USC Trojans Football Recruiting Update

USC Trojans Football Report

The USC Trojans are looking to capitalize on a fresh start coming into the 2012 NCAA college football season. Southern Cal returns two potential Heisman Trophy candidates as they enter into the first year of the post-sanction era. Led by Head Coach Lane Kiffin, USC is looking to shake off the rust of not being able to compete in BCS post-season play for the past two consecutive seasons. The Trojans have a lot to be thankful for in 2012.

The dynamic duo of quarterback Matt Barkley & wide receiver Robert Woods return to the gridiron this year after shattering several USC single-season passing and receiving records during the 2011 campaign. If you consider the storied history of the men of Troy, it’s incredible to realize that Barkley and Woods have already solidified their legendary status amongst past Trojan greats such as Keyshawn Johnson, Carson Palmer & Mark Sanchez, to name a few.

As National Signing Day came to a close, the result was typical of SC’s ability to attract 5-star quality recruits. Kiffin’s recruiting staff was able to lick its chops once again with the signing of several top recruits including Nelson Agholor (WR, Berkeley Prep) and three of the top high school offensive lineman in the country in Zach Banner, Jordan Simmons & Max Tuerk.

In addition to Banner, Tuerk and Simmons, the Trojans signed several other top recruits from the high school class of 2012. Complete List below:

  • Zach Banner (OL, Lakewood, WA) Lakes
  • Morgan Breslin (DE, Pleasant Hill, CA) Diablo Valley C.C.
  • Gerald Bowman (DB, Woodland Hills, CA) Pierce C.C.
  • Kevon Seymour (DB, Pasadena, CA) Muir
  • Chad Wheeler (DE, Santa Monica, CA) Santa Monica
  • Leonard Williams (DE, Daytona Beach, FL) Mainland
  • Max Tuerk (OL, Santa Margarita, CA) Santa Margarita
  • Nelson Agholor (WR, Tampa, FL) Berkeley Prep
  • Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (TE, Rocklin, CA) Whitney
  • Jahleel Pinner (RB, Mission Viejo, CA) Mission Viejo
  • Darreus Rogers (WR, Carson, CA) Carson
  • Jabari Ruffin (LB, Downey, CA) Downey
  • Devian Shelton (DB, Inglewood, CA) Inglewood
  • Jordan Simmons (OL, Encino, CA) Crespi
  • Scott Starr (Norco, CA) Norco

While the fate of Southern Cal athletics was in question in 2010, overall, the sanctions imposed on USC by the NCAA don’t seem to have significantly affected the Trojans performance on the field or in the recruiting landscape over the past two seasons.

Just two years ago, questions loomed amongst USC football recruits who had verbally committed to the Trojans. Within the group of SC’s target recruits in 2010 and 2011 were wide receivers Robert Woods, Marqise Lee, George Farmer, Victor Blackwell and Kyle Prater, athletes Dillon Baxter and De’Anthony Thomas, offensive lineman Marcus Martin, and defensive players Dion Bailey, Todd Barr, Jason Gibson and Hayes Pullard.

Of the aforementioned recruits, Woods, Lee, Farmer, Blackwell, Bailey, Pullard & Martin are the only six players who are current members of the Trojans football roster. In addition, four of the six have played significant roles for SC over the past two seasons.

Woods & Lee return in 2012 as arguably the best wide receiver tandem in all of college football after combining for 184 catches and 2,435 receiving yards last season. Martin, a teammate of Pullard & current Oregon Duck standout De’Anthony Thomas at Crenshaw High School (Los Angeles, CA), started as a true freshman for most of the 2011 season at left guard. On the defensive end of the ball, Pullard and Bailey led the Trojans efforts and each finished the season tied for the team lead with 81 total tackles.

There is a great deal of anticipation in the City of Los Angeles and beyond to see how well USC will compete in its quest to reach a BCS Title game. In regards to the 2012 class of football recruits, Barkley tweeted on National Signing Day, “Love my new big guys Zach Banner, Max Tuerk, & Jordan Simmons!! I’m not gunna get touched this year!”

It’s a definite sign of the times when your starting quarterback (Barkley) is able to show love to his incoming offensive lineman in the form of a tweet that reaches his 35,000 Twitter followers. The days of the quarterback taking the o-line out to dinner after a great game to show gratitude and boost morale may soon be replaced by a Twitter shout out that has the potential to instantly boost the spirits of a younger, lesser-known teammate. Either way, Barkley should be able to thank his teammates much more this season as he strives to become yet another Trojan Heisman Trophy finalist.

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Aaron Plunkett (Publisher)