USC Football: How Does Kiffin's 2015 Recruiting Strategy Stack Up?

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USC Football: How Does Kiffin's 2015 Recruiting Strategy Stack Up?
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Anyone who follows college football knows that USC head coach Lane Kiffin is most certainly on the "hot seat" for the 2013 season.

Following a dismal 7-6 campaign last year where the Trojans were expected to vie for the national championship, Kiffin and his coaching crew are all too aware that success this year is paramount if they expect to be invited back for the 2014 season and beyond.

So it should come as no surprise that the coaches are focusing on significant improvement in all areas of the program, and this extends to high school recruiting where USC has made offers to more than 66 prep players nationwide.

That's all well and good but this type of effort is to be expected out of a top program such as USC.

What might be more illuminating in terms of USC's future is how this embattled coaching staff is approaching the nuances of recruiting for the class of 2015 when Kiffin's tenure with the Trojans is almost completely uncertain.

In looking beyond the upcoming 2014 recruiting class, one finds that Kiffin and the recruiting department have offered 18 potential Trojans scholarships in the 2015 class to come west and play for USC.

Is this a case of bravado for a Trojan coaching staff under fire that is responding by confidently moving forward as if it will certainly be employed by USC two years from now or is it just business as usual for a top program in the way it goes about recruiting?

Well, in looking at some of the top programs in the nation, the answer to that question is not clearly evident.

For example, the first two programs I looked at reside in the vaunted SEC and their penchant for offering scholarships to 2015 recruits makes USC look like a piker when it comes to offering free rides.

Both Alabama (44 scholarship offers) and Florida (a whopping 48 offers) have left the Trojans in the dust when it comes to 2015 offers, and given the reputation of this mighty conference, I thought I was onto something when it came to prognosticating success relative to recruiting.

However, it turns out that maybe this is not the "Rosetta Stone" of success that I thought it was.

Given the need to focus on success in 2013, should the coaching staff be worried about 2015 recruiting?

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A deeper look into the conference finds two other well-regarded teams—LSU and Texas A&M—don't necessarily follow the lead of offering an abundance of future recruits.

In fact, as of this writing, LSU has only made offers to 24 2015 recruits and Texas A&M hasn't even gone that far after having only extended 20 offers at this time.

So maybe USC isn't lagging too far behind when it comes to recruiting beyond this year, but what about other top teams?

It turns out that the Trojans are also on pace with the likes of Notre Dame (24 offers) and Oklahoma (21 offers) in the area of future recruiting.

That is fine, you may be thinking, but what about the Pac-12? How does USC stack up when it comes to recruiting 2015 players against the likes of Oregon and Stanford—the cream of the conference crop?

Believe it or not, in its own conference, USC is well ahead of these two esteemed programs when it comes to turning its eye to the 2015 recruiting class.

Surprisingly, Stanford has only extended 11 offers to players in that class and—get a load of this—Oregon has only offered one player in the 2015 class a scholarship.

So what does this all mean in the grand scheme of college football recruiting and how does USC stack up when it comes to securing its success by pursuing high school football players beyond 2014?

Sadly, it turns out that an analysis of scholarships offered to the 2015 class offers mixed data at best.

Some very good programs offer an abundance of scholarships while others may not offer any.

What we are left with is a coach under fire who is pursuing a course of action that he feels comfortable with and probably isn't letting his circumstance dictate the way he runs his program.

Ultimately, that is best for all of those concerned with the future of USC Trojans football.

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