Almost two weeks have gone by since National Signing Day. ASU fans should be quite interested in the quality of the recruits signed by their PAC-12 South rivals. One of the more bitter rivals, USC, was the only South team that had a higher ranked class than ASU.
The Trojans are still in the middle of some turmoil. They are welcoming a new coach in Steve Sarkisian (who left Washington) amid some grumblings about why Ed Oregeron was not retained. They are also dealing with one more year of scholarship limitations. This accounts for their small signing class. (19)
All but four of their signees are from California. One of the players from out of state is defensive lineman Claude Pelon, who played at Mesa Community College here in town.
On interesting note is that the Trojans signed 5 offenisive linemen, but no running backs. None…not a tailback, nor a fullback. And they only signed one quarterback, who is somewhat of a dual threat type QB. This will be interesting because of coach Sark’s tendency to be a pro-style coach.
The biggest story of USC recruiting, however, is how they “stole” some commits from UCLA, their cross-town rival. The two biggest “thefts” are DB Adoree Jackson and WR JuJu Smith. Both were 5-star players and ranked in the top 10 nationally for their position. They were highly sought after.
Being California kids, both USC and UCLA recruited them heavily. Both Smith and Jackson showed interest in both schools. And both players had ESPN broadcast their decision on live television in dramatic fashion. Both chose USC, prompting the Trojans’s staff to close out National Signing Day in a celebration and a top 20 ranking.
The additional signing of highly rated offensive lineman Damian Mama was the third big splash that occurred earlier in the day.
Undoubtedly, the UCLA coaches are a little miffed. In the fertile recruiting grounds of southern California, USC and UCLA battle each other for prized recruits all the time. From 2000-2011, USC could boast to these recruits about their dominance on the field. And it worked. But for two straight years, UCLA was the PAC-12 south Champions, and oh by the way, knocked off USC in the Coliseum this season. So, it’s probably a little disconcerting for the UCLA program.
Tradition and hype is probably responsible for this outstanding recruiting class. That and the fact that USC is short-handed because of scholarship losses. This short-handedness almost guarantees all the signees of playing right away, rather than red-shirting or sitting on the bench. That’s an attractive situation for high school kids.
In any event, ASU will have their hands full with the Trojans next season as they will have to travel to LA. This past season, most coaches, including ASU head coach Todd Graham described USC as the most talented team they faced. They just lacked some depth. They will be talented again this coming season and a little bit deeper. And the players who were on last year’s USC team will no doubt be looking for some payback for last year’s humiliating loss in Tempe.