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Laying the Foundation: USC Football Recruiting, 2009--Good Times Ahead?

Rick McMahan@@RickMcMahanSenior Writer IDecember 1, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14:  Head Coach Pete Carroll of the USC Trojans questions a non-fumble call in the game against the Stanford Cardinal during the second half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 14, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  Stanford won 55-21.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

In an ongoing effort to let fans of the Trojans know what is going on with recruiting at USC, here is an updated view of prep targets Pete Carroll and his staff have in their sights.

As any fan of the Trojans knows, recruiting is the foundation upon which a successful college football program rests, and in the Pete Carroll era, no one has done it better, nationally or otherwise.

This year, however, marks a departure from coach Carroll’s “tried and true” methods of recruiting.

To keep from losing recruits on the Feb. 2 signing day to other programs who bad mouth the Trojans, USC has withheld offers to some recruits until later in the season.

This tactic, while understandable, has cost the Trojans some fine talent, including wide receiver Kenny Stills, a sub 4.4 guy who desperately wanted to play for the Trojans but when no offer was received, looked elsewhere.

However, yesterday, I received an updated list of recruits that USC was still in the hunt for, and I was amazed at the volume of four and five star recruits still in the Trojans line of sight.

Before, I get into that list, in which I will be highlighting the five star recruits, there is an interesting side story going on with a local stud, Tony Jefferson.

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Jefferson, an ESPN top 150 recruit, ranked overall at #9, was a verbal commit of the UCLA Bruins.

The operative word in that last sentence is “was.”

Tony Jefferson has decommitted from the Bruins and is now only seriously considering USC and Oklahoma, although Michigan remains in the picture as an outsider.

Jefferson, whom I believe attended the USC-UCLA game, decommitted yesterday and it makes one wonder how the controversy over the game played out in Jefferson’s mind.

Apparently, Jefferson liked what he saw from the Trojans eh?

Also, bear in mind that USC already has verbal commitments from five star recruits, wide receiver, Robert Woods and tight end, Xavier Grimble.

In any event, here are some thumbnail sketches of the five star recruits and my thoughts on whether the Trojans can land these talented prep players:

Seantrel Henderson (offensive guard, 6′8″, 301 lbs., Minnesota): Great player with good mobility. Trojans have a shot at this difference maker on the o-line.

Garrison Smith (defensive tackle, 6′3.5″, 255 lbs., Georgia): Cat-like quick though undersized. However, the Trojans will be on the outside looking in for Smith’s services on signing day.

Jackson Jeffcoat (linebacker or defensive end, 6′3″, 233 lbs., Texas): Either Jeffcoat, son of the former NFL player or Jeff Luc, is the best prep linebacker in the country. Period. The Trojans stand a real shot at getting Jeffcoat, who really liked his visit.

Jeff Luc (linebacker, 6′1″, 240 lbs., Florida): Luc is a beast. Fast and physical, Luc would look great in Cardinal and Gold but chances of landing him are fairly remote.

Lache Seastrunk (running back, 5′10″, 180 lbs., 4.4, Texas): Seastrunk, who I believe might be the best running back in high school football, has been making some noise regarding the Trojans. If they get him, it won’t shock me.

Ronald Powell (defensive end, 6′4″, 250 lbs., 4.6, California): Powell, who is quick enough to also play linebacker, will either play for the Trojans or the Florida Gators.

Jordan Hicks (linebacker, 6′2″, 200 lbs., Ohio): Another quick and fast ‘backer, with the kind of frame that will put on weight, Hicks is considered a long shot to sign with the Trojans.

Lamarcus Joyner (corner back, 5′8.5″, 165 lbs., 4.4, Florida): Despite his diminutive size, this kid can really bring it. Also a great special teams player. Considered a fairly long shot to play for USC.

George Uko (defensive tackle, 6′4″, 297 lbs., 4.9, California): If this guy can stay focused (not a given), Uko can be a difference maker on the d-line. Uko has been much more consistent this year, thus his inclusion as a five star. I think Uko is almost a lock to wear Crimson and Gold next year.

Christian Green (wide receiver, 6′2″, 185 lbs., Florida): A great talent but very unlikely to play for the Trojans who have not yet extended him an offer.

Sharrif Floyd (defensive tackle, 6′2″, 311 lbs., Pennsylvania): A marvellous talent but not considered a player who has USC high on his list.

Anthony Barr (running back, 6′4″, 225 lbs., 4.55, California): A bruising runner in the mold of Lendale White but faster, Barr is a considered to have the Trojans high on his list.

So there you have it.

The complete list, as of now, of five star prep prospects on the Trojans radar.

One more name of note:

Kyle Prater, the 6′5″ five star wide receiver from Illinois who gave the Trojans a verbal commitment a couple of months ago is now considered a “soft commitment.” I have heard that despite this, Prater will still sign with USC. However, I have also heard that his parents have been leaning on Prater to stay local thus making Illinois the favorite to land his services.

Only time will tell regarding Prater.

Update!! Within an hour of writing this piece, I received word that Scout.com has removed the "soft verbal" from Kyle Prater's profile and now has him a solid commit for the Trojans.

Based on this list and an equally impressive list of four star athletes still considering the Trojans, the future looks very promising.

Pete Carroll always has recruited extremely well nationally and I expect that this year will be no exception.

In a year where the Trojans have not played up to hopes and expectations on the field, a good recruiting class will give the Trojans momentum heading into 2010.

Circle February 2 on your calendars and get ready to smile.

I think the Trojans cupboard will be re-stocked and ready to make waves for years to come.

Note: If you enjoyed this article and would like an update of the four star athletes that USC has targeted, please let me know via the comments section.

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