"Before I went out there (USC), I really didn't think I would like it," Butler said. "But after I went out there, I came back with a different opinion. Brendan didn't think it was going to be that good, either. After our visit, we were talking about USC a lot. Brendan and I talk all the time.
"Yeah, I really wasn't thinking I'd like SC as much as I did," Beal said. "With Cushing going to school at SC, I was thinking, ‘Why did he do this, why did he make this move?' Then I saw it and I thought it was pretty incredible."
Many times emotions run high for out-of-state prospects after a visit and the excitement lasts about two days, but that's not the case with Butler or Beal. They're still expressing high interest in the Trojans.
"USC is very high on my list, very high" Butler said. "I want to play in a pro-style offense and USC runs a pro-style offense. I like the coaching staff and Pete Carroll is a great coach. Coach (John) Morton (wide receivers) is a great coach and he just came from the Saints. The education is also outstanding because it's a private school. I love everything about it and think it will be a good place to be.
"I just love the atmosphere and everyone loves playing at SC," Beal said. "It's exciting there, they have a great tradition and right now, it's the biggest stage in college football. The team is young and they're going to win a couple of national championships, soon. Coach (Ken) Norton is one of the best linebacker coaches out there in college football. Most of the staff has had NFL experience, which is pretty amazing.
"Besides their football program being ranked No.1 in the country right now, they're academic program is phenomenal and their business school is ranked top 20 in the nation. Plus it's L.A. and Hollywood. It doesn't get much better than that. There really isn't much not to like about SC."
WeAreSC rarely talks to top prospects who don't express a strong desire to play as a freshman or early on their college career, and Butler and Beal are no different. However, neither wants playing time gift wrapped and they'll be ready to compete for it. That said, playing time at linebacker at USC should be up for grabs after the 2008 season, maybe even after this season.
"One of the great things about SC is all of the freshmen get a chance to play," Beal said. "With all of the linebackers that are going to be leaving soon, the linebacker spots are going to be open to competition. The SAM position they're recruiting me for, has (Brian) Cushing and I believe Clay Matthews right now, and they're going to be gone, soon. So, it's going to be interesting."
While it's unlikely the Trojans will lose a wide receiver after the 2007 season, Butler understands he will face stiff competition at any school his freshman year. He's also confident he'll find his way onto the field at any school.
"They have a lot of wide receivers at USC, but a couple of them are speedsters," Butler said. "Their two main guys right now are Vidal Hazelton and Patrick Turner. My freshman year, Patrick Turner might be gone. They just sign the No. 1 wide receiver in the nation (Ronald Johnson), but I still think I could play as a freshman or early on. It really doesn‘t matter which school I got to, I‘ll have to compete at any school."
Butler and Beal don't have any firm plans for the summer, but Beal might visit some schools. Beal also said he'll probably officially visit his top two schools, while Butler is still unsure about official visits.
"I don't have any plans for official visits yet because I might commit before the season," Butler said. "If I don't, I'll set up some visits.
"This summer I might visit a few schools I haven't seen, like LSU," Beal said. "But that's the only school I'm thinking about visiting this summer. If I don't do that, I'm just going to take a couple of official visits (USC on Sept. 22) and then decide on my birthday (Oct. 12). I need to decide early because I'm planning on graduating early and enrolling in January."
Coaches from most of the top programs in the country have visited Butler and Beal, including USC.
"Coach McNair was one of the first coaches to visit (Roxbury High)," Beal said. "The whole gang is coming in on Friday (May 18), I believe."
Butler said McNair visited him last week and he said the Trojan coaching staff is scheduled to visit Norcross this week.