USC Football: Pressure Is on 2013 Recruiting Class To Help Trojans Rebound

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IFebruary 12, 2013

Jan 5, 2013; San Antonio, TX, USA; East defensive lineman Kenny Bigelow (98) talks to reporters after the U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school football game at the Alamodome. The East won 15-8. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

A disastrous 2012 campaign, combined with the losses of quarterback Matt Barkley and receiver Robert Woods, has USC facing a lot of uncertainty as it heads into the 2013-2014 season.

But while USC saw a few top recruits decommit from the program, plenty of talent still lies in the Trojans' 2013 recruiting class.

USC ended up with the No. 14 recruiting class in the nation in 2013, according to That includes four 5-star recruits and eight 4-star recruits.

Safety Su'a Cravens, defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow, pro-style quarterback Max Browne and safety Leon McQuay III were the big boppers for the Trojans. 

Beyond that, they landed two 4-star running backs, two 4-star offensive linemen, two 4-star linebackers, 4-star cornerback Chris Hawkins and 4-star receiver Steven Mitchell.

USC still has junior receiver Marqise Lee, who was actually the Trojans' leading pass-catcher last season (118 receptions, 1,721 yards, 14 touchdowns). It also still has senior running back Silas Redd. Nevertheless, a lot of responsibility will undoubtedly be placed on the shoulders of the entire 2013 class.

The likely battle for the starting quarterback job between Browne and sophomore Max Wittek will be something worth monitoring in particular. 

Wittek made two starts last season as a freshman. In those starts, he went a combined 28-of-60 for a dismal 4.9 yards per pass attempt while tossing two touchdowns to five interceptions.

Of course, asking the former 4-star recruit to face Notre Dame and then start in a bowl game right off the bat was asking for a lot. Wittek still holds promise.

After being ranked No. 1 in the AP preseason poll last season, USC floundered to a 7-6 record, capped off by a 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl. It was a tremendous disappointment for the program, and it puts head coach Lane Kiffin on the hot seat in 2013-2014.

But while depth will be an issue for the Trojans, they do have some significant recruits who have the ability to make an immediate impact in the Pac-12.

USC could either disappoint once again or shock the nation. It doesn't appear likely that there will be a middle ground.


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