Midnight Madness - Signing Day 2007

With 13 commitments and approximately 18 scholarships available for the 2007 recruiting class, the Trojans are down to Joe McKnight, Deonte Thompson, Marvin Austin, Donovan Warren, Chad Jones, Anthony Gildon, Malcolm Smith and Da'John Harris to finish up another No. 1 recruiting class for USC.<

Joe McKnight told us today that he's already made up his mind on a school, but will take official visits to USC, LSU, Ole Miss, Clemson and possibly Texas. (We'll have a video interview for McKnight and Thompson later tonight). It's down to LSU and USC with McKnight and the talk of Texas becoming a player is just that, all talk. McKnight said, "Texas hasn't offered me yet." When asked if he would visit Texas if it offered, McKnight told us Texas would get his fifth visit.

Ever since Deonte Thompson officially visited USC, there's been a buzz that the Trojans jumped into the lead. Nothing we have learned this week in San Antonio has led us to believe that's not the case. We believe it will come down to USC and Florida, with USC leading at this point. Thompson still has official trips to Miami and Florida, and one thing is a given -- both schools will throw out the red carpet and do everything they can to persuade him to stay in state. After McKnight's final two official visits, Pete Carroll will have an opportunity to sell Thompson's family, particularly his mother, that USC is the best choice for their son. Dwayne Jarrett entering the draft could be a factor in Thompson's case.

Marvin Austin has USC as his No. 1 school, but he visits Florida State Jan. 19-21. Over the last month or so, Austin listed Illinois and North Carolina as two schools he was seriously considering. However, he dropped Illinois and hasn't decided if he'll officially visit North Carolina. We believe it's USC and Florida State for Austin and has been for months. If distance isn't an issue, Austin will more than likely end up a Trojan. Does Austin want to attend school and play football in the second largest media market in the country? It sure looked that way while he was on his official visit to USC. That said, everyone we've talked to believes Austin will make his decision on or near signing-day (Fe. 7).

Finally, we have Donovan Warren, the most talented cornerback from the West. Warren is still considering USC, Michigan, UCLA and California. It's been mentioned quite often that the race for Warren's signature is down to the Trojans and Bruins, but we learned today, that USC and Michigan are actually his top schools . Warren and his family were blown away on their visit to Ann Arbor and we'll find out on Feb. 7 which school Warren will attend. His announcement will be on FSN. There are tentative plans for former Trojans Mark Carrier (Donovan's Godfather) and Willie McGinnest to join Warren and his family at the at the televised announcement.

Prepare yourselves for an exciting and eventful finish to the 2007 recruiting process.

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