Making a push this year to reclaim the number one recruiting class in the nation, the USC Trojans are in great shape and way ahead of last year’s number eight ranking.
Despite the new spring no-contact rule for head coaches, Pete Carroll and his staff have wasted no time in singling out the best high school players in the nation. They already had several commitments from the start of the year.
Five-stars Morrell Presley, a 6'3", 4.52 tight end from Carson (CA) High School, and Kevin Graf, a 6'6", 300-pound offensive tackle from Agoura (CA) High School; plus four-stars Marquis Simmons, a 6'0", 220-pound, 4.62 linebacker from Dominguez High School, Compton, CA; Randall Carroll, a speedy 5'10" wide receiver from Cathedral High School, Los Angeles; and T.J. McDonald, a 6'1", 4.63 safety from Edison High School, Fresno, CA, all committed in 2007.
Then in January, the Gatorade Player of the Year, five-star quarterback Matt Barkley, 6'3", 227 pounds, from Mater Dei High School, Santa Ana, CA, committed to become a Trojan.
Barkley’s commitment drew the attention of more recruits. Four more top high school players committed in February.
Vontaze Burfict, a five-star, 6'2", 235-pound linebacker from Centennial High School in Corona, CA; Devon Flournoy, a four-star, 6'2", 4.40 wide receiver from Birmingham High School, Van Nuys, CA; Patrick Hall, a four-star, 6'1", 181-pound safety from St. Bonaventure High School in Ventura, CA; and Chris Metcalf, a three-star, 6'1", 190-pound safety from Compton (CA) High School gave their commitments to the Trojans.
In May the Trojans got a commitment from a five-star JC defensive tackle, Hebron Fangupo, 6'2", 230 pounds from Mount San Antonio Junior College in Walnut, CA.
Then four players who attended the Rising Stars Camp at USC a little over a week ago gave their commitments to the Trojans. One of them, Ashlon Jeffrey, a four-star 6'4", 200-pound wide receiver from Calhoun County High School in Saint Matthew, SC, actually committed a couple of weeks before the camp.
The other three were Byron Moore, a four-star 6'1", 200-pound safety from Nathaniel Narbonne High School, Harbor City, CA; Torin Harris, a three-star, 6'0", 175-pound cornerback from Palo Verde High School, Las Vegas, NV; and James Boyd, a three-star, 6'5", 230-pound defensive end from Jordan High School, Los Angeles, CA, who was closely recruited by USC assistant coach Ken Norton.
Altogether, that makes four five-stars, seven four-stars, and three three-stars. Once the season starts, any one of those three-stars could move up a notch or two—they are that good, having shown off their talents for the coaches at the Rising Stars Camp.
In addition, the Trojans got their first commit for the Class of 2010 from Dillon Baxter, a 6'0", 4.50 running back from Mission Bay High School, San Diego, CA, during the camp.
The Trojan coaching staff still has its eyes set on some of the finest players in the nation to fill the approximately seven or eight remaining scholarships. That number could change, of course, depending on how many scholarship players leave to enter the 2009 NFL draft or transfer.
Right now, the Trojans have 24 offers outstanding, ten of them to five-star and fourteen to four-star players. Unlike many of their present commits who are from California, most of these players are spread out across the country.
As for the Class of 2008, most of the recruits are on campus and working out with the returning players from last year’s team. From all reports, the freshmen look ready and willing to compete.
As usual, it has been the Trojan standard during the Pete Carroll era to reload instead of rebuild. Good news for USC—bad news for the rest of the Pac-10.