Trojans Load Up On Defensive Backs

When looking at 2009 recruiting class what really jumps out is all the talent on the defensive side of the ball led by an outstanding group of defensive backs. Look inside for more.

After one of the craziest years of recruiting in recent memory, the USC Trojans have come away with another impressive class filled with impact players, and high character recruits.

When looking at 2009 recruiting class what really jumps out is all the talent on the defensive side of the ball led by an outstanding group of defensive backs.

"It was an exciting night and day as it always is. We have put together a diversified class that we needed to get," Pete Carroll said. "We needed to get more on defense than offense this year."

With Taylor Mays, Josh Pinkard, Kevin Thomas and Will Harris all set to depart in a year, Pete Carroll and his staff secured commitments from four of Scout's top six safeties in T.J. McDonald, Patrick Hall, Jawanza Starling and Byron Moore.

Five-star prospect T.J. McDonald is the highest-rated player in the secondary group and has all the tools to develop into one of the next great safeties at USC.

"He's over 6-2 and 218 pounds already," Carroll said. "He's a gifted player and student, a great leader and just everything you're looking for."

McDonald will come in as a strong safety, and the coaches would like to play him near the line of scrimmage much like Kevin Ellison.

Patrick Hall is the most athletic safety in the class and has the potential to be used in a variety of ways on both sides of the ball. Hall will start out as a safety, but as Pete Carroll explained, he may be too explosive to keep the ball out of his hands.

"Patrick Hall is one of the most diversified athletes and dynamic kids you could imagine," Carroll said. "We want to see him on the defensive side of the ball, but it won't take us long to continue to find ways and experiment with him in terms of getting the ball in his hands."

"He's one of the fastest kids we've seen in a long time."

Narbonne star Byron Moore is versatile defensive back that could contribute at either safety or cornerback in his career at USC.

"He's another guy that did everything," Carroll said. "He played all over the football field for his team. He's got great ability, speed and is a dynamic player.

"He does all the things that you want a terrific football player to do. He's a big get."

While Moore spent the majority of his time playing safety in high school, Pete Carroll said he will come in as a cornerback in fall camp.

Three-star recruit Torin Harris will join Moore at the cornerback position. Harris has flown under the radar this past year, but is a perfect fit in USC's defensive scheme.

"He's in the mold of Kevin Thomas and Terrell Thomas," Carroll said of Harris. "Tall, long, real fast. Ran a 10.6 as a junior last year. He's got great speed."

Rounding out the secondary class is Jawanza Starling from Tallahassee (FL). In Starling, the Trojans get a hard-hitting safety that has a tremendous combination of speed and size.

Starling was recruited by many of the top programs in the South, but opted to head out West, where he will be reunited with his high school teammate T.J. Bryant.


Byron Moore has shown the ability to play safety or cornerback at USC.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions you can reach Kevin Carden at kevin@scplaybook.com


USCFootball.com Top Stories