Led by the man in charge, Pete Carroll, this staff is putting in the extra effort and thorough preparation which leave little to chance in the world of recruiting and those two items may sound trite and to be taken for granted but Trojan fans have seen that is not always the case. John Robinson had a wonderful demeanor and could charm a living room with the best of them but his work ethic in his second tenure as USC head man left a little to be desired. There is no substitute for hustle when it comes to identifying the right players for a specific system and one of the main knocks on JR was that all too often he relied on the "expert" recruiting lists to guide him to the prospects. This current staff has made it a point to visit every high school in the state this month while at the same time canvassing the country for targets that may fit the profile we are looking for. Not every school in California is going to have a top recruit this year but you never know who is going to have a monster sophomore or huge freshman so the importance of maintaining and developing relationships with the high schools in your own backyard cannot be overstated. On a national level these efforts may only pan out on a select two or three recruits per year but if we are focusing on specific needs and those needs can only be found out of state then it is all worth it, especially when we can pull a surprise and land a top notch player like a Mike Williams who most of those "experts" felt was headed elsewhere.
Paul Hackett always gave the impression that he felt he was above the process of recruiting where a head coach must often find himself at the whim of a 17-year old kid and this fact has driven many pro coaches away from the college game but it is a fact of life and must be dealt with if you are going to have any kind of success at this level. Carroll has seemed to embrace this process and one of the more impressive things this past month has been talking to the high school recruits and hearing them speak in glowing terms about the enthusiasm of the man in charge. Players can feed off that enthusiasm and it is noticeable at any of the camps or combines such as the Nike Camp in Palo Alto last week where Carroll was running from drill to drill checking out players with his assistant coaches while staffs from other conference schools were checking out early before the event was over.
Carroll and staff are being picky when it comes to making a scholarship offer with the driving thought being that they want to make sure the player fits their needs before bringing them in. The trend in college recruiting these days is to make early offers, to fill a class with verbal commits as early as possible but why rush to make a judgement if you are not entirely sure and the recruits have yet to play their senior year of football? This may cost us a player or two in the short run but in the long run it will give more of an opportunity for thorough evaluation and wth this staff the one thing we can be sure of is that there is a plan in place and a strategy behind the moves they are making. For Trojan fans that it is a nice feeling indeed.