Fontana (Calif.) five-star running back Stephen Carr is the crowed jewel of the Trojans' 2017 recruiting class, and USC fans are quick to link the ebb and flow of the season with his commitment status.
After a 52-6 drubbing at the hands of Alabama in week one, anxious Trojan fans took Carr’s silence about the game as a bad sign. Savvy about recruiting drama, Carr simply side-stepped questions about his commitment as he would any would-be tackler.
“The Alabama game was a tough game,” said Carr. “I knew it would be a tough game, but also knew they (USC) would bounce back.
“They had mistakes during the game, but it wasn’t anything they couldn’t adjust to. I think it’s little mistakes they have to fix. The teams they were playing against were excellent in stopping the run. I think it will just take more practice to get the offense going.”
USC did bounce back on the scoreboard Saturday beating Utah State 45-7. However, the Trojans running game was still enigmatic with Justin Davis and Aca’Cedric Ware making up for a majority of USC’s 178 yards rushing on 44 carries.
Running almost exclusively from the shotgun, USC has little to no rushing threat in quarterback Max Browne. It’s something Carr has noticed.
“As a running back you have to prepare for the defense keying on you,” said Carr. “I think most running backs look forward to the challenge of carrying the run game.
“You want that pressure because it’s an opportunity to make big plays. I feel like you want that challenge.”
Carr was on-hand Saturday for the Trojans win versus Utah State. While he enjoyed the game itself, he also took in the experience of being on campus and seeing the fan base celebrate the home opener at USC.
“Being a top recruit on campus is always fun,” said Carr. “Some of the fans recognize me and it’s good to see the atmosphere. I spent time talking with other recruits and met some new people.
“I walked from campus to the Coliseum and back. It was nice.”
Carr will take all five of his official visits, including one to USC late in the year if not next January. With plenty of time to check out other college campuses, the question will remain whether struggles for USC this season will impact his commitment come signing day.
“You’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some,” said Carr. “You have to wait until the end of the season to figure out the outcome of it all.
“You live day-by-day to see better days. It will be great in the long run is how I’m looking at it. Loyalty is key, so you have to look at things in the long run — stay loyal.”