It's been called the most impressive collection of talent ever assembled on one high school football team and the Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits of 2001 were a walking All American team with five players ranked among the Top Fifty players in the country.
For fans who follow recruiting it was one stop shopping because if you wanted to see the best players at their positions all you had to do was tune in to the epic Poly battle with DeLa Salle or the thrilling victory over Edison for the CIF title. With so much talent in one spot the colleges banging down the doors came from all ends of the country with the hopes of landing one or maybe two from the list but what coach dared to think that he would be able to walk away with as many as four?! Well, for Trojan fans, that dream may have indeed turned in to reality as one of the more astounding events in recruiting history took place this week with reports that Manuel Wright, Hershel Dennis, Darnell Bing and Winston Justice all gave their verbal commitments to the USC coaches this past weekend.
To this point only Wright and Justice have gone public and confirmed their verbals but there are many unconfirmed and private reports which indicate that Dennis and Bing will make it official within the next few days. To land all four of these players at the same time is the type of event which can impact this recruiting class and the immediate future of the USC football program because they may represent an amazing achievement as a group for Coach Carroll but each player also fills a vital need and it isn't an exaggeration to think that all could see extensive action next fall.
The two players who have confirmed their commitments, Wright and Justice, offer Carroll the luxury of bringing in arguably the top lineman on both sides of the ball in Southern California. Wright is an absolute man child with an NFL frame and the ability to be a dominant force in the middle. Justice recently turned 17 years old and one former USC OL said that Winston has the best frame for an OL he has ever seen. It will be a bit of a waiting game for Dennis and Bing until they officially confirm but it is possible that these two could end up being the RB tandem of the future for Troy. Dennis has been the star RB at Poly for the past 3 seasons, a smooth and gifted runner who became the 1st Jackrabbit to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season when he accomplished the feat in his junior year. Bing, on the other hand, is known as a hard hitting safety who one pro coach said would be drafted this year if he was eligible. Darnell was a legend as a Pop Warner RB and was moved to defense as a sophomore at Poly but is now anxious for his opportunity to show what he can do as a RB and he will get that shot with the Trojans.
Of course, there is always a wandering cow within any herd and the Trojans missed out on a good one from the Poly group in Marcedes Lewis but, all in all, it wasn't a bad week when it comes to continuing the vaunted Poly to USC pipeline.