With national signing day less than 24 hours away, it is time to take stock of the Trojans prospect for fielding a quality class of recruits for the 2009-2010 high school football season.
The loss of Pete Carroll as head coach of the Trojans has affected this years class but not to the extent that it was feared prior to the announcement of Lane Kiffin as the new head man of USC.
In fact, now that Kiffin has taken over for Carroll, the Trojans find themselves squarely in the sights of several highly rated prospects who were not seriously considering the Trojans just three weeks ago.
Demar Dorsey, who recently backed off of his verbal commitment to Florida and was part of the ten recruits who visited the Trojans this past weekend, now has USC high on his list although Florida State will be hard to overtake for the services of this talented athlete.
Chaz Green, the mammoth offensive lineman from Tampa, Fl. was also a last minute push of the Trojans and was heavily recruited by Kiffin when he was at Tennessee. The Trojans and Florida will vie for this talented prep player. Green goes to the top of the Trojan wish list if Seantrel Henderson opts for someone other than USC.
Nickel Robey, the very talented corner back from Georgia also was part of this last weekends troop of visitors and rated his trip to the land of the Trojans as a “10.” Robey said that the trip was motivated by the hiring of Kiffin, whom he said he could ” definitely see playing for.”
These are just some of the talented prep players that the Trojans might find playing for them in the coming years.
What we do know now is that two of those verbal commitments prior to the departure of Carroll now are no longer considering USC and have placed their pledges to other schools.
Brice Schwab, the talented and massive junior college offensive lineman from Mt. Palomar in California now has Arizona State listed as the school he will sign with tomorrow. Schwab will come in and vie for a starting position with the Sun Devils immediately and his defection will be a sore spot for the Trojans who need depth at the position.
The other known defection is Matt Darr, the #1 prep punter in the nation. Darr notified the Trojans that he will now sign with Fresno State and that the departure of Pete Carroll was main reason for his dropping USC.
What we also know is that Giovani Di Paolo, the highly rated offensive lineman from St. Bonaventure high school in Ventura, Ca., is no longer a “lock” for the Trojans who will now compete with UCLA for his services.
This comes as sort of a surprise due to the fact that Di Paolo lobbied for months for an offer from the Trojans whom he called his “dream school.”
Apparently Pete Carroll was a large part of those “dreams.”
So with the drama of tomorrow’s signing date looming large in the rear view mirror, the questions building for days and weeks will finally be answered.
Given the timing of Pete Carroll’s departure, the Trojans probably could not ask for a better situation than they received when Lane Kiffin accepted the USC offer to become their new head coach.
Kiffin, along with his father Monte and recruiting head man Ed Orgeron, has and will continue to do a masterful job at luring both regional and national talent to the Trojans.
The pipeline of prep talent will continue to flow into the southland for the Trojans who, in the long run, may find themselves better off with Carroll now residing in Seattle.
I expect the annual question of when Pete Carroll will leave for the NFL will not be part of the off season verbiage now that Lane Kiffin is the head man for USC.
Who knows how many recruits opted for other schools due to questions of when Pete Carroll will leave USC for greener pastures?
What we do know is that this question is no longer part of the equation for Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans.
We also know that tomorrow will begin the true start of the Lane Kiffin era and that Trojan nation waits with fingers crossed in hopes of another highly regarded recruiting class.
How that class shapes up remains to be seen but given the circumstances, USC could not ask for a better situation.
February 3 will answer a lot of questions but should not be seen as the true indication of how Lane Kiffin will fare at bringing prep talent to USC.
Those questions will be better served by the signing class of 2010-2011 for the Trojans.
But tomorrow will be a nice lead in for that class and Lane Kiffin hopes for the best.
So does Trojan nation.