As an interested observer of high school recruiting, I have learned that talent evaluation is a highly subjective discipline.
For example, the two premier high school recruiting services, Scout.com and Rivals.com often evaluate and rank prep talent very differently.
A good example of this would be Kyle Prater , the 6'5" wide receiver stud from Illinois who recently confirmed that he was a "100% Trojan" come signing day.
Rivals has Prater listed as their #2 player overall, in the "Rivals 250" list of top high school players in the nation.
Meanwhile, Scout has Prater listed as their #13 player overall (Prater has recently jumped higher in their list of evaluated players).
While this is not a glaring example of the discrepancies between prep recruiting services, it does serve to show that sometimes there is a gulf between the services and their evaluation of high school football talent.
The point is that often those assigned to rate the quality of high school athletes miss their mark and either rate some players too high or, conversely, too low.
This makes the assignment of the associated "stars" hung next to these high school players a rating whose validity often is not determined until long after the player has hit the field of play for his college team.
The necessity for explaining the nuances of high school recruiting is borne of the need to qualify the veracity of these recruiting services and to explain to the reader that the difference between a four star athlete (and indeed many three star recruits) and a five star athlete may not be a true representation of the athletes future value to his college team.
USC has already gained verbal commitments from many highly regarded four star athletes.
Matt Darr , a two way kicker in the David Buehler mold, Jesse Scroggins , the very highly regarded Lakewood high school quarterback and DJ Morgan , the #51 overall player in Scouts top 300 are just a few of the four star athletes who have given their verbal pledge.
These players, should they honor their verbal commitment, will all play a significant role in the future of the Trojans in years to come.
Without further delay, here is the list of Scout four star recruits who are considering the Trojans along with a thumbnail sketch of their measurables and talents:
Hayes Pullard (linebacker, 6'2", 220 lbs., 4.6): The Trojans are just one of a few schools that Pullard is considering.
Ricky Heimuli (defensive tackle, 6'4", 285 lbs., 4.9): A well regarded defensive stalwart who is rising quickly, Heimuli is also looking at several other schools.
Christian Jones (linebacker, 6'4", 215 lbs., 4.7): Jones, who is from Florida, is considered a long shot to sign with the Trojans.
Sean Parker (safety, 5'10", 188 lbs.): Parker, once considered a lock for the Trojans has now is looking hard at Michigan, amongst other schools. It may be that the Trojans have backed off in their pursuit of Parker.
Chaz Green (offensive tackle, 6'6", 278 lbs.): The Trojans are very much in the mix for Green's sevices along with Florida and Tennessee, who has yet to offer Green.
Christian Thomas (tight end, 6'3", 245 lbs., 4.6): Thomas, who is very talented, also is very intelligent and with the Trojans already having verbal commitments from tight ends Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfair, will probably look elsewhere.
Josh Shirley (outside linebacker, 6'2", 220 lbs., 4.55): Also once considered a Trojan lock, Shirley will now also consider a variety of PAC-10 schools, Notre Dame and Miami (Fl). This may be a result of the Trojans new recruiting philosophy which kept them from offering Shirley early.
Dietrich Riley (safety, 6'1", 195 lbs., 4.5): Riley, also once considered a future Trojan, will now decide, most likely, between Florida and the Trojans.
Ego Ferguson (defensive end, 6'4", 270 lbs.): Ferguson, who hails from Virginia, is considered unlikely to sign with the Trojans.
Marquis Flowers (safety, 6'2", 193 lbs., 4.4): Flowers, who has eye popping measurables, has recently gone on record as saying his Trojan visit was his "best by far." This is a good sign for USC, who would love to have this kid.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa (defensive end, 6'4", 240 lbs., 4.7): A very talented end, the Trojans are just one of many in the mix.
Demetrius Wright (cornerback, 6'1", 195 lbs., 4.5): A very physical corner back, Wright is considered a lock for the Trojans.
Anthony Jefferson (cornerback, 6'2", 180 lbs., 4.5): Talented and with potential to become great, Jefferson is in the process of deciding between many schools and USC is among them.
These are the four star recruits that the Trojans are currently pursuing.
This group of recruits have tremendous ability, and as was mentioned previously, other recruiting services have rated some, like Jesse Scroggins , much higher in their evaluations.
To be certain, the prep stars listed here, if they sign with the Trojans, will be heard from in the future.
To what extent they will contribute to USC's future success is yet to be determined but if Pete Carroll's track record holds to form, there should be smiles found in the years to come.