Recruiting Weekend Update

Here is a look at a USC recruiting weekend through the eyes of one parent who took a trip in December.

The Trojans hosted five recruits this weekend for official recruiting visits and we spoke with one parent who was on the trip for the following report:

"The weekend was absolutely fantastic. We checked into the hotel Friday night and immediately went to a reception where we met with the recruits who were on the trip. There was Oscar Lua, Tom Malone, Chris Anderson, Nephi Penerosa and Kyle Brown. All of the kids on this trip were great and they all got along from the start. The coaches were at this reception and everyone got to know each other before we took a tour of campus. From there the parents and coaches went to dinner at the Charthouse while the players and their hosts went to Keyshawn's restaurant. The parents got back in around 11 but the players came home a little after that.

On Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast at Town and Gown with the coaches and then we went over to watch practice. In the afternoon the players and parents went down to the training room to meet the staff and the presentation from Coach Carlisle was one of the most impressive parts of the weekend. He is simply amazing in terms of the information he showed the kids and the kind of testing they put them through. Their philosophy for training and developing players is so sophisticated the way they design a training program for each individual player to build strength, fitness and explosiveness. They showed us how they test range of motion and explosiveness after a player comes back from an injury with a program that is the first of it's kind in the country. They film the kids on a machine with a floor that gives while the players test their vertical and the results are fed into a computer which measures the joints in the ankle, knee and thigh. From these tests they can compare a players numbers from before and after an injury to see if they are back to full capacity. I can't say enough about Carlisle and Chris Anderson was so fired up after the presentation that he gave Carlisle a hug and asked for his card.

After that some of the parents wanted to go back to the hotel and rest before dinner but the coaches encouraged us to join the kids for a tour of the Coliseum and it turned out to be a great time. We went to the locker room and each kid had a locker with his name and equipment laid out in there. We saw the national championship rings and gear from famous players and then when we walked out of the tunnel they had the PA announcer introduce each player over the loudspeaker as they came on the field. It was awesome. They had the players names rotating on the scoreboard and Carroll had the kids so pumped up. Carroll kept on asking for updates from the Pitt game because his son plays on the team and was excited when he heard they won and clinched a trip to the Tangerine Bowl. There was another reception in the press box with more food and it seems like all you do on the trip is eat. Coach Orgeron said he starts the recruiting trips with a size 38 waist but by the time signing day rolls around he's a 44.

We then headed to the Universal CityWalk for dinner at B.B. King's and the highlight of the night was when Kennedy Pola went to the microphone and called Coach Carroll down to the stage where the coach sat down at the piano and joined the band for a song. The players loved it and were going nuts, Shaun Cody was dancing on the dance floor, it was great. After that the manager of the place came out and said, "I'm not saying Bob Toledo and the Bruins aren't welcome here but they need to call and make reservations from now on because this is Trojan country." After dinner the parents went back to the hotel but the players stayed and visited the Bruin Pride store at the City Walk where Cody asked a salesclerk if the "27-0" t-shirts had come in yet.

We met in the Galen Center for breakfast on Sunday morning and then practice started at 11:00 with some of the recruits leaving to catch planes and head home. One side note on the trip for Trojan fans is that nobody within the program could stop talking about Justin Fargas and how good he looked this fall. Defensive players were telling us the reason the defense improved throughout the season was because they had to face him in practice each week and they predicted if he is granted a medical exemption year he will definitely be a candidate for the Heisman.

All in all it was just a 1st class experience and everyone from top to bottom was great to deal with. There is so much excitement and optimism right now and the players have completely bought off on Coach Carroll and his program. There is a sign above the exit of the locker room that says "I'm in" and that spirit was evident all weekend with the way the players and coaches interacted with each other and seemed to be genuinely excited about what is going on. We just had a great time."

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