Although USC was limited to 15 football scholarships for the 2010-2011 recruiting season, the university appealed the sanctions, which thereby suspends the penalties until the NCAA reaches a decision either later this month or possibly even March.
The appeal translates to business as usual at Heritage Hall, where Trojan head coach Lane Kiffin and his intrepid team of recruiters landed ‘SC another fruitful haul of young student-athletes who will likely keep USC in the upper echelon of Football Bowl Subdivision programs as the university overcomes the aftermath of the Reggie Bush investigations.
Let’s start with a 5-star recruit who brings a 4.4-second 40-yard dash time to Southern Cal.
WR George Farmer is a blazing fast talent at 6’2” and 192 lbs. The Junipero Serra (Gardena, CA) product boasts world class speed and enormous hands. Although his sheer strength makes him difficult to tackle, Rivals.com’s No. 1-rated receiver can also serve as an instant asset on punt returns.
USC also lured a conference-leading nine recruits on ESPNU’s Top 150 list to the university. No. 12 Farmer (85 rating) is only one of the listed athletes mentioned.
Coach Kiffin was also able to land some last-minute talent on NSD.
ATH Marqise Lee (ESPNU No. 96, Rating 81): Lee is ranked as Rivals' No. 3 safety available in this recruiting class. Although he can also play wide receiver, he is an exceptional defender. Lee is very fast with a long, smooth stride, and can be much more imposing on defense once he adds some more muscle to his 6'1", 187-pound frame.
ILB Lamar Dawson: The Danville, Kentucky product is an ideal physical specimen to play inside linebacker, and relishes fierce collisions. As he is already mature enough to make an immediate impact at the college level, don't be surprised to see this 6'2", 230-lb playmaker starting for the cardinal and gold in the next couple years.
OL Aundrey Walker: This 6'5", 355-lb man-beast is built like a bulldozer, carrying a low center of gravity. In spite of his enormous size, he is light enough on his feet to play either guard or tackle. Above all else, though, Walker has a nasty streak that makes him especially effective and intimidating to opposing defensive linemen. Provided Walker stays in shape, he could serve as part of the foundation of the Trojan offensive line for years to come, as he is talented enough to see significant playing time as a freshman.
Other top-rated athletes on ESPNU’s aforementioned list include:
DT Antwaun Woods (ESPNU No. 33, 82 rating): The 6’1”, 315-lb Woodland Hills, CA native provides a disruptive presence in the trenches, bringing an efficient motor and remarkable quickness off the ball. Although he’s not the tallest defensive tackle in the class of recruits, he could be one of the most fun to watch.
OG Cyrus Hobbi (ESPNU No. 34, 82 rating): The 6’1”, 285-lb lineman from Scottsdale, Ariz. is the top rated guard according to ESPNU and is so explosive, he is expected to compete for playing time immediately.
QB Max Wittek (ESPNU No. 58, 81 rating): Wittek may once again serve as Matt Barkley’s heir apparent under center in a couple years, after already replacing him once at Mater Dei High School. While Wittek turned down 14 other offers from competing schools, his 6’4”, 215-lb frame provides an ideal complement to his sound quarterbacking mechanics. Once Wittek is handed the keys to the Trojan kingdom, he may opt to find a familiar target in his old high school teammate…
WR Victor Blackwell (ESPNU No. 59, 81 rating): …, who delivers good height (6’1”, 186 lbs) and incredible speed on fade routes and has demonstrated the mental toughness to make the big play in crunch time. Although his route-running and run blocking are merely decent given his smallish frame, his jumping ability coupled with especially long arms makes him an even bigger downfield target.
DE Greg Townsend Jr. (ESPNU No. 84, 81 rating): The son of the former Raiders defensive end enjoyed an illustrious career at Beverly Hills High School and passed up offers from Miami (Fla.) and TCU to stay in Los Angeles. Townsend brings a solid power base to the table and has long arms to swim past opposing linemen. However, he’ll need to add some mass to his 6’4”, 242-lb frame if he is to dominate offensive tackles the way his father did during his playing days.
DT Christian Heyward (ESPNU No. 111, 81 rating): Heyward is the No. 6-rated defensive tackle recruit according to Rivals and displayed unusual versatility with his ability to move around both inside and outside on the defensive line. The 6’2”, 275-lb San Diego native, who often plays out of a two-point stance, was viewed as a hot recruit to many West Coast programs before he eventually accepted the offer from USC.
ATH Amir Carlisle (ESPNU No. 114, 81 rating): Carlisle is a gifted athlete with excellent speed and quick feet. Although the 5’10”, 181-lb running back needs to add 20-25 pounds of muscle to his frame to sustain the pounding college linebackers can dish out, the Sunnyvale, Calif. native could excel early in his Trojan career as a kick returner.
RB Javorious Allen (ESPNU No. 148, 80 rating): The Tallahassee-based Allen decided to travel across the country to join the cardinal and gold. Rated the 12th best running back in this year’s recruiting class, his slashing style and smooth stride coupled with his tireless endurance make the 6’1”, 210-lb recruit a dangerous addition to Lane Kiffin’s already-impressive cadre of halfbacks.