Fontana (Calif.) Summit five-star running back Stephen Carr committed to USC last spring, but along with his friend, four-star cornerback Thomas Graham, re-opened his recruitment last January.
Graham has since gone on to de-commit from USC fully. Logically, Trojans fans are bracing themselves for Carr to follow suit.
“I’m still the soft commit I’ve been,” said Carr. “What Thomas did has nothing to do with me.
“At the end of the day you have to go to a college that fits you. I can’t base my decision off of what Thomas does. That’s my guy, and wherever he goes and wherever I go, we’ll be happy for each other.”
One of the main factors that Graham cited in his de-commitment from USC was his lack of communication with the new coaching staff. Carr has no such issues with USC.
“Coach [Tommie] Robinson and I have a great relationship,” said Carr. “Honestly, I talk to him, the head coach… all of the coaches at USC.
“They have made sure to get to know me and say that I’m their first priority.”
Since Graham’s de-commitment from USC, Carr has spoken to both head coach Clay Helton and running back coach Tommie Robinson.
“We talked and basically discussed how everybody has their own path they have to take to college,” said Carr. “They wanted me to know that I don’t have to follow in anyone’s footsteps.”
Carr did not attend any of USC’s spring football practices, which has further added to the trepidation of Trojan fans. Carr does want to see the new offense in action, but he will have to wait until August for that to happen.
“I do have some questions for the staff,” said Carr. “Mainly, I just want to see how they plan on using me.
“Is it in the same way as the old staff, or do they have other ideas about how they want to run the ball. Just stuff like that — nothing big.
“USC is still home to me. There’s just something about USC that pulls me in. I love the school man, I just love it.”
But Carr is still gauging how much more he loves USC in comparison with other schools.
“Visiting other schools have given me an opportunity to hear what other coaches have to say and see what other programs are like,” said Carr. “I’m honestly having fun with it.
“I’m a Cali boy, so going out of state is always going to be exciting. I had a great time at Michigan and Miami. Seeing what these other coaches had to say about life after football was important.
“Football isn’t going to last forever, so I’m trying to compare coaches and see how each will work with me.”
One of the highlights of Carr’s spring itinerary was meeting Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh.
“What I got from him is that, ‘We’re going to get the job done,’” said Carr. “We’re going to handle things on the football field, and afterward, we’re going to take care of your life 30-years after the game.
“Coach Harbaugh can be serious like that, but he can also joke with you too. He has a great personality. He jumped on my Snapchat, which was really cool. Most coaches don’t do that, but he knows all about that.”
Considering the likes of Michigan, Miami, Georgia, LSU and others, Carr has to resolve leaving home for college.
“I always think about that on these trips, but distance isn’t too much of a factor,” said Carr. “Wherever I have to go to be successful in life, I’ll go. Distance is distance. It may be tough to leave home at first, but I have to take advantage of my opportunities wherever they are.”