USC has hired former Trojans assistant Steve Sarkisian as head coach, according to 247Sports and several other reports, inciting reactions from an array of recruiting targets.
Sarkisian served as quarterbacks coach and eventually offensive coordinator during two separate stints at USC (2001-'03, 2005-'08). He leaves behind a head coaching job at Washington, where he went 34-29 with one bowl victory in five seasons at the helm.
Uncertainty has swirled around the Trojans coaching situation since September, when Lane Kiffin was fired following a 3-2 start and three inconsistent seasons. The team responded impressively, rounding out the Pac-12 schedule with six victories in its final seven conference contests under interim coach Ed Orgeron.
The future of USC's coaching staff remains unknown, but Orgeron won't be a part of it. The longtime USC recruiting coordinator left the program immediately in the aftermath of Sarkisian's hiring.
Ed Orgeron "outraged" didn't receive USC job & resigns. OC Clay Helton expected to coach bowl, source told @ESPN— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) December 2, 2013
That opens the door for renowned recruiting guru Tosh Lupoi to follow Sarkisian from Washington.
Steve Sarkisian wants to bring defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi to #USC— InsideUSC (@InsideUSC) December 2, 2013
Some of the nation's most coveted prospects have quickly responded to the coaching move.
5-star prospect Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif.) seemed pleased with the choice. The Freedom High School running back is looking at USC in a different light with Sarkisian in charge.
Washington was listed among Mixon's favorites prior to the coaching change. He is also considering Wisconsin, Oklahoma, California, Oregon and Florida State.
Los Angeles area standout Adoree' Jackson has long viewed USC among his top options. The 5-star athlete had an immediate reaction to the hiring.
Coach Sark . USC head Coach .. Oh Boy— SWEET PEA (@AdoreeKnows) December 2, 2013
Jackson also has Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Oregon and UCLA in the mix. He later elaborated on his thoughts during a conversation with Los Angeles Times writer Eric Sondheimer.
"That's pretty crazy," Jackson told Sondheimer. "I thought he'd stay at Washington. I like Sarkisian. He's like Orgeron, very hyped up. I think he will be good for USC."
Wide receiver Shay Fields (Bellflower, Calif.) committed to USC in October. He's looking forward to potential changes in the team's offensive approach.
"Hopefully he brings the spread offense to USC," Fields told Sondheimer. "It's the receiver's dream."
Trojan commit Malik Dorton, a 4-star defensive end, expressed surprise that Orgeron wouldn't retain the head coaching position moving forward.
"I can't get over that they didn't hire Coach Orgeron," Dorton told FOX Sports reporter Lindsey Thiry. "I like Coach Sark. If it had to be somebody [other than Orgeron], I'm okay with him."
How do you think the hiring of Steve Sarkisian will impact USC recruiting?
Standout junior Zach Okun (Newbury Park, Calif.) has been heavily considering Washington. The 4-star offensive guard may now put more of a focus on USC.
"USC hiring Sark is huge for me," he told 247Sports writer Justin Hopkins. "I've built a pretty solid relationship with him and his departure to USC really intrigues me."
Expect recruit reaction to continue as news of Sarkisian's hiring reverberates throughout the college football spectrum. With more than two months remaining until national signing day, there's plenty of time for the Trojans' new coach to make his mark on the 2014 class.