day ended. While there is an advantage to this, as mentioned earlier, there is more to worry about. USC is just 75 players strong. Depth is a big issue. Attrition due to injury is a critical issue that cost USC a few games in 2012.

Is this class of 13 recruits big enough to help USC, or will the Trojans limp along like they did in 2012?  Time will tell, and in this case, I do happen to think Lane Kiffin knows what he’s doing. After all, for all of his faults, he is still laboring under a disadvantage. The class he signed will give USC the most advantage the Trojans could get.

Then there are the losses. Players USC wanted, who signed elsewhere, including at USC’s biggest rivals.

UCLA grabbed former USC commits DE Kylie Fitts and WR Eldridge Massington, closing out the Pac-12’s No. 1 recruiting class. Yeah, that just doesn’t sound right to Trojans, does it?

Torrodney Prevot, the 4-star defensive end who decommitted from USC on Tuesday evening, is now an Oregon Duck.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and OLB Matthew Thomas are Florida State Seminoles.

And, of course, Eddie Vanderdoes is now a Domer.


Amy is the lead USC football writer for B/R. Follow her on Twitter at @GridironGoddess