One of the crown jewels of last year's class is QB Mark Sanchez. He was Scout's top-rated quarterback and a five-star player and will be competing with John David Booty for the coveted position of starting quarterback at USC next season after spending the past season as a redshirt. It doesn't appear as though a quarterback will be signed in this year's class, unless a surprise develops late.
With Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush and Lendale White both departing to the NFL, running back is a position of priority in this year's class. They currently have commitments at RB from four-star Emmanual Moody (Coppell, Texas), four-star Stanley Havili (Salt Lake City, Utah) and five-star C.J. Gable (Sylmar, Calif.). At one point recently they were considered the leader for another five-star RB, Michael Goodson (Klein, Texas), but with the recent commitments of Gable and Havili, it is up in the air as to whether they will take a flier on Goodson as well. Other possibilities include three more five-star rated players, Stafon Johnson (Los Angeles), C.J. Spiller (Lake Butler, Fla.) and Keiland Williams (Chatham, Va.). Any running backs signed this year will have an opportunity for early playing time next year with Bush and White both deciding to leave for NFL riches.
USC fortified their receiving corps last year by signing four-star TE Charles Brown and five-star WR Patrick Turner, who was rated the best receiver in the nation by Scout. Another highly rated wideout/tight end combination is on the way next year as they have secured commitments from four-star TE Anthony McCoy (Fresno, Calif.) and five-star WR Vidal Hazleton (Chatham, Va.). Hazleton is rated second by Scout among the nations wide receivers in this year's class. Another five-star WR commit is David Ausberry (Lemoore, Calif.). Ausberry is a player that the Notre Dame coaching staff had interest in prior to him committing to USC at the US Army All-American game.
Like Notre Dame, offensive line will be a priority position for USC to recruit this year. They had two linemen in last year's class, three- star Nick Howell and Thomas Herring, both of whom redshirted this past season. They currently have a commitment from four-star OL Zach Heberer ( San Pedro, Calif.). A name very familiar to Irish fans, Butch Lewis (Aurora, Colo.), carries a four-star rating from Scout and also could end up on the offensive line for the Trojans. USC is also still involved with highly-regarded five-star prospects like Andre Smith (Birmingham, AL) and Steve Schilling (Bellevue, WA), among others.
One of the Trojans last year's defensive line recruits, Kyle Moore, was rated a four-star player by Scout and saw playing time this past season at end. Another defensive line recruit, Averell Spicer, redshirted. Spicer was rated with five-stars and number two nationally by Scout as an end last year, but his future may be as a tackle. The Trojans currently have commitments from a pair of four-star linemen in DE Alex Parsons (Irvine, Calif.) and DT Derek Simmons (Fairfield, Calif.) and the rumor mill is swirling over five-star mega recruit DT Gerald McCoy (Oklahoma City, OK) possibly choosing USC. The McCoy saga had Notre Dame fans on edge for some time, as he had been a favorite of Irish recruitniks for months. But McCoy has apparently dropped Notre Dame from consideration recently. Butch Lewis may also enter the picture as a defensive lineman if his commitment to USC holds.
USC signed a strong class of linebackers last year, led by five-star studs Brian Cushing and Rey Maualuga. Both saw playing time this past season, as did another linebacker signed last year, Kaluka Maiava, who carried a four-star Scout rating. Five-star prospect LB Luthur Brown, who may have been more highly touted than all three, redshirted his freshman season. The Trojans picked up a commitment from five-star LB Allen Bradford (Colton, Calif.) at the US Army All-American game, and he will join another outstanding five-star prospect, LB Josh Tatum (Oakland, CA), in the mix next year. Another committed player, five-star super prospect Taylor Mays ( Seattle, Wash.), may end up as a linebacker in college as well.
USC always seems to have great athletes in the secondary. Last year's pair of four-star corners, Cary Harris and Kevin Thomas, each saw playing time as freshmen. If returning CB Josh Pinkard moves to his more natural position of safety next year, Harris and Thomas could be the starting corner combination. Many consider Mays a top safety prospect, and USC also has a commitment from five-star S Antwine Perez (Camden, NJ), one of the nations best, and highly touted four-star CB Shareece Wright (Colton, CA).
All in all the Trojans seem well stocked for future success when looking at the last their last two recruiting efforts. The current class shapes up as the possible No. 1 class overall once signing day arrives. All of their 16 current commitments are rated as 4 or 5 star players on Scout's 1 to 5 rating system. The current average of 4.44 stars per player is simply staggering.
The Trojans have commitments from seven five-star players and nine four-star players in this current class and they're not finished yet. Combine this class with last year's class, a class that saw the Trojans sign six more five-star players and eight four-star prospects, and the Trojans are on a roll.
They currently have commitments from 11 of Scout's top 100 rated players. No other school has more than 7 (Florida). It all adds up to bad news for those who predicted (or wishfully thought) that the Rose Bowl defeat and eventual departures of Leinhart, Bush, White and others would slow the momentum of the USC program.