Recruiting Awards: 2012 Edition

We're going to wrap up our National Signing Day coverage with 2012 recruiting awards. Look inside for the Biggest Surprise of the Class, the Biggest Recruiter and more.

We're going to wrap up our National Signing Day coverage with 2012 recruiting awards. Note: the following are subjective and hereby an opinion of USC beat writer Whitney Blaine and not of Fox Sports Next/Scout.com.

Most Likely to Be an Impact Player: Leonard Williams
Leonard Williams has a great frame now (as a senior in high school) and the potential to get even bigger. Kiffin said he expects Williams to make an early impact and I think so too. Not only is he coming across coasts with the expectation that he'll be Nick Perry reincarnate but he's got all the tools. From watching a limited amount of film, he's a surefire tackler, aggressive, athletic, has good vision, quick feet and has the potential to be a great pass rusher at the next level.
Runner Up: Nelson Agholor.

Best Recruiter of the Class: Jordan Simmons
You could give this one to Scott Starr too for his help as an early enrollee while players took official visits, but Simmons was relentless in his pursuit of Zach Banner. Simmons worked with recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron to talk to players on the fence and help them see the positives about USC. The offensive lineman from Crespi High was proud of the unofficial duties he'd been given and told SCPlaybook "he was doing a good job, too!"
Runner Up: Scott Starr

Biggest Surprise of the Class: Devian Shelton
Within 24 hours of National Signing Day, this defensive back from Inglewood High went from having no USC offer to signing with the Trojans as one of 12 recruits in their incoming class. Recruited as a cornerback, Shelton has the versatility to also play safety. At 6'2 Shelton is one of USC's bigger defensive backs. From his highlight reel it looks as though Shelton is a ball hawk who possesses quick hips and is equipped with great instinct.
Runner Up: Leonard Williams

Recruit With Biggest Upside: Zach Banner
You could put a lot of incoming players here--close second would be Max Tuerk--but I expect Banner to have great opportunity right away on USC's offensive line and I think he will live up to those great expectations sooner rather than later. He looked at that left tackle spot as a huge reason for his coming to USC. I don't think he'll necessarily start there but could see him really grasping the system and flourishing within a couple of years.
Runner Up: Max Tuerk

Most Likely to See Early Time: Gerald Bowman
Safety Gerald Bowman could see early time with the Trojans, especially on special teams. A few key players on John Baxter's "Regulators" have departed, like Shane Horton or Ross Cumming, and I could see Bowman being a pivotal role player here as well as on defense. Touted as the number one junior college safety, Bowman could come in behind T.J. McDonald or Jawanza Starling and do some damage late in games.
Runner Up: Max Tuerk

Biggest Project of the Bunch: Chad Wheeler
I think all of the players are fairly polished and have a lot of upside, but my pick here is Chad Wheeler. Scout's Kevin Carden said he has a good frame but needs to add weight. I'd say he's a likely redshirt but that might be too early to tell as he's an early enrollee and could "get it" after six months in the system.
Runner Up: Jordan Simmons

Most Obvious Playmaker: Nelson Agholor
If the Trojans go to three wide receiver sets in the fall, Nelson Agholor's name will become a familiar one. He's probably fourth on the depth chart right now, behind Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and George Farmer but I expect the Florida native's explosiveness and versatility to be too valuable not to get on the field. With experience at safety and running back, Agholor could confuse some Pac-12 defenses if he can line up from a variety of spots, including the backfield.
Runner Up: Darreus Rogers

Most Underrated of the Class: Kevon Seymour
Seymour seems like a genuinely nice kid and a motivated one. He also seems incredibly enthusiastic about being a Trojan. Scout's Kevin Carden said Seymour has the potential to be a lockdown corner and contribute as a kick returner on special teams down the road. If he can come in and be a quick learner, Seymour could surprise all of us and be the one everyone talks about in a couple years.
Runner Up: Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick

Fan Favorite of 2012: Scott Starr
Every Trojan fan loves Starr. He bleeds cardinal and gold, he's dedicated, motivated and tweets about everything USC. If Starr can play the way he talks, he'll be adorned in Trojanland for a very long time.
Runner Up: Gerald Bowman


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