DJ had his doubts

Eigtheen days ago D.J. Morgan and the rest of the USC recruiting class were about as unsure of their future as one can get. News broke on ESPN about the strong possibility of Pete Carroll leaving USC to become the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. At one point, on Jan. 8, all of the USC verbal commits playing in the Army All-American Bowl were talking about decommitting.

Eigtheen days ago D.J. Morgan and the rest of the USC recruiting class were about as unsure of their future as one can get. News broke on ESPN about the strong possibility of Pete Carroll leaving USC to become the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks. At one point, on Jan. 8, all of the USC verbal commits playing in the Army All-American Bowl were talking about decommitting.

By the end of the day, Morgan, Robert Woods and Demetrius Wright had decided they were going to stick with their commitment to USC. Morgan regularly communicated with a few Trojan commits, including two of the most letdown prospects in San Antonio. He also spoke to two current players and after much thought, Morgan was more comfortable with his decision to stick with USC, than he was that Friday night at the San Antonio Grand Hyatt.

"I really only talked to Dillon (Baxter), Kyle (Prater) and Robert (Woods)," said Morgan when asked who he regularly communicated with the days after he got home from the Army Game. "I also called Matt Darr and he's still committed, so everyone is still strong.

"I'm good friends with Malcolm Smith because we went to the same high school, and I called him. He said when everyone found out Lane Kiffin was the coach, everyone was pretty fired up. I also talked to Matt Barkley and he said everyone was ready to go. So, all that made me feel more comfortable with sticking with SC."

But Morgan still wanted to take one official visit the week after he visited USC.

"We all pretty much said we were solidly committed after our official visit to USC, but I still wanted to take a trip to Stanford the next weekend," said Morgan. "But my dad talked me out of that. My brother and my dad said, ‘Just stick it out,'" said Morgan. "He didn't want me to get sidetracked and said SC is still a great school and stuff like that. It just worked out. I‘m 100% solid for USC. "

Part of the process that led Morgan back to being solid with his commitment to the Trojans was meeting Lane Kiffin and Ed Orgeron when he took his official visit to USC on Jan. 15.

"I think I met Coach Orgeron first, because he was out there and Lane was in a meeting," said Morgan. "He recruited my brother in 2001 to SC and we were talking about when I was little boy. He was excited to see me again and to talk with my family. He welcomed us with open arms. When I saw Lane, I didn't realize how young he was. I thought he was a grad assistant who helped out with the ball boys. Then he approached me, introduced himself and we hit it off. He said he's excited to have me and wants to use me at running back, and wide receiver, like he used Reggie Bush. Everything was good from there."

Morgan has an extremely close relationship with USC running backs coach Todd McNair. We asked Morgan if there was any talk about a future offensive coordinator and running backs coach?

"They were talking about an offensive coordinator and they were just waiting to see what's going on with the running backs coach," Morgan said. "They don't really know who the running backs coach will be. I asked them, because I want Coach McNair to be there. He's one of the main reasons I'm going to SC, so I hope he's there."

Hiring Kiffin and Orgeron allows USC to operate in a similar fashion as it did when Pete Carroll was the head coach. Morgan said the USC coaches talked to him about keeping things familiar for the current and future players.

"They just said, ‘USC is USC,' and they were there when Pete was there," said Morgan. "They learned under him and everything is basically going to be the same as it was when Pete was there. And the tradition will never change.

Morgan will sign his letter-of-intent for USC a week from today, meaning the recruiting process is officially over. His main focus from signing day on will be his rehab for a torn ACL he suffered in a December playoff game.

"I want to come back stronger in my legs and faster," said Morgan about his goal in rehabilitating his knee. "And I want to get my upper body bigger and stronger. They said it will take six months to get back to full speed. That should be some time in July. I'm walking fine and people have been asking me how I am walking so good. Everything is going well and everyone is telling me I'm doing good."

Morgan was asked about the persistent rumors about Robert Woods interest in UCLA, and if he'd recently spoken to Woods?

"Yeah, he's 100 percent," said Morgan about Woods commitment to USC. "He was the first guy to try and keep the class together."


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