USC Football: Predicting All the Commits Who Will Sign on NSD
As national signing day approaches on Feb. 5, Steve Sarkisian and his staff will be looking to deliver a memorable class for the men of Troy.
With 15 players verbally committed to USC—including five early entrants—Sark and his recruiting brain trust will be working overtime to ensure that his inaugural recruiting class will be the foundation for the success he hopes will follow.
However, as any person who follows recruiting knows, nothing is for sure until the player signs the dotted line on his letter of intent. For those who follow the Trojans, it is those signatures they will be sweating out on Feb. 5.
This slideshow will look at the players who have given USC their verbal pledge but have yet to sign with the Trojans.
Will these players stay true to their word?
Read on to find out...
Bryce Dixon (Tight End)
Dixon is a fabulous player at a position of need, and now it looks as though he will continue his football career catching passes from his current high school quarterback, Ricky Town—a recent verbal pledge to USC himself.
Prediction: Dixon will sign with the Trojans
Malik Dorton (Defensive End)
Labeled as a "soft verbal," Scout.com 3-star defensive end Malik Dorton at one time appeared destined to play his college ball somewhere else besides USC.
However, in an article by Scout.com's Lindsey Thiry (subscription required), Dorton said he was still good to go with USC. Said Dorton, "My offer is still on the table, my spot with USC is secure."
Although Dorton enjoyed his recent visit, anything can happen, but look for him to don the Cardinal and Gold when all is said and done.
Prediction: Dorton is likely to sign with the Trojans
John Plattenburg (Cornerback)
It is with much more certainty that Scout.com 4-star cornerback John Plattenburg will be a Trojan when Feb. 5 comes.
Plattenburg is a tremendous cornerback with great cover skills, and he hasn't wavered from his pledge since giving it to the Trojans a few weeks ago.
In fact, in a recent interview given to Scout.com's Brandon Huffman (subscription required), Plattenburg described why he chose USC. "The support system, the educational opportunities," he said, "being a part of the Trojan Family, there is so much for you and they do anything in their power to help you succeed."
Trojan fans should feel very good about his USC commitment.
Prediction: Plattenburg will sign with the Trojans
Rahshead Johnson (Wide Receiver)
When Steve Sarkisian was hired as USC's head coach, he knew there were certain players he had recruited at Washington who would serve him very well plying their trade for the men of Troy.
One of those players was Rahshead Johnson, a Scout.com 4-star receiver from Cabrillo High School in Long Beach, Calif.
Johnson is a talented athlete who will be given a long look as a slot receiver in Sark's hurry-up offense, although he will also get a chance to play on defense too.
A longtime Trojan fan, Johnson recently completed his official visit to USC and according to Scout.com's Greg Biggins (subscription required), he enjoyed everything about the trip, saying, "There is so much tradition at SC and I loved just soaking it all in.”
Prediction: Johnson will sign with the Trojans
Uchenna Nwosu (Outside Linebacker)
USC needs linebackers, and they have a verbal from a very good one in Narbonne High School (Harbor City, Calif.) outside 'backer, Uchenna Nwosu.
Nwosu is a Scout.com 3-star prospect who is just now finding out how good he can be.
At 6'2" but possessing a frame that can easily put on more weight than his current 210 pounds, Nwosu is supremely athletic and roams sideline to sideline with ferocious intensity.
At one time there was some question as to whether Nwosu would stick with his commitment after Sark was named head coach, but his recent visit to USC has removed any doubt as to where he would sign on Feb. 5.
Prediction: Nwosu will sign with the Trojans
Chris Brown (Offensive Lineman)
A recent Trojan pledge, Scout.com 4-star offensive lineman Chris Brown was an unheralded prospect at the beginning of this year but turned out to be one of the best players at his position in the nation by the end of the season.
At 6'6", 290 pounds, Brown is a physical force but nimble enough to dominate on the edges as a lead blocker.
Although there is no reason to believe that he won't honor his verbal pledge, Brown has been pretty quiet about USC, so suspicious minds will wait for his signature to confirm his intentions.
Prediction: Brown will likely sign with the Trojans
Jonathan Lockett (Cornerback)
Like Rahshead Johnson, Scout.com 4-star cornerback Jonathan Lockett was a former Washington pledge who quickly changed his mind and followed Steve Sarkisian to USC.
One of the most technically sound prep defensive backs in the nation, Lockett has the ability to play serious minutes as soon as he gets on campus at USC.
Probably one of the most solid of the USC verbals, fans can expect Lockett to stay true to his word when it comes time to sign on the dotted line.
Prediction: Lockett will sign with the Trojans
Viane Talamaivao (Offensive Guard)
Viane Talamaivao shocked the world when he decommitted from Alabama and gave the Trojans his verbal pledge in November.
Talamaivao is a dominant Scout.com 4-star prospect who is relentless in finishing his blocks both in the running game as well as in pass protection.
Part of the Polynesian connection that USC is cultivating in this class, Talamaivao has been an active recruiter in trying to sway other Polynesians such as Damien Mama and John "JuJu" Smith to sign with USC.
Look for Talamaivao to honor his verbal pledge to the Trojans.
Prediction: Talamaivao will sign with the Trojans
Ajene Harris (Wide Receiver)
Ajene Harris is a Scout.com 3-star quarterback/wide receiver who has been the subject of much conjecture regarding his Trojan future, especially after Steve Sarkisian took over for Ed Orgeron as USC's permanent head coach.
Harris is a 6''0", 170-pound athlete whose measurables won't particularly wow you, but he has undeniable football skills.
A recent visitor to USC, not much has been made of his trip, and there hasn't been a ton of buzz regarding Harris as of late.
Prediction: Harris is not a sure thing to sign with the Trojans
Olajuwon Tucker (Linebacker)
The last of the Feb. 5 signing day prospects featured in this slideshow is Scout.com 4-star linebacker, Olajuwon Tucker, an incredibly athletic player whose raw ability is off of the charts.
Tucker already possesses a college-ready body at 6'3", 229 pounds, and he has the kind of frame that will allow him to pack on more weight without sacrificing his ability to relentlessly pursue from sideline to sideline.
Having recently completed a trip to Washington State, Tucker also visited USC last week, and while there has been little buzz about the visit from Tucker himself, look for him to stay true to his pledge.
Prediction: Tucker will sign with the Trojans
Conspicuously absent from this list are the remaining targets USC has for what is left of their available scholarships in 2014.
Premier prospects such as Scout.com 5-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson, offensive lineman Damien Mama and athlete John "JuJu" Smith all remain firmly in the cross hairs of the Trojan recruiting brain trust.
Fans of the program will be waiting on pins and needles on Feb. 5 agonizing over those three players' decisions as well as those who have already given their verbal pledge to the Trojans.
However, when it comes to the minds of 18-year-old kids, nothing is for certain and one only needs to look back at the flip of DeAnthony Thomas on LOI (letter of intent) day to validate that assertion.
What is left is at best an educated guess as to whether or not the players who have given USC their verbal promise to sign will indeed follow through on their word.
Ultimately, if anyone wants to know for sure who will sign with the Trojans, they can always get back to me, and I will state with absolute certainty who has inked their name to a USC LOI.
Please just wait until Feb. 6 though, if you don't mind.