Re-Evaluating USC's Recruiting Class After the 2014 Opening

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Re-Evaluating USC's Recruiting Class After the 2014 Opening
Credit: 247Sports.com
Ricky Town

USC football has long made its bones on the recruiting trail, and the Class of 2015 is no exception. Head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff already have an impressive group committed, evidenced by the performance of some of the pledged prospects last week at The Opening.

More primary targets for the Trojans in 2015 also shined at the event in Beaverton, Oregon. Expect USC to continue to make a splash in its first recruiting cycle since NCAA sanctions were lifted, particularly among prospects who commanded the spotlight at The Opening.  

 

USC's Top Targets

USC featured some great defenses during the program's run of seven straight conference championships in the 2000s. The 2015 recruiting class could very well bring the Trojans their next great defense, if some of the top prospects from The Opening commit to Sarkisian

Rasheem Green showed off his 5-star credentials in defensive line workouts last Thursday. The prospect from Southern California prep powerhouse Junipero Serra wowed those in attendance when playing to his full potential.   

Serra has been a top recruiting pipeline for USC in recent years, and the Trojans could again strike it big there in 2015. Green's not the only 5-star recruit from Serra on USC's radar. 

Linebacker John Houston did not participate at The Opening due to a back injury. He made the trip, however, and detailed his plans to Greg Biggins of Scout.com

The schools I know will make the cut are Florida, Florida State, Oregon, Notre Dame, USC and UCLA. I plan to take all five of my official visits and I don't plan on making my choice until Signing Day. A lot can change over the season so I want to take as much time as I can and make sure I'm doing the right thing.

While that's a while to wait, Justin Hopkins of 247Sports tweeted one tidbit from Houston's appearance at The Opening that should excited Trojans fans: 

USC is also in the mix for another Southern California-based 5-star defensive standout, Orange Lutheran product Keisean Lucier-South.  

Lucier-South suffered an injury in the final days of The Opening but garnered praise before that. Bleacher Report's Michael Felder touted Lucier-South—currently projected at defensive end—as an outside linebacker:

USC is also targeting prospects in the secondary who made their presences felt at The Opening. DeChaun Holiday, a 4-star prospect from Mission Hills High School in San Marcos, California, told Scout.com's Greg Biggins of his interest in USC. 

Holiday said the Trojans are looking at him as either a cornerback or safety. That flexibility could play a role in the talented defensive back's decision. 

 

USC's Top Commits 

USC scored a high-profile commitment at The Opening, when 4-star defensive back Isaiah Langley pledged to the Trojans.

Langley posed for the below photo alongside fellow 2015 Trojans commits and Opening participants Cameron Smith and Ricky Town:

With Langley en tow, USC now checks in at No. 9 on B/R college football recruiting writer Tyler Donohue's top 25.  

Meanwhile, highly touted 5-star quarterback commit Town overcame a slow start in Elite 11 competition to wow Trent Dilfer. The former Fresno State and NFL star told Paul Myerberg and Daniel Uthman of USA Today that Town turned a corner during The Opening:

It popped this morning. It was like the weight of the world was taken off his shoulders. He had so much confidence, his personality started coming out; he had some sauce to him. One play and it was like, 'This is mine. Bye, Coach Dilfer, you can go away. Everybody else can leave, I got this.' That's the first time I've seen it in him. If I see that in the 7-on-7 games, you're going to get a special kid.

Town did indeed exhibit that same fire in 7-on-7 play. Pac-12 Networks analyst Yogi Roth told Justin Hopkins of 247Sports that he saw Town make strides as the quarterback played with less pressure: 

If you look at him the last couple of months, he wasn't having a lot of fun. And now over the last 5 days, he told me yesterday he's never had more fun playing the game. He's smiling, and as he's smiling, he's completing passes, he's not attaching himself to outcomes.

Fellow 5-star prospect Chuma Edoga impressed throughout the week. The most highly rated commit in the Trojans' 2015 class demonstrated quickness and power at the line.  

All told, The Opening suggests a return to prominence in the Pac-12 may not be far for the Trojans. 

 

Recruiting rankings and information culled from 247Sports.com composite scores unless otherwise noted. 

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