Ernie Jr., Marcus' father, called Carroll after he met with Watkins and was impressed with the Trojans head football coach
"He was real down to earth and personable," Ernie Jr. said. "He dressed real casual and I liked that. I could tell he would have a genuine concern for Marcus and he'd be straight with him. He's a top quality guy.
"When you find a coach who can help a kid, it's truly special. Let's face it, a lot of kids coming out of high school are very impressionable and are starting their lives over when they get to college. They come from broken homes and poverty and are in need of guidance. There aren't many guys like Pete Carroll who look you in the eyes and be precious with their sincerity. That means a lot because as a parent, I want to know my kid is in good hands."
Marcus wasn't present when the coaches were on his campus, but like his father, he talked to Carroll for an hour by phone.
"He (Carroll) talked about their school and football team," Marcus said. "They were selling USC and what a great school it is. He said they were going after four big backs and I was on their list.
"Coach Carroll said he liked the way I was brought up with a Christian background. He's a great guy. I really like him a lot."
Ernie Jr. said the travel distance required for he and his wife to visit Marcus and attend games at USC might not be an issue if another of their sons, Ernie Sims III, an All-American line backing candidate leaves Florida State for the NFL draft after the 2005 season. They would have fewer responsibilities at home, providing them with more of an opportunity to travel.
Marcus detailed the qualities he's looking for in a school.
"I'm going to go where I fit in best," Marcus said. " I need to like the players and the coaches. I'm pretty sure all the coaches are great, but my relationship with them and their coaching style is very important."
Sims' relationship with the Trojan players and coaches shouldn't be a problem, but the getting a recruit to leave his family and friends and travel across the country isn't an easy task. Lane Kiffin, who is recruiting Sims, will have his work cut out, but Carroll's "never take no for an answer" mentality and tireless work ethic could be the difference with Sims.
Last season as a junior, Sims rushed the ball 141 times for 1,154 yards and scored 17 touchdowns. Defensively, he recorded 84 tackles, 10 tackles for a loss and two sacks. He also blocked two kicks.