Is USC Pac-10's recruiting model?

Pete Carroll didn't invent out-of-state recruiting for USC football. Six of of the Trojans' All-America players were recruited by John McKay from beyond California borders -- Charley Weaver of Arizona, Willie Hall of Connecticut, Gary Jeter of Ohio, Clay Matthews of Illionois, and Richard Wood and Marvin Powell, both of New Jersey.

Also, over the 121-year history of USC football, the Trojans have been represented by players from 38 states outside of California, plus the District of Columbia and the nation of Nigeria.

It's indisputable, however, that Carroll has carried the nationlwide hunt for talent to new heights in winning seven consecutive Pacific-10 Conference championships and two national titles over a nine-year period.

Employing the slogan, ``We only recruit those players from out of state we believe will be first-round NFL draft choices,'' Carroll has been extremely successful in selling the USC program.

He also has enjoyed an advantage -- the vast monetary resources of the USC community. It's doubtful any other Pacific-10 Conference school, with the possible exception of Stanford, can afford the recruiting budget Carroll enjoys.

Carroll's success with his method of operation --seven All-Americans who come from outside California -- has not been lost on USC's opponents in the Pac-10. In fact, it's beginning to appear as though some of these schools are attempting to employ similar strategy, within the budgetary limitations they face.

Stanford, for instance, has commitments or has been recruiting players from 19 states outside California, and the Cardinal is attracting one of its most attractive classes in many years under brash Jim Harbaugh, who can boast of two victories over Carroll in the past three years, including a 55-21 smasher this year. It is not unsual for Stanford to sign out-of-state players, but the scope of the school's search this time is unprecedented.

Oregon, boosted by the resources of Nike founder and owner Phil Knight, sometimes referred to as ``the greatest owner in college football,'' also is spreading its wings. The Ducks had three players from Florida scheduled for visits on one weekend, and they also are seeking talent in Texas, North Carolina, Illinois, Connecticut, Arizona, Utah and California, the latter their usual source of talent. Oregon has oral commitments from two hotshot running backs for their high-powered spread offense, Dontae Williams of Houston and Ethan Grant of Coconut Creek, Fla.

For the second successive season, California is looking at distant lands for help. The Bears have offered scholarships to players in Connecticut, Florida and Texas.

UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel, perhaps trying to make good on his threat to Carroll that ``I'm coming after you,'' has made scholarship offers to nearly every recruit except the man in the moon. Among states from which the Bruins are seeking signees are South Carolina, Colorado, Virginia, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. They're having some success, too, although not among top-rated players around the nation. It should be noted that there was a time when UCLA relied heavily on out-of-state players.

Oregon State is recruiting players from six states outside its boundary, while Washington is pursuing recruits in three other states. Arizona is into seven states, not highly unusual for the Wildcats.

Carroll's pursuits take him into six states outside California's border.

Going into USC's game with UCLA, Carroll's USC record stood at 95 victories and 15 defeats. Excluding the 6-6 record in his first season (2001), he was 89 and 9.

You can understand why he's being copy-catted.


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