Christmas came early for Steve Sarkisian and the USC Trojans on Saturday evening when a top-rated quarterback in the class of 2015, Ricky Town, announced he had committed to USC. This decision came after having just decommitted from Alabama earlier Saturday morning.
Scout.com's Greg Biggins shared the details:
Biggins went on to say that for Town, the decision to flip didn't take long:
Town was on campus earlier and committed before heading out to dinner, Trojan assistant coach Marques Tuiasosopo did a great job with the QB— Greg Biggins (@GregBiggins) January 26, 2014
The 5-star quarterback is the No. 1-rated pocket passer and No. 3 prospect overall for the 2015 recruiting cycle, per 247sports.com. He's a huge get for Sarkisian as the coach goes about putting the finishing touches on his inaugural 2014 class.
Furthermore, it says a lot about the impression Sarkisian and his staff are already leaving on the recruiting trail, as USC has flipped another highly coveted recruit from the Crimson Tide. For the 2014 cycle, USC lured 4-star offensive guard Viane Talamaivao away from Nick Saban's arsenal, and though Ed Orgeron locked him in while he was the interim head coach, Sarkisian's staff kept him in the ranks.
As noted, Town is a pocket passer, which says that while Sarkisian wants to breathe some new life into the offense by implementing a hurry-up scheme, he still wants to have the kind of quarterback calling the shots that USC is known for producing.
If Sarkisian can continue to poach talent away from other powerhouse programs, it says a lot about what his future recruiting classes could look like.
When USC announced the coach's hire back in December, fans and media members alike were skeptical and even downright doubtful of him. In just over a month on the job, however, Sarkisian assembled an impressive staff, landed commitments from top-rated recruits and even convinced athletes like 4-star OG Damien Mama, who was not even considering USC while Kiffin was at the helm, to give the Trojans another look.
Town spoke very highly of the new regime in a text message to ESPN.com's Blair Angulo, where he elaborated on his quick decision:
I'm proud to be a part of the Trojan Family! I've seen many of the top programs and what they have to offer. However, when I had the chance to get on the USC campus last week and spend time with Coach Sarkisian and his staff, I knew after those meetings that USC is where I want to be. The coaches are upbeat, focused and committed to winning and I completely believe in them. I chose USC because of the tradition, the academics and the incredible coaching staff. This is an amazing opportunity to be a part of something really special. Fight On!
Though he won't arrive at USC until 2015, Town's decision already had an impact on USC's 2014 recruiting class. Tight end Bryce Dixon was scheduled to take an official visit to UCLA over the Jan. 31 weekend, but he has since cancelled and will spend that weekend in Troy instead, per Angulo:
Rivals.com's Adam Gorney shed some light as to why:
Bryce Dixon is going to #USC. Once Ricky Town committed last night that shut everybody else out.— Adam Gorney (@adamgorney) January 26, 2014
Additionally, 2-star defensive back and preferred walk-on Davonte Nunnery tweeted his excitement Saturday night about spending his college years with his St. Bonaventure high school teammates:
According to Scout.com's Greg Biggins, the changing of the guard at USC has a lot to do with Town aligning himself with Troy. When Sarkisian came on board, he reached out to Town, as the signal-caller had said he would be open to USC once it named a new coach. The quarterback has a preexisting relationship with offensive coordinator Clay Helton and tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo, which helped move things along.
In fact, Town had already made his mind up before he even arrived on campus. He told Biggins:
I knew USC was where I wanted to be before I took the visit today. I had some great meetings with Coach Sark and Helton last week and just had that feeling that USC was the best fit. Before I drove up, I prayed about it and knew I was going to commit but I wasn't sure if it would be today or a couple of days from now.
While it's easy to think the narrative around Town decommitting from 'Bama for USC revolves around Kiffin, the new offensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide, that really had little to do with the decision. As Biggins points out:
Of course, nothing is set in stone and won't be for another year. Recruiting is a fickle mistress, and Town could very well change his mind about USC, depending on how the 2014 season actually plays out. For today, however, his commitment to USC is monumental for Sarkisian, and it should give USC fans confidence about what he can do with the Trojan football program going forward.
Town is the second committed member of USC's 2015 class, with quarterback David Sills having given his verbal commitment to USC back in 2012. With Town in the ranks, expect Sills to open up his recruitment again.