Pete Carroll, the big-time coach at the big-time program that is the University of Southern California (USC) has decided to try his wares in the NFL —again.
Whether or not that will be a good idea is hard to tell but here's what is for certain, by leaving his cushy post at USC, he has opened up a barn-sized door for the rest of his Division IA football foes—even the ones that don't playing him head-to-head each season.
USC was well on its way to building yet another top 10 recruiting class , stacked a trey ceiling high with talent and potential. One look at the U.S. Army All-American game on this afternoon and you can see just a splattering of said players—Kyle Prater (the nation's top wide receiver) among them.
What will happen to these guys now? Will they stay and see what kind of hire USC will make before deciding their fates? Will they reopen their recruitment and see what happens? Either way they will be in for some serious soul-searching as it is clear the Trojans are heading for darker days.
Most are focusing on the Pac-10's landscape now that Carroll is out, but how does USC's loss effect the SEC? Again, take a look at the USC commitment list and see just how many of those four- and five-star recruits were courted by and considering SEC schools:
Kyle Prater: 6'5", 205, and rated the No. 1 wide receiver in the nation by Rivals.com had Alabama, Auburn, and Florida in his sights before deciding on USC. Will he re-open those gates and decide the SEC is a better fit now that the situation at USC has changed?
Prater, a big, physical receiver with nice speed and great hands has immediate impact potential wherever he goes. He is a near-lock to play as a freshman. Some say that he is every bit as good as Alabama's Julio Jones, Georgia's A.J. Green, and Notre Dame's Michael Floyd--he's that good.
He was heavily courted by Alabama and Tennessee and the lure of that shiny new National Championship just won by the Tide could be a big selling point with him now that USC is no longer as untarnished a locale as it might have seemed a few months ago.
If Prater doesn't end up in the Big Ten with his buddy Corey Cooper, at Illinois , then he might consider bringing his talents to the SEC—anything's possible.
Another big name at USC, not necessarily as highly-touted as Prater, is Xavier Grimble . He plays the tight end spot and was courted by Georgia at one point in the year.
His numbers as a senior were impressive for a guy who played on a team with a run-first philosophy. He finished the season with 699 yards and nine scores.
Grimble isn't fast but he's quick and has nice, soft hands when catching the ball. He runs routes well and would be every bit as effective as a wide receiver as he has been as a tight end. He's 6'6", 245, and Rivals.com rates him as a four-star prospect.
He considered both Florida and Oklahoma at one point and, with the recent declaration of Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez for the NFL , there is definitely room for a guy like Grimble on the Gator's roster.
Lastly, worth a look, is Jesse Scroggins (pictured*). The No. 3 rated pro-style quarterback in the nation. Scroggins was on Tennessee, Florida, and LSU's radar during his recruitment process and Tennessee, in particular, landed on his short list before he decided to give his verbal to USC.
His biggest asset, in my opinion, is his coachability. He didn't start off being the four-star guy that he is now, but his work-ethic and growth as a quarterback this season has translated into big things for this young man out of Lakewood, CA.
Scroggins has a good arm and a better than average understanding of the game—he's gotten better at reading defenses and executing the play-action on the field.
He's got nice height at 6'2" but may need to add a bit more weight to that lanky frame at 189 lbs.
All in all, he's got a ton of potential and his desire to get better on every snap is something that sets him a part from many of his counterparts.
It's possible, even probable, that these guys will remain at USC and see how things shake out in 2010. However, coaches in the SEC have to be looking at the possibility that a few could sway and why not have their programs at the top of the list as a landing spot?
*Photo courtesy of ESPN.com
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