Steve Sarkisian continues to do well for himself on recruiting, as the USC Trojans reportedly have flipped UCLA Bruins defensive back commit John Plattenburg Jr. on Monday.
FOX Sports national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins reported the news and a quote from Plattenburg:
The 3-star cornerback out of Houston, Texas committed to UCLA back in November, but it appears the changing of the guard at USC has had an impact on his allegiance to the Bruins. New defensive backs coach Keith Heyward recruited Plattenburg hard while at Washington, and his presence at USC has had an influence on Plattenburg's change of heart, according to FOX Sports' Brandon Huffman:
His 5'10", 179-pound frame gives him good size, and he will only fill out more as he develops in college. Aside from the threat he provides in coverage, Plattenburg is an asset on kick returns and has a penchant for making quarterbacks pay for badly thrown balls.
Plattenburg's commitment to USC is a godsend for the Trojans, who have just two other defensive backs in the ranks for 2014. With Dion Bailey electing to enter the NFL draft, USC has just Josh Shaw and the freshman phenom Su'a Cravens as reliable starters for next season. Kevon Seymour is developing into a real talent at cornerback, but injuries have decimated the rest of the secondary.
Redshirt junior Anthony Brown, redshirt sophomore Ryan Henderson, redshirt freshman Devian Shelton, sophomore Ryan Dillard, freshman Chris Hawkins, freshman Leon McQuay III and senior Gerald Bowman are all waiting in the wings for USC, but injuries have prevented any of them making significant contributions to Troy.
Despite the work Clancy Pendergast did with the secondary, making the unit more respectable than it has been in years, the lack of depth and skill there still reared its ugly head in long-ball situations.
Even in his introductory press conference, Steve Sarkisian noted that USC's secondary has been one of the biggest victims of the NCAA sanctions, forcing players onto the gridiron before they are ready. He said he wanted to bring in more talent there—and flipping Plattenburg achieves that purpose.
With Plattenburg now in the ranks, USC secures more depth, and in return he gets the chance for early playing time.
The Trojans now have 17 of their 19 scholarships filled for 2014, but expect a few decommitments before national signing day arrives in February. According to FOX Sports' Lindsey Thiry, there are still some last-minute fireworks that could still go off at USC:
Buckle up, Trojan fans. Things are going to get very interesting for USC down the homestretch.
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