With the commitments from Marc Tyler out of Oaks Christian (CA) and Broderick Green of Pulaski Academy (AK), the coaching staff will now turn their attentions toward recruiting a "speed back." The heavy favorite for that spot is Joe McKnight out of John Curtis HS in River Ridge, Louisiana. We have been steady in McKnight's group of favorites since the beginning, and don't look for that to change anytime soon. McKnight maintains a top three of USC, LSU, and Florida State. He is the top priority for the "speed" back role, due to his ability to create on returns, rushing, and catching the ball. If McKnight does decide elsewhere, look for Jahvid Best out of Salesian HS in Richmond, CA. As of right now, both Armando Allen out of Miami Lakes and Caleb King of Greater Atlanta Christian are out of the picture.
With Ryan Powdrell and Brandon Hancock both graduating after this season, the fullback position takes on a greater importance. At fullback, Jordan Campbell is the top priority. During Campbell's last visit to SC, he had a very productive meeting with the coaching staff regarding the position they are recruiting him at. He was informed that he would in fact get a shot at linebacker, even if fullback was where he started out. If Campbell were to go elsewhere or play linebacker, look for D.J. Holt out of Crespi as the next option.
After taking four receivers last year, wide receiver is not the biggest priority in this class. There really aren't many names that jump out here. There is no question that Arrelious Benn is talented, but he is heavy lean to Notre Dame at this point. Both Ahmad Paige out of Sterlington HS (LA) and Terrence Tolliver out of Hempstead HS (TX) will take visits here, but both are seen as long shots. As of right now, there are no in-state guys that have caught the coaches' eyes. One player who will get a long look at the beginning of the season is Terrance Scott out of College of the Canyons.
Many felt going into this recruiting year we would try and take one tight end in this class. But the coaches soon changed their plans after viewing the progression of freshman Anthony McCoy. McCoy has wowed onlookers from the moment he began practicing with the team, making tight end less of a priority. Don't expect us to sign a tight end come February unless we have a few scholarships left over in the end.
I think by now everybody knows that the offensive line will make or break this class. And Coach Carroll and staff got the ball rolling in a major way by picking up a commitment from James Wilson of Nease HS (FL) on top of verbal commitments from Michael Reardon and Martin Coleman. The main name left on the board is Kris O'Dowd of Salpointe Catholic (AZ). If the coaching staff can get O'Dowd onboard, and the chances of that happening look very good, then we will be done recruiting on the offensive line. For those who felt that Pat Ruel was not a good recruiter, take note to the fact that James Wilson mentioned Ruel as one of the main reasons why he ended up choosing USC over the Fighting Irish.
Defensive line is another spot of need for this recruiting class. The top targets available are Everson Griffen, Marvin Austin, Da'John Harris, and Martez Wilson. Everson Griffen of Agua Fria HS (AZ) and Da'John Harris of Serra HS (CA) look to be pretty heavy leans to SC. I'll take a page out of our publisher Garry P.'s book, when I say I like our chances with Griffen and Harris. Marvin Austin is a long way from choosing a school, but we have been in his top list of schools from the very start. Marvin Austin out of Ballou HS (DC) is being looked at as a defensive tackle while Martez Wilson of Simeon (IL) is being looked at primarily at defensive end. Wilson has played his recruiting close to vest, but expect his official visit to land on the weekend of the Notre Dame game. All four will visit, but our best shot rests with Harris and Griffen.
It has been well documented the amount of talent we have pulled in at the linebacker spot over the last few years. And receiving a commitment from Chris Galippo on Signing Day solidified a position that the coaching staff can afford to be picky with. The top player left on the board for this spot is Malcolm Smith of Taft HS (CA). If we do get Smith, then we will be done recruiting here.
There have been many names tossed around here, but it seems at this point the staff has a good idea of which players they are serious about. With the commitment of Marshall Jones out of Oaks Christian (CA), the coaches have turned their attentions towards recruiting the cornerback spot. Donovan Warren out of Long Beach Poly (CA) is the number one guy, and all signs still have us in the driver's seat for his services. Right behind Donovan Warren is Omar Bolden out of Colony HS (CA), and the only question mark with him is grades. Bolden, who had a good spring semester, said recently that he received his test scores and his coach said he would not need to take them again.
With the recent emergence of walk on Greg Woidneck, punter has become a spot that the coaching staff can wait on. As of now, we are not looking to sign a punter in this year's class.