Tuesday’s hiring of Lane Kiffin began to mend a 2010 recruiting class fragmented by the loss of former coach Pete Carroll.
Kyle Prater, the top receiver and No. 3 overall high school player in the country according to Rivals.com, reaffirmed his commitment to enroll in spring classes at USC yesterday morning. The Illinois wide receiver, who had promised to be on campus for the beginning of spring semester, was rethinking his pledge to the university in the wake of Carroll’s departure.
Meanwhile, quarterback prospect Jesse Scroggins of Lakewood High in California confirmed his pledge to USC after learning of Kiffin’s hiring. Scroggins announced that he would consider playing for other schools if USC did not name a new head coach by Saturday.
Reaffirmed commitments by some of the country’s top players will come as a relief to Trojan fans who watched the 2010 recruiting class unravel when Carroll left his post. On Saturday, as the nation’s top high school players gathered to play the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, news of Carroll’s contract with the Seattle Seahawks became official.
After learning of Carroll’s decision last Saturday, Ronald Powell, a defensive end from Moreno Valley High and the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect, announced that he would rather play for the University of Florida than become a Trojan.
Additionally, ESPN scout Steve Mason speculated that Carroll’s departure dropped USC’s chance of landing Seantrel Henderson, USA Today’s 2009 Offensive Player of The Year, from a “sure thing … to a jump ball.” Though Powell may be gone, Kiffin’s arrival has improved the probability of Henderson joining the university.
USC’s recruiting class will also be padded by local recruits, such as Robert Woods, regarded by some scouts as the best wide receiver in the 2010 class, Demetrius Wright, a promising cornerback from Corona High and other standout players. Most scouts speculate that, after the loss of Carroll, USC’s recruiting class would have ranked in the range of No. 10 to No.15 and would still be the Pac-10’s top recruiting class.
Now, with the hiring of Kiffin and the addition of recruiting extraordinaire Ed Orgeron, those rankings may rise. Still, in the hopes of competing for a national title, the Trojan coaching staff will continue to target top athletes who have gone astray after Carroll’s departure.
A football program is only as good as the strength of its future players. With just three weeks until National Signing Day, both Kiffin and Orgeron know there is work to be done.