USC Trojans Football: Predicting the Trojans' 2012 Recruiting Class
There are currently ten 2012 recruits committed to the USC Trojans, but with so many offers still on the table, USC will inevitably see a handful more commit before the recruiting process ends in February.
The question is which players will commit?
The Trojans are limited in the number of scholarships they can give out over the next three years because of sanctions imposed by the NCAA in 2010.
Because of these penalties, USC's 2012 recruiting class needs to be substantially smaller than it has been in previous years.
However, that hasn't stopped the Trojans from offering 90 players.
Now, many of these players have USC as long shots or have already committed elsewhere, but with 47 players still in the mix, there are plenty of recruits that could end up at USC.
Here are my predictions for who will be in the USC Trojans' 2012 recruiting class.
The list of the 10 USC Trojan commits is a pretty impressive one, with Arik Armstead (younger brother of USC Trojan Armond Armstead) headlining the group.
These are the ratings for the commits according to Rivals.com.
Arik Armstead: 4-star defensive end from Elk Grove, CA
Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick: 4-star tight end from Rocklin, CA
Jaydon Mickens: 4-star athlete from Los Angeles, CA
Darreus Rogers: 4-star wide receiver from Carson, CA
Jabari Ruffin: 4-star running back from Downey, CA
Scott Starr: 4-star linebacker from Norco, CA
Max Tuerk: 4-star offensive lineman from Santa Margarita, CA
Jahleel Pinner: 3-star running back from Mission Viejo, CA
Kelvin York: Running back from Fullerton, CA
Pio Vatuvei: Defensive end from Patterson, CA
After Jordan Payton decided to decommit, the door opened for another premier receiver to join the USC Trojans—and Derrick Woods might be just the player to fill that opening.
The 15-scholarship limit combined with the loaded talent already at receiver on the USC roster forced the Trojans to be extremely selective about which wide receivers they offered.
Derrick Woods was talented enough and interested enough to merit an offer from USC, and with a decision expected during the Army All-American Bowl, the Trojans have a great chance of seeing their hat picked.
Woods denies having a leader in his recruiting race but has consistently mentioned USC among his favorites.
Being from nearby Inglewood and having had positive experiences at USC, Woods is the best chance the Trojans have to see another wide receiver commit.
Should the Trojans be unable to land big-time offensive lineman recruits Andrus Peat, Joshua Garnett, Zach Banner, Jordan Simmons or Kyle Murphy, Ronnie Stanley would likely be the top dog of the offensive line recruits in 2012.
Stanley is currently entertaining 25 scholarship offers from nearly every major college football program in the country, but in an article by HuskerOnline.com he indicated that the Trojans are among his top choices.
The Trojans are by no means a lock with Florida State, Miami, Auburn, Oklahoma and Oregon among others right in the thick of it, but Stanley has seen the USC campus multiple times and has enjoyed his experiences:
"Their coaches have taken the time and effort to talk to me a lot," said Stanley. "They send me a lot of mail and talk to me on Facebook. When I went there, I saw a lot of good practices and some good traditional things in the program."
There doesn't seem to be any sense of urgency in Stanley's decision, so USC may have to wait a while before it knows if the 4-star lineman will be joining the Trojans.
One of the uncommitted recruits with the most interest in the USC Trojans is offensive lineman Freddie Tagaloa.
Back in January of 2011, Tagaloa was committed to Jim Harbaugh and the Stanford Cardinal. However, when the Stanford coach left for the NFL, Tagaloa decided to reopen his recruitment.
Since then, USC has remained atop his list alongside Cal and Stanford.
Tagaloa hasn't given a recruiting update for some time now, but should he wait until the start of the 2011 college football season or even the end, USC's chances at landing the 4-star recruit would only improve.
The Trojans are likely to have an impressive upcoming season with great chances to beat both Cal and Stanford, which could influence Tagaloa's recruiting decision.
Lacy Westbrook's recruiting has been picking up momentum in recent months after the USC Trojans offered him a scholarship.
Originally, the 4-star recruit out of Dominguez High School had been primarily recruited by West Coast schools, specifically those in the Pac-12. However, as more and more coaches get the chance to look at the 6'5", 300-pound tackle, those offers have begun to extend to the SEC.
Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee have all entered the mix, and while Westbrook seems to be leaning toward playing in the Pac-12, the recent offers have caused him to want to delay his decision in the hope of more looks.
Westbrook continues to be impressed by the tradition at USC, which keeps the local Trojans high on his recruiting list.
Of the offensive linemen considering USC, Westbrook might be the one of the least likely to commit, yet in the end something tells me we'll see the tackle wearing cardinal and gold.
One of the few defensive back recruits the USC Trojans have offered is Kevon Seymour.
It just so happens that the Rivals top-100 prospect is very interested in the prospect of playing in cardinal and gold one day.
In fact, the Pasadena native has gone as far as to say that he doesn't see anything in the way of him committing:
"I have no idea what's stopping me from committing," said Seymour. "I want to, but then at the same time I don't want to, it's not like I'm going to change my mind because I know what I want to do but I'm just keeping it to myself."
USC appears to be the clear favorite, and although he's not rushing toward a decision, it would be surprising to see Seymour commit to any other school.
One of the keys for the USC Trojans to have the ability to function despite the recruiting limitations is to pick up junior college transfers, especially those who can enroll early like Gerald Bowman.
Should Bowman commit and enroll at USC early, he would technically not count as a member of the 2012 recruiting class but instead be considered part of the 2011 class, which would open up more potential spots for other potential recruits.
Bowman is likely to be considered not only one of the top defensive backs in the nation coming out of junior college, but one of the best J.C. transfers period.
He has pledged an official already to USC and remains positive about the program, but the Woodland Hills player has racked up 25 offers, and his recruitment is likely far from over.
Still, the prospect of playing for the Trojans and playing right away will be too tempting for Bowman to go anywhere else.
It's somewhat uncommon for a recruit to end up choosing a school that he doesn't take an official visit to, but in the case of Ellis McCarthy that could happen should he commit to the USC Trojans.
McCarthy, who has seen USC about a dozen times on unofficial visits, feels that he is familiar enough with the program to forgo an official and instead use his visits to look at some of the schools he hasn't had the chance to see yet.
This decision certainly shouldn't take the Trojans out of the hunt, though. In fact, it might be a sign that McCarthy is pretty high on the Trojans.
The 5-star defensive lineman is the sixth-ranked player overall according to Rivals.com, and should he commit to USC, he would solidify himself alongside Armstead as the crown jewel of the 2012 recruiting class.