I know, the Florida Gators had the No. 1 class in the nation and its Rivals.com ranking was just below USC's 2006 class as the best ever— that was, until Kiffin did his magic and USC vaulted by Florida to No. 1 late yesterday after this article was originally written.
However, when you look at this class USC put together very closely, it is easy to see that it's an amazing class with talented youngsters coming to a USC program that has had its coach in place for less than three weeks.
USC was able to pull in five great five-star recruits, which was the most in the nation. As the Trojans were pulling that miracle (How many times have you seen a class like that with a legend leaving three weeks before Signing Day?), they were able to clear up compliance issues with a five-star Patrick Hall from the 2009 class who has been in limbo and will be enrolling soon.
When you throw in the 14 remaining four-stars on USC's list—including the highest rated four-star by Rivals.com and one, lone, but very talented three-star— it's safe to say that USC has pulled off its greatest recruiting season ever, given the controversy and character assassination surrounding coach Lane Kiffin the last few weeks.
But what are the particular events, reasons and people who have led to this amazing haul, which Rivals ranks as by far the most talented person by person?
Read on for the Top 10 reasons this is USC's best recruiting class ever!
Much has been said about Mike Garrett's relationship with his coaches. He was claimed to have a deteriorating relationship with former basketball coach Tim Floyd and his relationship with Pete Carroll has been in constant question the last few years.
Additionally, there has been a lot of hand-wringing about the hiring of Lane Kiffin and to be clear, the jury is still out by a long shot. With that being said, Garrett took a huge risk by hiring Lane Kiffin and he had to know the backlash that Kiffin's hiring (plus the prerequisite hate) would have on him and USC.
He did it anyway!
It could be the best hire in history. It could be a hire that keeps USC relevant and revitalized—there were signs Carroll's magic was showing signs of erosion—for years to come!
Matt Barkley was just a surprised as the rest of us that Pete Carroll left the program shortly after the BCS Championship Game.
Barkley had every right to sulk about his greatest supporter no longer at Heritage Hall. For crying out loud, the new coach may even-up up the position in spring practice and he could possibly lose his coveted starting position as the USC quarterback.
The real measure of a boy who turns into a man is how he handles adversity. Well, Matt Barkley stepped up and started to make calls to wavering recruits—who wouldn't waver with the thought of Carroll leaving?— and kept most of them home.
Matt Barkley just had his best game of the season and it wasn't on the Coliseum floor. It was on the phones and in front of the team. He gave new meaning to the words Fight On!
Ed Orgeron is a down-home Southern guy who "literally" gave his home region the 'finger' and left Tennessee and the SEC in an uproar that continues today. Orgeron said that he wanted to go back to USC and this was his chance. Men take chances.
Coach "O" is a man!
Smart guys take risks and it is safe to say Coach "O" took some risks in early recruiting to say the least, but those risks turned into Glen Stanley and Nickell Robey to name just a few. These men would not be Trojans without the relationship they had with Ed Orgeron.
Orgeron hit the road the second he arrived at USC—much to the chagrin of still angry Vol fans— and didn't look back. This man is an awesome recruiter!
With an assist to some heavy encouragement from Matt Barkley, both Kyle Prater and Dillon Baxter put to rest any lingering concerns that all of Pete Carroll's work would be ruined.
According to Rivals, Prater is No. 1 in his position of wide receiver with his slick 4.56 in the 40. With this speed, he should be able to stretch the field, giving Barklely more room to operate the short passing game and utilize the powerful running game with former five-star Marc Tyler returning as the probable featured back.
Dillon Baxter is no slouch either. He was awarded the Ken Hall Trophy, which recognizes the nation's top high school player in 2009. At 5'11" with a 4.5 40, this speedster will replace Joe McKnight in the line-up but will probably play behind Marc Tyler—a bruising strong runner— to start with.
Rick Neuheisel of UCLA is a major personality presence in the greater LA area. In his third year, he has promised LONG-suffering fans that the Bruins would return to their rightful place— at the top of the Pac-10 standings and competing for national championships.
Memo to new USC staff: Please don't laugh. Take this gutty little Bruin, seriously, very seriously.
Neuheisel was heard on the USC radio station today claiming that UCLA had out-recruited USC in the L.A. area due to a couple of highly publicized and very late defections to the UCLA camp— namely Josh Shirley from the Trojans. He also landed Jordan Zumwalt, a real shocker, who we all thought was solid in the Stanford camp.
Now the good news: Rick Neuheisel still couldn't out-recruit USC, even in the midst of a major coaching change three weeks before National Signing Day. However, USC will need to be on its game with the Bruins barking at every corner. And this class shows that they were, in spite of a few late defections!
I believe Ed Orgeron and Lane Kiffin will be more than up to the task. Nevertheless it should be fun!
Robert Woods has ideal height for a safety or wide receiver. It will be very interesting to see what position Woods ends up in because both are pressing needs for the Trojans, though wide receiver is certainly in much better shape after this great recruiting class.
Most experts think he will contribute on the offensive side of the ball because he is so talented and receiver is an easier position to learn. However, some think he might be a good linebacker because he is very aggressive and has serious skills when it comes to knowing where the ball is.
This is clearly a young man who can do it all. Now it will be up to Lane Kiffin and his staff to coach this guy into the greatness we all think he has!
The truth of the matter is once the Southern recruits and the boys from the East Coast see all that Southern California has to offer, it is very hard to recruit against that!
Other than the Los Angeles Lakers, the Trojans are the rock stars in the media capital of the world. They play a pro-style offense and have the best defensive mind in the history of football helping out his son.
It's hard for a kid who wants to be noticed by the NFL and market himself to say no to this great opportunity. Several recruits of the 2010 class commented that it was the greater LA area that helped seal the deal.
it's a tough place to live, but somebody has got to do it.
This just in: The University of Tennessee is not happy with Lane Kiffin or Ed Orgeron for this one!
Markeith Ambles has an average build with long arms and impressive speed. He can easily add another twenty pounds and keep the same athleticism. If this young man can stay focused on every rep, he has the chance to stretch the field and make the Trojans' offense great.
He has quick feet which makes him hard to jam at the line of scrimmage, really helping a USC offense that struggled in this area last year. Rivals.com says he has potential to be great. We hope he proves it in the National Championship game against Tennessee sometime soon!
Seantrel Henderson vaulted USC all the way up to No. 2 on Rivals.com It was the shock of the day as far as USC was concerned and the addition of Henderson filled a big concern on the offensive line. He has the ability to start right now and make an immediate impact.
Physically one of the biggest offensive linemen in the country, Henderson will remind some observers of Ohio State offensive tackle Mike Adams. His upper and lower body structure is in proportion and he has the powerful base to blow anyone off the line of scrimmage. He is a starter waiting to happen!
Other than his massive body size, Henderson is extremely nimble and agile on his feet, especially laterally. He gets that from playing basketball when he's not training for football, so maybe the Trojans basketball team can use his services, too!
Henderson also has great hand placement during pass protection, thus being able to direct the pass rusher outside the pocket. This young man could make a big difference in the USC passing and running game.
What can you say about a man who brought back Trojan glory! I have heard nary a word about Pete Carroll's sudden exit to Seattle, with the exception of "Thank you, coach."
Sure, there are people out there who think he bailed because of possible impending NCAA penalties. It is my opinion that his foundation work, "A Better L.A.," is too important to be sullied with allegations that Carroll was a liar. Only time will tell on that one!
Carroll left quickly, but many on his staff stayed and secured this class in spite of the reality that they may lose their jobs—several did lose their jobs.
Pete Carroll recruited the 2010 class to USC, not to Pete Carroll. Throw in the fact that the current USC coaching staff was able to hold the 2010 Class together says volumes about the tradition and class as well as history and achievement that the USC program is all about.
Thank you coach Carroll. Your time was too short, but we look forward to one of your best friends (Monte Kiffin) and greatest recruiters (Ed Orgeron) teaming with a great mind you mentored, Lane Kiffin, in keeping the Trojans on top for many years to come!
This may not be the deepest class in USC history or the most talented, but given the crazy circumstances of the last month, it is my opinion that this 2010 class is the best ever!