That was a lot to digest for someone who reports on USC recruiting, but I understood these were 17-18 year old kids and emotions were running high.
So, later that night, I decided to head to the San Antonio Convention Center where the awards ceremony was being held for Army National Player of the Year, an award Dillon Baxter deservedly won. I was hoping to talk to the USC commits, their family or coaches to find out if they had spoken to a USC coach. I also wanted to find out the true impact the news about Carroll had on their interest in the Trojans.
I found that most hadn't been able to reach a coach, but Demetrius Wright, Robert Woods and D.J. Morgan spoke to Ken Norton. They had gotten together after speaking to Norton and decided they were going to remain strong with their commitment to USC. But they were all devestated.
Almost two weeks later, USC is in a strong position, after the hiring of Lane Kiffin as head coach, Ed Orgeron as assistan head coach, Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator and James Cregg, to keep all of its verbal commits except Brice Schwab. Schwab committed to Arizona State yesterday.
USC has been able to pull off salvaging its 2010 recruiting class for a number of reasons. Those who were committed had formed a strong bond, some had always dreamed about attending USC, Matt Barkley got involved with helping save a sinking ship and Lane Kiffin was hired as the new head coach. Having Orgeron on staff again has also been invaluable with USC's recruiting effort.
That was a much longer than normal introduction to an article about the state of USC recruiting, but there was a lot of drama the weekend of the Army Game that seemed would never end. I was in the middle of it and it wasn't pretty.
14 prospects are committed for the class of 2010 and USC has roughly nine spots to fill. The question everyone wants answered is, which prospects does USC have a legitimate shot at to fill those spots?
We'll start with the likely candidates from the West Coast and OOS recruits":
We've been told, by a solid source, USC has a good chance of signing ATH Dietrich Riley from St. Francis in La Canada, safety Sean Parker from Narbonne in Harbor City, TE Christian Thomas from Palmdale, Calif., OT Seantrel Henderson from Cretin-Derham in St. Paul, OL Chaz Green from Tampa Catholic, Jordan Zumwalt from Edison and a few others.
I believe USC ends up with Thomas, Riley and Parker. I've heard Riley told USC that's where he's going. I was also told Riley told Neuheisel he was going to UCLA. Should an interesting finish for him. Word from San Diego is Seantrel Henderson called Dillon Baxter after the Army Game and told him he'd attend the same school as Dillon. Stay tuned.
Green and Zumwalt appear likely to attend other schools, but they have had serious interest in USC. Green will visit USC on Jan. 29 and it's unknown if Zumwalt will visit. But Zumwalt is a huge target for the Trojans and won't be a surprise if he does visit this weekend or next.
OLB Josh Shirley is a prospect USC has a very good shot at signing, but MLB Hayes Pullard will likely end up a Bruin. Shirley really showed what he can the week of the Army AA Game. He was one of the starters for the West team.
Of the new names considering USC who weren't on the list from Carroll's staff, we we believe USC is a longshot with most. But Demar Dorsey and Nickell Robey are two prospects the Trojans have a good shot at. We certainly won't claim USC will sign them, but there is a chance. Safety Latwan Anderson (WVU commit) was offerd by USC and has said USC=dream school. We'll see.
Here are the lists of those planning on officially visiting USC the next two weeks.
WR Markeith Ambles, LB Christian Jones and OL Giovanni Di Poalo.
TE Christian Thomas, OT Chaz Green, DT Michael Thornton, S Dietrich Riley, CB Demar Dorsey, S Nickell Robey and OT Arie Kouandjio.
If the Trojans can bring in three or four of the out of state kids, they would be considered a huge success.
Earlier today James Bryant from our Tennessee site and Scout.com, posted USC had an in-home visit with Cassius Marsh. Bryant said he heard the visit went well, so we'll wait to hear from Marsh and see how things develop. If the Trojans had stayed on Marsh during the entire recruiting process, I believe USC would have 15 commits right now.
There isn't much time between now and signing day, but we'll learn a lot about USC's 2010 recruiting class in the next two weeks. Don't be surprised if USC's class isn't completed until after signing day.
We'll have another update after this weekend.