When an all-star coach leaves a college program for other pastures, the question is always, "Did he make the school, or did the school make him?"
One way to find out if Pete Carroll made USC, or if USC made Pete Carroll, is to pay attention to whether the Trojans can hold on to the all-star recruits who had committed to USC prior to Carroll's departure, as well as land a few of the recruits Carroll likely would have signed had the Seattle Seahawks not come calling.
With the way the following 14 recruits are reacting to Carroll's announcement, the Trojans' prospects are grim in that regard.
If you're a fan of any of the schools now in the running for these kids, get excited; if you're a USC fan, shield your eyes.
Baxter, a five-star ATH to ESPN, showed off his versatility at the Army All-American bowl, and was awarded MaxPreps player of the year.
Baxter, along with Prater, was one of the three recruits who functionally decommitted with the news on Carroll, despite being scheduled to enroll early for the Trojans.
Shortly after the news on Carroll broke, a Michigan recruiting expert tweeted that Baxter was "really mad" about the Carroll situation, and he and Prater were unable to reach USC assistants on the phone, exacerbating an already confusing and heavily damaging situation of trust.
With Carroll's resignation, Baxter is back on the market.
Michigan will pursue him heavily after likely losing Texas RB recruit Tony Drake to eligibility issues. Baxter visited Michigan for the Ohio State game and was rumored to be close to changing his commitment.
UCLA was also in the mix up until Baxter's announcement, and you know Rick Neuheisel is pitching a tent across the street from Baxter's house and unsheathing a pair of binoculars.
He's guaranteed to bring on other suitors, as well. The kid's play is smooth as silk, and his coach reported receiving a flood of calls from a variety of programs once the news on his wavering affiliation broke.
One thing seems certain: With only bad feelings, it seems unlikely Baxter would rethink his commitment to USC even under a new coach. Time will tell.
Prater was the other side of the coin in the Army All-American Bowl debacle, wavering on his commitment and alluding to reopening his recruitment if the Pete Carroll rumors came true.
Prater was understandably shaken up by the news, and resuming his recruitment may not go smoothly.
Any program that can provide some semblance of stability will probably be the most appealing. That hurts Illinois' and Michigan's chances, though the two programs were already on the outside looking in.
Notre Dame has made Prater a top priority, and Tennessee's Scout page indicated Prater is , though the veracity of that claim is unverified.
Oklahoma was also on Prater's final list before his commitment to USC, though the Sooners might not have room to accommodate him anymore.
There's plenty that could happen with Prater's recruitment, but the least likely is that he remains a Trojan get.
All-purpose back D.J. Morgan was the last of USC's brokenhearted trio. Though he wasn't planning on enrolling early, Morgan's commitment to the Trojans has softened, and he is open to other programs.
Most of Morgan's offers came from other Pac-10 schools, and he will now "discuss things with his family" and take official visits. He also held offers from Tennessee, Florida, and Duke, and his commitment to USC hangs in the balance.
Grimble, a five-star tight end, is , though he wouldn't go so far as a decommitment.
He named LSU, Florida, and UCLA as schools he might take an official visit to in the month leading up to signing day. He also said he spoke to Matt Barkley, who encouraged him to remain committed.
Any one of those visits could go well enough to facilitate his full decommitment.
Aaron Corp's departure to Richmond seemed to set up a favorable ascension scenario for Scroggins, who would probably redshirt behind Barkley and backup Mitch Mustain before taking over for Barkley after he departed early for the draft.
But his coach indicated that Scroggins was weighing offers from other schools after he was unable to get in touch with USC's coaches during the debacle.
Scroggins' stock was on the rise right prior to his commitment to the Trojans, so he can write his own ticket to any school with room on their rolls.
Tennessee—no surprise—was involved with his recruitment. They've picked up a few quarterbacks in Tyler Bray and Matt Simms, but there's no way they'd pass up on a player of Scroggins' ability, particularly with so thin a depth chart behind Nick Stephens.
Other suitors included Florida—the Gators, for all the bluster, are lacking a premier QB commitment—Nebraska, Pitt, and Arizona State. Any and all are now possibilities. He'll be a fun recruit to pay attention to as the saga plays out.
Bailey, a teammate of Jesse Scroggins, was mentioned alongside his teammate as another recruit taking calls from other coaches while the Carroll buzz reached its crescendo.
The four-star safety, ranked seventh overall by Rivals, held offers from all the Pac-10 schools, and was considering Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and UCLA leading up to his decision last July. All four of those teams will be back in the mix if Bailey bails on his commitment to the Trojans.
That kind of national focus seems to indicate he could be headed out of state, which seems to favor the Eric Berry-less Vols and the rebuilding Irish.
Brian Kelly was out Bailey's way about a week ago visiting another Irish recruit; perhaps he stopped in to Bailey's for a pint.
Schwab, a junior college player and a four-star tackle to Rivals, decommitted entirely from the Trojans following the news on Carroll.
He says he'll remain in contact with the program, but that he is reorganizing his recruitment and is open to offers from other schools.
Schwab was down-to-earth about the decommitment and didn't cite broken trust, but felt that the quality of practices would suffer without Carroll and therefore impede his development.
He could recommit if the coaching hire is favorable; he liked that the level of competition at USC is high, and that's not going to change considerably given USC's current roster.
Uko committed to USC on Christmas Day, but he might re-gift his commitment if another school can promise him a more trusting relationship.
Case in point: During his recruitment, Uko's relationship with Oregon's coaches dried up after Uko and his father didn't receive a phone call in return.
If DL coach Jethro Franklin left without proper notification, that would be at least as big a slight, no?
The good news for Trojan fans is, that doesn't appear likely to happen. Franklin has not been offered a job with the Seahawks and is "in limbo," meaning he will hopefully stay on into the next administration.
Uko was a silent commit to the Trojans for a long time, and they are his hometown school. I'd say that if Franklin remains, Uko won't be a flier.
Scout's No. 6 overall tight end is the lead story on USC's Scout page under the headline "Is Randall Telfer still committed to USC?", and that's never a good sign.
Yet Telfer is more in the "waiting and watching" camp than the full-on decommitment camp and still considers himself a USC commit.
But he'll be hearing from other coaches in the next week. If USC can't find a hire that impresses or even relieves Telfer, he could be gone-zo.
Parker, a four-star safety, had narrowed his choices down to Michigan, USC, and Cal in mid-December. The Wolverines were reportedly leading for his services and making a strong push to get him out-of-state, something he reportedly isn't opposed to.
With Carroll's departure, the shake-up at Southern Cal isn't likely to entice him to remain in-state. Scout's sixth-best safety could be headed for the Midwest, unless Jeff Tedford's gang can land him.
The mammoth offensive tackle had been flirting with USC since taking an official visit back in December, and seemed to be leaning towards leaving Big Ten country for the pro machine Carroll had wrought.
But the indication is now that Henderson has cooled toward the Trojans, and since his chief recruiter was Carroll's son Brennan, who might not be in the Trojans' employ in a month, it's plain to see why.
Henderson's planned visit to Miami later this month now appears to be the death knell for the Trojans' cause, unless Mike Garrett hits a home run with his hiring, something B/R's Lisa Horne just doesn't see happening.
Another all-world recruit for whom the Trojans were in the mix, Texas DE Jackson Jeffcoat seems to be making a move on his final decision.
He cancelled his official visit to Florida this week, and with Carroll's departure, the Trojans' hopes might be drying up as well. Defensive line coach Jethro Franklin, Jeffcoat's contact at USC, is, as I mentioned, "in limbo."
As Jeffcoat firms up his opinion on each school, the Trojans' chances to land him look to be slipping away.
USA Today ran an article in which Lache Seastrunk said he wascommitting to Pete Carroll rather than to USC, so his departure probably puts the five-star RB out of the running.
A lot will come down to whether Seastrunk follows up on his scheduled visit to USC this weekend. If he breaks off the engagement, it could spell doom for the Trojans' chances.
Odighizuwa, a four-star weakside defensive end, narrowed his list to four at the end of 2009 and put USC at the top.
There hasn't been much buzz about his reaction to the Carroll departure, but the same rules apply to him as to Uko and Jeffcoat—the relationships that he built with Carroll and coach Franklin remain up in the air.
Owa updated his recruitment recently, telling ESPN Insider that Oregon, USC, UCLA and Oregon State are his final four. Oregon is the only school with a scheduled visit, and they could be the team to beat with USC now on the ropes.