USC will travel to Dallas (Texas) this weekend to open the season against the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide, and how the Trojans play will be as important to recruits as who wins.
Mobile (Ala.) three-star wide receiver Marlon Williams is in the thick of Tide territory. Williams was one of USC’s first commitments in the class of 2017, and while he has heard from many close to him everyday about how the Trojans are set to get throttled by Alabama, he had his own take on the game.
“I think it will be a good game,” said Williams. “Both teams have a lot of talent and good coaches.
“A lot of people think it won’t be a close game, but I think SC will come out with the win. The main thing I want to see is how much USC is able to spread the ball out on offense.”
Of course, Alabama is known for dominating its opponents in the trenches on both sides of the football. USC offensive line commits Brett Neilon of Santa Margarita (Calif.) and Andrew Vorhees of Kingsburg (Calif.) had similar thoughts on the game Saturday.
“I expect a fight to the end and that the Men Of Troy will be victorious,” said Vorhees. “I want to see the offensive line play as a unit and just absolutely demoralize Alabama’s defensive line.”
Neilon concurred, hoping the Trojans offensive line entered Saturday’s game with a chip on their shoulder.
“I want to see USC be physical and run the ball,” said Neilon. “I’m really excited to see them take on the No. 1 team with Coach (Clay) Helton officially at the helm.
“I know USC won't back down at all.”
Pick a position and you can probably guess how a particular recruit would gameplay against Alabama Saturday. The linemen want to see physicality, while the skill players want to see the ball in the air.
“I feel an upset coming,” said Las Vegas (Nev.) wide receiver Randal Grimes. “I think you beat Alabama with the speed of Ronald Jones and then you go over the top with USC’s wide receivers.”
Lynwood (Calif.) three-star cornerback Wylan Free had perhaps the most astute take on beating the Tide.
“I expect SC to attack early offensively and defensively with hard, physical football,” said Free. “Honestly, just playing smart, physical football is key.
“You can’t beat Alabama by saying, ‘Okay, we’re going to go on a running or passing attack.’ You have to switch it up and play smart. You have to hit them where they least expect it.”
Of course, some of USC’s commits, like Powder Springs (Ga.) safety C.J. Miller, really don’t expect anything specific from Saturday’s game at all.
“I’m expecting some big time plays in a big time game by some big time players,” said Miller. “But really, I’m just really to see USC ball.
Tampa (Fla.) four-star wide receiver Juwan Burgess committed to USC last summer as an athlete. His thoughts on the game reveal where he may be leaning toward playing in college.
“I just expect USC to go out and give it their all,” said Burgess. “I would love to see a lot of team chemistry. I would also like to see how we play our safeties.”
In the end, other USC commits skipped the analysis and went straight for a prediction.
“We will win,” said Cathedral defensive end Hunter Echols. “We will win because the guys want to win and they have a monster head coach leading the way.”