It is do or die for Lane Kiffin and the rest of the USC Trojans football program as they try to load up on talent, despite facing heavy NCAA sanctions against them.
The program is trying to stay a national powerhouse, despite being hit with a two-year bowl ban, four years worth of probation and a crucial loss of scholarships that many thought would hamper the programs progress for years to come.
Even with the loss of scholarships (which was believed to be held to a 15 player max this year), the Trojans have found a loop hole in the punishment that allows them to recruit the NCAA maximum of 28 players that they are allowed to sign.
They are currently appealing the NCAA ruling against them, and all of the bans of scholarships are void until the appeal process has run its course.
This recruiting class is even more important though, as the team is coming off of an 8-5 record, including an underachieving record of 5-4 in the Pac-10. To make matters even worse, if the sanctions are held up, the Trojans will be hit with those scholarship sanctions in future years, which is now making the school “go big or go home” this recruiting season, as the restrictions are not in place this year.
Last season was certainly not up to the normal standards of USC football and the team needs a strong recruiting class this year to keep plugging top players into the program as they look to rebound.
Head coach Lane Kiffin realizes just how important this class really is.
"This class will probably be the most important class ever signed at USC because of the situation surrounding it," said Kiffin. "If we were to screw this class up and not get enough guys and take some players that aren't 'SC quality, we'd be facing a long dark road."
With signing day less than 12 hours away, USC currently is stacked with prospects and according to Rivals.com, they have the fifth best class in the nation, which includes 24 players in total, including two five star recruits and nine four star recruits.
Included in those numbers are wide receiver George Farmer and athlete De’Anthony Thomas, two of the top football recruits in the country.
Even with sanctions in place against them, USC continues to be one of the top destinations for future college football players of all states.
As long as the recruits keep coming, USC should continue to be at the top of the college football world for years to come.