What Would a Win Mean in Recruiting?

<b>COMMENTARY</B>: It always seems like in recruiting there is quite a bit riding on the outcome of the UCLA/USC game, but it seems, this year, it's even more critical...

It's USC week, and there are sure to be plenty of stories this week that will fire you up about the game.


But since we're all recruit-a-holics (and that's really all that matters, right?), let's get you fired up over how this game could impact UCLA's recruiting efforts.


This USC game could, more than anything else, be the biggest contributing factor to UCLA's recruiting success this season. If UCLA lost to USC but beat Washington State, it would still probably give UCLA a boost in recruiting – but it wouldn't be the boost the Bruins would get by a win over the Trojans.


Here's why a win Saturday reaps dividends for UCLA in recruiting:


-- If UCLA were to lose to USC and beat Washington State, it would be good, but not as good on the recruiting front as beating USC.  There is still a feeling that UCLA should always beat Washington State, despite WSU being #3 in the BCS.   And there's always the feeling that the season is a relative success if you beat USC. UCLA isn't competing with Washington State for many recruits.


-- There are those recruits that are considering both UCLA and USC seriously, and a win could help sway them away from the Darkside.  Defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, offensive lineman Drew Radovich, defensive end Alex Morrow, and linebackers Thomas Williams and Michael Okwo are a few who could be influenced by a win. While many of them might tell you publicly that whichever schools wins the UCLA/USC game doesn't affect their recruiting much, the opinion of most recruiting experts is that it would.  It's not so much that a recruit believes which teams wins is the better program, but it casts the winning program in a generally more positive light. 


-- Not only is it a factor for those recruits that might decide between UCLA and USC, but those that are considering UCLA and not USC. Beating USC will be the major validation that many prospects are looking for in UCLA this year – and that the program needs.   It's pretty safe to say that a UCLA win gives the Bruins a boost not only with the recruits seriously considering both schools, but with prospects across the board.  It could even get some recruits to jump on the bandwagon who weren't even mentioning UCLA previously.  It will give the UCLA coaches something very substantial to sell to recruits.


-- USC has it rolling right now better than they have in probably five years, both on the field and in recruiting.  A UCLA win not only gives UCLA a boost, but places a  speed bump in the road of USC recruiting. 


-- If UCLA wins, recruits could be encouraged by the young talent on the team rather than being scared away because of a perceived potential for lack of playing time.  The sentiment would be – if UCLA can beat USC, in USC's best year in a decade, when they have two dozen seniors and a Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback – and UCLA can do it with so many freshman not only on their two deep but playing and starting,  including at quarterback, imagine how UCLA will do against USC in the next several years when this high school senior prospect is in college?  You would think the perception could be: UCLA is going to be very good for the next couple of years, at least, with all the great, young players they have.  They were even good enough that, when many on this team were sophomores and freshmen, they beat USC's best team. A recruit, more than even playing time, is compelled by being in a program that he perceives is going to be a winner over the period of time he spends at the school.


An aside: This leads us to a point about a prospect's perception of UCLA's young talent, that doesn't necessarily have too much to do with the outcome of the USC game, but worth noting here. Perhaps one of the biggest influences is how many freshmen UCLA is playing this year, and it might be a more substantial influence in a way you might not anticipate. Many would believe that UCLA having so many young players making an impact that it would keep away recruits – their rationale being that, with so many young players, there isn't room on the depth chart, and might not be for a while. That is partially the case. If a quarterback is looking at UCLA, he might be scared away by the fact that true freshmen Drew Olson and Matt Moore look very promising.  If a running back is considering UCLA he might be concerned about playing time since Tyler Ebell is just a redshirt freshman.  But generally, there is just as strong, if not a stronger, sentiment that when a recruit sees a program play so many young guys early, they perceive it as a program that gives opportunities to young playe

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