During the news conference held in the McKay Center, Sarkisian spent a lot of time talking about the recruiting class as a whole and the impact he hopes it has on next season. He also discussed the future of the program and how things were progressing in his second year as the USC head coach, but more interesting was his thoughts on the recruits.
Because of NCAA rules, this was the first time that Sarkisian (or any of the coaching staff) could speak specifically about individual recruits that signed on Wednesday. So here's what Sarkisian had to say about each of the individual offensive recruits along with the position groups. He also spoke indirectly about the two advanced scholarship players that USC will sign in the fall, offensive lineman Clayton Johnston and receiver Deontay Burnett:
- The two QBs I love. - As we all know, in my opinion, the quarterback position is the most important position in sports. That’s why we felt like we needed a second. - I think we’re in great shape with those two.
Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure four-star Ricky Town:
- Ricky has just been a rock with us. Committed to us early on when I had first gotten the job and has just been fantastic.
San Clemente (Calif.) four-star Sam Darnold:
- Sam Darnold just blew us away. He was a guy who was injured his junior year. He came to camp this summer and absolutely just blew me away — one with his athleticism; two with his competitiveness; and then three with what his potential could look like.
On Offensive Line:
McEachern (Ga.) five-star Chuma Edoga and Los Angeles (Calif.) Windward four-star Roy Hemsley:
- Both good, long, athletic guys. Roy’s only played a couple of years of football. He was a basketball player. Chuma is a really polished, but the tackle spot was big for us to develop the depth.
Mission Viejo (Calif.) three-star Cole Smith:
- Cole Smith is a center. Obviously, Max Tuerk has another year. To find a guy that just has center in his blood — his dad, Doug, was just a fantastic player for years with the Rams — he’s got o-line center in his blood. He reminds me a lot of Ryan Kalil, quite honestly, when we took Ryan a few years back. So really cool to have him.
On Running Backs:
- When you look at the running back position, there was a real emphasis on speed. You look at Ronald Jones, Dominic Davis, Ced Ware — all possess the ability to take the ball the distance at any point wherever they’re at on the field. - I talked about the running backs already, but all these guys are big, home run hitter types. - All those guys I think are different. We got a good mix there.
Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany four-star Dominic Davis:
- Dominic Davis might be the fastest guy in the state of California. - Dom can be somewhat of a slot for us, play a little bit of receiver and running back.
McKinney (Texas) North four-star Ronald Jones II:
- Ronald Jones might be the fastest guy in the state of Texas. - Ronald, the real home run hitter. - Ronald is a dynamic player. What Ronald gives us — a lot like with Buck and Justin and Tre when he gets back — is they’re all very versatile. One, they can run it. Two, they catch the ball really well out of the backfield. Ronald catches the ball extremely well. Ronald has another gear. He’s probably going to run low 10.3s, if not dip into the 10.2s this year in the 100 [-meter dash]. He was thinking about not even running track. I said, “Look when you run that fast, you have to run track. Your high school coach would be mad at me.” But he provides us the ability to go the distance so that changes the complexion some time of the defenses you might get. It’s a quarterback’s best friend when teams have to defend the run and are staring at the run game and then all of the other things on the perimeter are available to you. - Love what he brings. I thought the coolest thing for Ronald, I was sitting in my kitchen and watching the Under Armour game and he commits to us. They put him back on the field and four minutes later, they give it to him, he goes 60 and takes it to the house. I remember going to my son and saying, “That’s why we got that guy.” That’s what he provides and what he gives you.
Cedar Hill (Texas) three-star Aca’Cedric Ware:
- Ced Ware, all he did was lead his team to a Texas State championship. - Ced, the little bit more between-the-tackle, physical runner.
On Wide Receivers:
- When you look at the two JC wideouts we signed in Issac and De’Quan, really good length and size at the wide receiver spot. - And the two JC kids, which we talked about, De’Quan Hampton and Isaac Whitney at wideout. Big, long, strong receivers. You’re typical wide receivers that we like to create isolated one-on-one matchups with against corners.
On Moraga (Calif.) Campolindo four-star tight end Tyler Petite:
- Maybe the most important guy in the class is Tyler Petite at tight end. As we all well know, we’ve got some depth issues at tight end right now. Tyler, a guy that didn’t commit to us early on and we just didn’t give up. Coach Tuiasosopo did a great job of just not giving up on the kid. A fantastic athlete at 6-foot-4, 236 pounds, whose future I think is just ridiculously bright, so love him.
On Advanced Scholarship players and the mentality:
- I think the guys who do this, they do have a sense of maturity about them. I actually think of them in a higher regard that they have their willingness to want to be at USC and they can understand the value of the degree, the value of the experience here at USC to make that decision because they do miss out on some of the hoopla of Signing Day, but this is a 24-hour deal, the whole Signing Day thing. The bigger picture is the next 4-5 years of your life, which lead to the next 40-50 years of their life. I think the guys that chose to do this, I commend them. I think it shows a great deal of maturity, of what they’re about, what they represent and what they’ll bring to our program in the future.
And here's the entire news conference, if you are interested in hearing the comments yoursef: