Laying the Foundation: USC Recruiting…Jefferson, Stills to Oklahoma


It was recently announced that Oklahoma has received verbal pledges from two highly regarded prep football players, Tony Jefferson and Kenny Stills.

For Jefferson, who was recruited as an athlete by many schools, Oklahoma will be his third verbal commitment, following Stanford who was dropped in favor of UCLA.

As many of you who have followed this “Laying the Foundation” series know, I don’t put a whole lot of stock into a high school student’s ability to follow through on promises made before the actual signing of a letter of intent.

Tony Jefferson is a good example of why.

Jefferson, who I have seen play in person a couple of times and also reviewed tape of him, is a good player.

Having said that, he is by no means great. When I saw him, he was average, maybe a little better.

He has had some impressive games this year but most of that was him being featured against overmatched opponents.

I had suspicions of Jefferson as a player but none for the veracity of his word.

Both Stanford and then UCLA had received pledges from Jefferson who had no qualms about going back on his word when a better offer came his way.

While I think a student’s word at all times in their life is important, I am not so naive to think that a 17-year-old kid could not be swayed by the “next big thing” to come his way.

That “next big thing,” in this case, was Oklahoma.

So goodbye Tony Jefferson and good luck.

This USC fan will not lose a minute of sleep over your decision.

In fact, I was disturbed that the Trojans even made a run at Jefferson after he decommited from his verbal to UCLA.

However, I had read where Jefferson said that he hadn’t heard much lately from the Trojans who hopefully got the message that verbals from players like Jefferson weren’t worth the time he takes to utter them.

USC has had their fill of signing day decommitments and probably thought their efforts could better be served a player whose word they could count on.

However, the other Sooner verbal commitment is a bit more disconcerting for USC and their fans although in no way a surprise.

Kenny Stills, the fast and talented wide receiver from Carlsbad, Calif. will join Jefferson (if he keeps his word this time) and play for Bob Stoops.

Stills, who said the Trojans were his number one choice, attended the USC Rising Stars Camp and wowed everyone with his prowess, which included a 4.4 40-yard dash.

However, in keeping with the new Trojans recruiting policy, no offer was made by USC to Stills and he decided to look elsewhere.

Although Pete Carroll and his staff did eventually make that offer, it was too late for Stills.

Stills will be a very good college football player, and one, who in my mind, will far outshine Tony Jefferson at the next level.

More importantly, Kenny Stills took the time to look around and make his decision in a responsible manner.

That the Trojans could have had him early on is frustrating from a fan’s point of view but what may be even more disconcerting is that the Trojans’ coaching staff should have seen how badly this kid wanted to be a Trojan and made him an offer.

Having said all that, there may not be a place for Kenny Stills anyway.

The 2009 recruiting class already includes Kyle Prater and Robert Woods, two prep wide receivers who are rated higher than Stills by every recruiting service I have read.

So maybe it was just a matter of numbers and Stills might have thought better opportunities existed elsewhere.

In the final analysis, the loss of Tony Jefferson and Kenny Stills, in my opinion, only half hurts the Trojans for the 2009 recruiting year.

Based on the tone of this article, I’ll let you decide which half hurts.