The USC Trojans have the opportunity to be a major contender in the recruiting process for 5-star athlete Nathan Starks, but they need to make him an offer first.
Starks is an extremely talented recruit out of Las Vegas, Nevada, and he's ranked as the No. 3 athlete in the 2014 class, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
He can play running back or safety, so he'd be a major recruit for USC to bring into the fold for 2014. According to Rob Cassidy of Rivals.com, the Trojans are one of three teams on top of Starks list:
USC, of course, has not made an official scholarship offer as of yet, but the Trojans seems close. Starks does carry invites from both OU and Notre Dame, though. And as he breaks down the reasons each school is near the top of his list, he seems confident.
"I'd like to get out and visit all of three of them a lot," he said. "They are potentially the schools I'll go to. They're the schools I want to see and want to get to know. I know a little bit about all of them already."
It was also reported by Cassidy that Starks has yet to have much contact with USC's staff:
Notre Dame assistant Tony Alford is handling Starks' recruitment for Notre Dame. Starks is hesitant to name a lead recruiter for USC at this time because actual contact with the Trojans' staff has been limited. Instead, USC has been dealing mostly with his coaches to this point.
For now, it seems like Oklahoma and Notre Dame have an edge for the 5-star recruit (Oklahoma is listed as the top team on his 247Sports interest list), but all of that can change if and when USC gives him an offer.
At this point it seems far more like a "when" situation than an "if."
Starks is obviously extremely interested in the Trojans, so out-recruiting the Sooners and Fighting Irish may come down to simply just offering the elite athlete. Frankly, at this point, I'm not sure what Kiffin and his staff are waiting for. Starks is an extremely talented recruit with unlimited potential.
He has good size at 5'11'', 200 pounds, and he combines that with top-notch speed. He runs a 4.46 40 according to 247Sports.
Starks projects best as a running back, in my opinion. He's a strong runner who shows incredible patience. He has great vision and has the ability to wait for the hole to open up, and once it does, he has the burst to explode through and get to the second level. He also has the second gear that allows him to out run secondary players, once he breaks that second plane.
He has the power and size to run between the tackles, but he'll also be quick enough to win the edge on stretch plays. His best move may be his cutback move, and he displays tremendous body control, elusiveness and footwork.
Where will Starks end up?
USC is set at running back right now, with Silas Redd and Tre Madden expected to be major contributors, and there's also 5-star 2013 recruit Ty Isaac and 4-star Justin Davis to consider as well. That said, by the time Starks is ready to sign, that depth chart will look a bit more forgiving, and he'll be talented enough to compete for playing time early on. He could also take a redshirt to further his chances of being "the guy" on USC's depth chart of the future.
Last season may have been rough for USC, but the Trojans still possess a program with championship potential. If USC can put a good run together in 2013, that future will look much brighter to this 2014 class, and that, plus the allure of playing in Los Angeles for a college football powerhouse, could be enough to draw in and keep a recruit like Starks.
He already has the interest, so all USC has to do is make an offer.