USC Football Recruiting: Analyzing the Jordan Poland Decommitment

Rick McMahanSenior Writer IJanuary 3, 2014

Jordan Poland
Jordan Polandphoto from

On the surface, the recent news of's 3-star offensive tackle Jordan Poland seems disappointing for those who follow the men of Troy.

After all, Poland has the size (6'8", 335 pounds) to be dominant at the next level, and Lord knows USC needs offensive linemen in this class.

Also, Poland was the first Trojan verbal commitment in the 2013 class and stayed the course throughout the Kiffin drama and ensuing Orgeron and Helton regimes.

Under normal circumstances, that disappointment would be understandable, but a look deeper into Poland's recruitment finds tangible reasons on both sides for the parting of ways, which manifested itself when Poland flipped to Arizona on Thursday, according to Blair Angulo of

From Poland's perspective, it made sense for him to look around since USC made little—if any—effort to keep in contact with him after Steve Sarkisian was named head coach of the Trojans.

With four other offensive linemen having already given their verbal pledges to USC (according to, perhaps Poland simply saw the writing on the wall and decided his opportunities would be better placed elsewhere.

Damien Mama
Damien Mamaphoto from

Why would Sarkisian not be interested in a huge lineman with skills—albeit raw—when USC is in such need for "big uglies?"

Well, that was probably part of the problem for Sark—Poland is awfully raw in terms of his skill set.

While the potential is obviously there, Poland will need a lot of work, and with USC's depleted roster being a preeminent concern for 2014, recruits—even precocious true freshmen—might be needed to contribute immediately. That wasn't going to happen with Poland.

Part of the reason for Poland's lack of polish has to do with the fact that he didn't even play prep ball this year due to eligibility issues when he transferred to La Jolla High School in San Diego.

Even that wasn't a primary concern for USC's coaching staff, though, because originally, Poland was supposed to enroll early and get extra time in by participating in spring practice.

Therein lays the problem.

USC had four leftover scholarships form 2012, and one of those early entrants was destined to be Poland, but when it came time to consolidate that list of guys who could come in early, Poland was not available for whatever reason (academics?).

Speculation aside, whatever the reason for Poland's absence, it created a severe problem for Sark, who then had to scramble to fill that extra early spot—which he did when Idaho defensive lineman Don Hill signed with USC.

Kammy Delp
Kammy Delpphoto from

This could not have endeared Poland to Sarkisian, and to compound the problems even more for Poland was the fact that USC is dealing with limited available scholarships. Plus, USC already has one very big offensive lineman possibly looming as a commitment.

Damien Mama is a 5-star offensive lineman who has professed a significant fondness for the Cardinal and Gold and is considered a real possibility to sign with USC.

If Mama doesn't come onboard, USC still has its eyes set on other, more accomplished linemen, such as Kammy Delp, a highly regarded prospect who has professed much love for the Trojans but has placed them low on his interest list because USC has yet to offer.

That may soon change though, as Sarkisian offered Delp while at Washington. Speculation has already started that he may do the same now that he is at USC.

When all is said and done, Poland's decommitment should not come as a surprise, nor should it be viewed as a disappointment for those who follow the men of Troy.

Instead, this was a decision that was mutually agreed upon by both parties, and everyone will benefit.

Arizona will get a big offensive lineman with whom they can take their time and mold as a player, and Poland will have an opportunity to learn and grow in his position.

USC will benefit because the scholarship that wouldn't have been used well with Poland can now go to a guy who can contribute sooner rather than later.

In the business world, this would be known as a "win-win."

In the world of scholarship-strapped USC, however, it was simply necessary.