Jim Harbaugh left Stanford earlier this month to take over as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Now, some of his recruits are changing their minds about playing for the Cardinal, and USC stands to serve as one of the main beneficiaries. One day after running back Amir Carlisle (Sunnyvale, Calif.) switched from Stanford to USC, four-star linebacker Anthony Sarao (Absecon, N.J.) made the same decision.
Sarao visited Los Angeles this past weekend. When making his decision, he told USCFootball.com, “It was a perfect visit. I had a great time out there.” The campus wasn’t the only selling points. The New Jersey native admired the coaching staff as well.
“USC has one of the best coaching staffs in college football,” Sarao told USCFootball.com. “They definitely know what they’re talking about.”
Sarao, who is ranked 11th at his position by Scout.com, possesses great strength and ball carriers have had a tough time escaping once he has them wrapped up. The 6’1”, 220-pound linebacker can also go toe-to-toe with fullbacks when he blitzes or tries to shoot through the gaps. He brings with him good instincts and defends passes well when lining up against tight ends. Sarao addresses an area of severe need for the Trojans.
With starters Malcolm Smith and Michael Morgan graduating, Lane Kiffin remains unsure about how the linebacking corps line up if USC played today.
Sarao’s commitment is a huge boost for the Trojans nationally. Despite NCAA sanctions, the Trojans were able to nab a quality player from across the country, which gives more credibility to the program. California has always been a stronghold for USC recruiters, but the ability to add top talent from across the country makes the roster even stronger.
To date, USC has built the fourth best recruiting class in the country according to Rivals.com.