USC Head Coach Lane Kiffin and his new but yet-to-be-filled-out (by a long shot) coaching staff is hard at work, focused on recruiting, according to unnamed sources. Additionally, the new Trojan staff has been a presence nationally, with several scholarships going out.
It looks like these verbal offers are intended to secure visits from various prospects that will visit this weekend. With all of this positive action, we can expect to see several commitments from prospects that most of us thought might be long gone.
Are Trojans in the Hunt for Ronald Powell?
My sources tell me that Kiffin's staff has been aggressively pursuing five-star defensive end Ronald Powell, who is committed to Florida. Don't look for Powell to change his mind, but you never know!
Josh Shirley Being Pursued
According to sources, earlier this week, Kiffin was seen making the rounds locally, where he visited four-star recruit Josh Shirley (Fontana, Calif.). I have been told that Shirley is setting up for a visit that could happen this weekend or after signing day. Shirley has already visited several other schools but looks to visit Miami and USC before he makes it official.
Publicly, Shirley is silent as to his destination of choice, but we are told that USC is most likely the team to beat. Before Pete Carroll left, it looked like Shirley would wear the cardinal and gold, but the reality is that with a coaching change, things tend to shift. Stay tuned.
Who's Making a Visit This Weekend?
Recruiting is so fluid that our sources will not confirm this list, but this is about as current as we can get.
Ventura (Calif.) four-star offensive lineman Giovanni Di Poalo is looking to stay close to home after significant soul-searching prompted by the departure of Carroll. I look for this weekend to solidify his commitment, but one wrong meal or discussion could change everything. Remember, these are kids, and the school has a double duty because it "recruits" their parents, as well.
Tennessee Out and USC In?
Much to the despair of the SEC and Tennessee, I can confirm that USC is indeed in play for some great players originally thought to be headed for the Volunteers. My hope is that if these players sign, it does not cause a major recruiting scandal with Tennessee and the SEC, which is out to deliver Kiffin's head on a platter.
Five-star recruit Markeith Ambles out of Atlanta, who recorded five catches for 86 yards in the Hawaii/Mainland Bowl, could add another wedge between Kiffin/USC and Tennessee/SEC. Ambles was originally high on Tennessee's list and is now headed for a visit and maybe a commitment after being in the USC camp earlier, but what the heck, our SEC friends are blaming Kiffin for the Holocaust, so expect an outcry of some sort.
It looks like four-star linebacker Christian Jones will officially land in L.A. for a visit this weekend. The visit of Jones to USC is causing further Tennessee anguish, as he considered the Vols at one point primarily because of his relationship with Kiffin, I am told.
Others on the Board
I have been told that Ricky Heimuli has not eliminated USC, but he still appears to be leaning elsewhere.
It looks like USC has resurrected the interest of Seantrel Henderson because of the great work by Ed Orgeron and offensive line coach James Cregg. It had looked as if Henderson had eliminated USC after the Carroll departure, but the No.1 offensive lineman is still directly in the path of USC and would be a great catch. You can hold your breath on this one because Ohio State, Florida, and Notre Dame are all vying for this young man's services.
Is Robert Woods Headed For UCLA?
Our sources tell us that Robert Woods (Gardena, Calif.) might be visiting UCLA this weekend, confirming Rick Neuheisel's claim that the landscape has shifted in L.A. My sources tell me that he is still "100 percent solid to USC." I will continue to keep you posted.
Who Coming this Weekend to USC?
I have been told these players will be on campus this weekend:
- Winter Park (Fla.) four-star linebacker Christian Jones
- Frostproof (Fla.) four-star cornerback Nickell Robey
- Hyattville (Md.) four-star offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio
- Palmdale (Calif.) four-star tight end Christian Thomas
- Lauderdale Lakes (Fla.) four-star safety Demar Dorsey
- Huntington Beach (Calif.) three-star linebacker Jordan Zumwalt
- Tampa (Fla.) four-star offensive lineman Chaz Green
- Stone Mountain (Ga.) four-star defensive tackle Mike Thornton
Who Might be Coming but Probably Not?
Latwan Andersen a five-star from Cleveland, Ohio, will not be visiting USC. Jacques Smith from Ooletwah, Tenn., has been offered a scholarship, according to my sources; however, the South can take a deep breath, as it looks like he will stay in the Southeast.
It is important to remember that these are kids and parents we are talking about, so stay tuned for any changes that may occur between now and signing day. Keep coming back.
(About the writer: Jon Sarver is the co-founder of Fanrevolt.net , a site that is committed to Dumping the BCS and demanding a college football playoff. Check it out if you are tired of the current BCS system and want a change now!)