Without question, one of the big recruiting surprises this season is Southern Cal. The Trojans had a great season and finished with an impressive Orange Bowl win against a very good Iowa team. At the end of the college football season, USC was hot and playing as well as anyone in the country. In addition, Carson Palmer came out of nowhere and won the Heisman Trophy. Things are happening at USC once again. Head coach Pete Carroll has the Trojans back to where we were all accustomed to seeing them when John McKay or John Robinson were running the show.
USC is back and their big season has given the Trojans a big shot in the arm in regards to recruiting. In the latest TheInsiders.com Top 25 team rankings, Southern Cal checked in at No. 4 in the nation, trailing only Oklahoma, LSU and Texas. They are in very impressive recruiting company.
When you break down who has committed to USC, the list of prospects is extremely impressive. Offensively, they might sign the best group of running backs in the nation in Reggie Bush, Chauncey Washington and Lendale White. Bush, from La Mesa (Calif.) Helix High School, is an elusive back with super speed, vision and play making ability. Washington, from California, and White, from Colorado, are big backs who run with power. Any way you look at it, the Trojans would be bringing in three outstanding ball carriers. USC used to be known as Tailback U in their glory days of Charles White, O.J. Simpson, Mike Garrett, Marcus Allen, etc. Maybe one of these guys will be the next great Trojan horse.
On the offensive line, the Trojans will sign the top two offensive line prospects from Pac-10 country. Mission Viejo's Drew Radovich is the top rated tackle from the West while Sam Baker, from Tustin, Calif., is the top guard prospect. Both are headed to USC. Two other California offensive line standouts are headed to the Trojans as well, Travis Draper and Ryan Kalil.
As good as the running backs are, the defensive line class might even be better. First of all, what position will Chris Barrett play? He is a tight end and defensive end standout from Tustin, Calif. Barrett says Southern Cal wants him to play defense. He is one of the best two-way guys from the West Coast and is one of the best "big" athletes in the country. Opposite him is Lawrence Jackson, the No. 2 ranked defensive end in the nation from nearby Inglewood. Add Alex Morrow from Rohnrert, Calif., and you have the making of three excellent players coming off the edge for Carroll's defense. At defensive tackle, the Trojans are bringing in three standouts in Sedrick Ellis, Matt Spanos and Fili Moala. All three prospects are from the Golden State and Ellis is one of the best in America, currently ranked No. 9 in the country.
And when you look at the linebacker position, USC is bring in the top two from the West in Thomas Williams and Drean Rucker.
When you break it all down, USC has 23 commitments with two weeks to go until Signing Day. This already is a super class but the Trojans would certainly love to add a wide receiver or two to the mix. They still are recruiting some of the best game breakers and play makers such as Whitney Lewis, Andre Caldwell and Steve Smith. They could get a few of these guys or maybe one or none. It's going to be a dogfight for each and every one. Right now, Florida State is the team to beat for Lewis, the nation's top receiver prospect from Ventura, Calif. But his family would prefer him to stay close to home and that's why the Trojans have a shot.
Caldwell, from Tampa, is Reche Caldwell's little brother. Reche is playing wide receiver for the San Diego Chargers. He also is good friends with USC freshman sensation Mike Williams, as they both played their high school football in Tampa. Speculation says that Florida or Miami is the likely college destination for Caldwell but USC has a chance.
The Trojans would love to sign Steve Smith from Woodland Hills, Calif. Smith is a dominant prospect on both sides of the ball and is currently favoring USC and Tennessee. He should have a decision soon and you have to like USC's chances with him. Other big name prospects Southern Cal is waiting on are defensive end/ linebacker Lamarr Woodley, defensive tackle Ryan Watson, running back Maurice Drew and cornerback Chijoke Onyenegcha.
"This is the most dominating Pac-10 class anyone has had in the last 10 years," said Greg Biggins of Student Sports and PacWestFootball.com.
The only thing missing is the big-time quarterback prospect. Kyle Wright, Chris Leak, Tommy Grady and others have decided to sign elsewhere. The Trojans are OK because they have several promising young signal callers already on campus.
Like it or not, the Trojans are back. They proved it this year and it has carried over into recruiting. This is a terrific class recruiting and one of the best in recent memory out west.