The courting of high school prep stars culminates Wednesday with National Signing Day, when prospects from around the country will sign their letters of intent and fax them to their future schools.
By signing the letter, student-athletes are bound to attend the university with which they sign.
In return, the athletes are guaranteed financial aid.
On June 11, 2010, the NCAA handed down scholarship restrictions against USC allowing it to only carry 75 scholarship players over the course of three seasons.
These penalties, however, have yet to take effect because of the school’s pending appeal, creating some confusion as to how many players the Trojans can actually sign Wednesday.
The USC coaching staff has not revealed its exact strategy for the 2011 recruiting class.
On the one hand, USC coach Lane Kiffin could sign a full class of 25 and build up the roster to maximum strength before the penalties begin.
On the other hand, it is possible he could sign 20 players and hope the appeal is successful. In the latter scenario, 2011 would be the first year USC would serve its three-year reduction.
In the face of sanctions, Lane Kiffin and his staff, nonetheless, have solicited several commitments from high-ranking prospects.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Rivals.com, the Trojans possess the fifth-best recruiting class in the country with 17 verbal commitments in addition to the eight who have already officially signed letters of intent.
Notable commitments include wide receivers George Farmer (Gardena, Calif.) and Victor Blackwell (Santa Ana, Calif.), defensive end Greg Townsend, Jr. (Beverly Hills, Calif.), defensive tackle Antwaun Woods (Woodland Hills, Calif.) and athlete De’Anthony Thomas (Los Angeles).
USC is currently tied with four other schools for the second most five-star commitments.
Only LSU, who has three five-star players, has more.
Last year, USC closed with a fury as some top undecided prospects chose the Trojans.
With several uncommitted prospects still on the board, the Trojans could pick up some very talented players Wednesday.
Five-star offensive lineman La’El Collins (Baton Rouge, Louis.), four-star guard Aundrey Walker (Cleveland, Ohio) and four-star offensive tackle Troy Niklas (Anaheim, Calif.) are among some of the top names that could land at USC.
Despite the job the coaching staff has done, the last 48 hours have shown how fragile a recruiting class truly is.
Sunday night, rumors swirled that highly prized five-star athlete De’Anthony Thomas (Crenshaw High) is considering switching his longtime pledge to USC in favor of Oregon.