Here are the scholarship players who I think will be on the squad when fall camp opens in August.
QB-4: Leinart; Booty; Hinds; Sanchez
TB-6: Bush, Dennis, L. White; Reed; Washington; Coleman
FB-3: Kirtman; Hancock; Adewale
WR-7: Buchanon; Carlson; McFoy; S. Smith; Jarrett; Lewis; Turner
TE-6: Byrd; Vanderboom; F. Davis; Thompson; Miller; C. Brown
C:-2 Kalil; Spanos
OG-6: Matua; Byers; Malu; Radovich; Rachal, Howell
OT-5; Lutui; Justice; K. Williams; Baker; Herring
DT-8: Ramsey; Tofi; Ellis; Draper; Miles; Moala; Ashley; Spicer
DE-8; Rucker; Goodrum; Barrett; Jackson; Morrow; Schweiger; Stuart; Moore
LB-10; Ashton; Powdrell; Sartz; Lua; Rivers; T. Williams; L. Brown; Cushing; Maiava; Maualuga
CB-6: J. Walker; Wyatt; T. Thomas; B. Ting; C. Harris; K. Thomas
S -6; Ware; Bing; R. Ting; Pinkard; Ellison; W. Harris
PK –1; Van Blarcom
P –1; Malone
LS –1; Collins
That's 80 scholarships used if they all stay eligible and report to camp. Add 1 for DT Gabe Long based on that positive interview by Garry. That would make 81. Two other scholarships are still in play for Manny Wright and Eric Wright. If by some good fortune they would both be eligible next fall it would bring the total used to 83. Another wildcard is Mr. Lorig (TE or DE) who apparently still has a firm offer from us but as of this writing has not made a decision. If he becomes a Trojan, that would make 84 committed scholarships.
Since we have 85 football scholarships available by NCAA rule, there is still at least one and possible as many as five openings going into the fall. It is not unusual for the coach to award a scholarship to a deserving walk-on (or 2), so that may happen. And, it is possible that we could sign a JC CB, as Garry discussed in a recent article.
Next, let's look at the number of scholarships that will be available in February ‘06. The above list of returning players includes 15 squad members who are using their last year of eligibility: They are: Lutui; Byrd; Buchanon; Carlson; Kirtman; Leinart; Ramsey; Rucker; Ashton; Powdrell; Sartz; Ware; J. Walker; Wyatt; and Malone. So we know we have those scholarships available.
The big question will be, "how many Juniors will declare early for the NFL draft?" Possibilities already discussed in several articles on the Web are: Justice; S. Smith; Bing; Bush; and L. White.
To anticipate next February's class, let's pick a hypothetical series of events and calculate from there. Let's assume that all 80 on the above list report for fall camp. Plus Long and Lorig report but neither of the Wrights. That would leave 3 open scholarships. Let's also assume that next year 3 juniors declare for the NFL draft. In that scenario the returning squad next February would total 64. The calculation goes like this: we would have 82 (current scholarship roster plus the two new players) minus the 15 seniors and minus 3 juniors leaving for the NFL. Total available scholarships under this hypothetical would be 21.
It is not unusual to lose squad members during the year to academic, medical or other reasons. So we may in fact have more than 21 to offer next year. As we've discussed before, this is a fluid system because we are dealing with college age students and "things" happen. Under almost any hypothetical count, Pete and staff are going to have a larger than usual number of scholarships to work with.
We will recap "Scholarship Math" again next fall. If you are like me, you will be following the camps and recruiting reports to fill in these 4 months of deprivation. Actually, for those of us who lived through some bad recruiting years, it is exhilarating to read that we are on so many "short lists" of top players around the country. I like it and intend to enjoy every moment. Life is good being a Trojan these days.