4-star linebacker Derik Calhoun, one of the Trojans' top players in the class of 2014, decommitted from USC on Sunday, the first of what could be many lost recruits in the wake of head coach Lane Kiffin's firing.
Update: Monday, Oct. 21
According to Brandon Huffman of Scout.com, Calhoun has now indeed decommitted from USC.
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Update: Monday, Sep. 30 – 5:04 p.m. ET
According to 247Sports, Calhoun's father—while unable to pledge his son's undying fealty to USC—denied the report of Derik's decommitment. His unofficial quotes:
DJ is waiting to hear from USC. We are meeting as a family to discuss it further. We both wish Kiffin well.
So we are all clear…Dj did not de-commit from USC.
For now, Calhoun is still penciled in to join the Trojans next season. But it hardly sounds like a sure thing.
--END OF UPDATE--
Chris Smith of 247Sports had the news:
Calhoun plays at El Cerrito High School, a program that, despite lying closer to the Bay Area than Los Angeles, has long been an in-state pipeline for USC talent. He was supposed to be the next very good defender in that line, but now that appears to be in doubt.
Ranked No. 162 on the 247Sports composite, Calhoun is among the 15 best outside linebacker prospects entering college football next season.
He's a little bit undersized (6'0'', 201 lbs.), but as noted by ESPN's Recruiting Nation, that might give him potential to play safety or rover at the next level.
According to 247Sports, Calhoun had 25 other interested schools before committing to USC in early July. He received offers from 18 of those programs, including conference foes like Arizona, Arizona State, Cal, Oregon State, UCLA and Utah, along with non-conference powerhouses like Nebraska and Miami.
This is the first domino to fall after Kiffin's abrupt firing, and just like the dismissal itself, it arose in the blink of an eye. Kiffin was shown the door right after a 62-41 loss at Arizona State, and Calhoun headed for the door right after that move.
USC football is in a definite state of flux right now, a far cry from just 14 months ago when it was ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll. The Trojans are 0-2 in the Pac-12, don't appear to have a plan going forward and don't have a leader roaming the sidelines.
Even with the name-brand cache that USC provides, what kind of blue-chip recruit would want to walk into that environment? Who wouldn't at least take time to evaluate safer options?