USC is coming into national signing day with what could be one of its most promising recruiting classes in recent history, but many uncertainties remain, especially after a slew of decommits on Tuesday.
USC had eight verbal commitments on Tuesday morning, but that number is down to five after Jalen Ramsey — a five-star cornerback on Rivals.com — and four-star defensive ends Jason Hatcher and Torrodney Prevot informed USC that they will no longer sign with the Trojans.
USC has room for 18 new players this season. Seven players have already enrolled early for the spring, making those players, headed by five-star quarterback Max Browne and five-star safety Su’a Cravens, a lock for the Trojans. For the rest of the recruiting class, nothing is binding until a letter of intent is faxed in today. With five verbal commitments, USC currently has six spots to fill.
After losing both defensive ends in its recruiting class, USC has its eyes set on defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, a five-star recruit who decommitted from the Trojans on Dec. 27.
Vanderdoes, the No. 2-ranked defensive tackle from Placer High, is now considering Alabama, Notre Dame and UCLA alongside USC. He visited Alabama’s campus on Saturday and voiced his satisfaction with the program on Twitter.
Vanderdoes will announce his school choice at 5 p.m. PST.
Four-star outside linebacker Quinton Powell is considered a favorite to sign with USC. Powell, a good friend and former teammate of USC defensive tackle Leonard Williams at Mainland High, had narrowed down his decision to either USC or Florida on his Twitter, but the Gators revoked their scholarship offer to Powell on Saturday.
Powell has extended his options to include South Carolina, Oregon and Miami and will announce his decision on ESPNU at 9:15 a.m.
USC has an outside chance at landing five-star defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson, who visited USC in December but currently has a verbal commitment with Alabama. Robinson will announce his choice at 12:30 p.m.
The Trojans are also hoping to catch five-star linebacker Matthew Thomas, who visited USC on Jan. 18 and has the Trojans on a list that includes Alabama, Florida State, Georgia and Miami. Thomas will announce his decision on ESPNU at 6:15 a.m.
Ramsey had been committed to the Trojans since July of last year, but the commitment was especially precarious after USC fired defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders in January. He announced his intent to sign with Florida State on Tuesday.
Prevot committed to the Trojans in July 2012, but after favorable visits last week to Texas A&M and Oregon, Prevot will likely sign with either the Aggies or the Ducks.
This is the second time that Hatcher has decommitted from the Trojans in the last two weeks. He first decommitted from the Trojans on Jan. 22 but recommitted to USC on Jan. 29, after hosting an in-home visit with USC coach Lane Kiffin, defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and receivers coach Tee Martin.
On Tuesday, Hatcher’s mother announced that he will sign with Kentucky.
Along with Hatcher, Prevot, Ramsey and Vanderdoes, USC lost verbal commitments from five-star athlete Max Redfield, four-star defensive end Kylie Fitts and four-star wide receivers Eldridge Massington and Sebastian LaRue. Redfield, Massington and LaRue are currently committed to Notre Dame, UCLA and Texas A&M, respectively.
USC currently has five verbal commits from offensive linemen Nico Falah and Khaliel Rodgers, linebacker Michael Hutchings, wide receiver Steven Mitchell and running back Ty Isaac.
Each player is a four-star recruit aside from Isaac, a five-star recruit. Hutchings, Isaac, Mitchell and Rodgers are considered solid commits.
Hindered by NCAA sanctions until the 2015 season, USC is restricted to offering 15 scholarships a year instead of 25 and can have a total of 75 players on scholarship rather than 85.