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The USC Trojans continue to shore up one of the best recruiting classes in the country, as Lane Kiffin secured commitments from Nico Falah, Eddie Vanderdoes, and Khaliel Rodgers.
As much buzz as Washington's eight recruiting commits might have stirred on the West Coast, they're small potatoes compared to the haul of talent the Trojans are collecting for themselves in their 2013 class. According to Rivals, USC has now perhaps the top-rated quarterback, the top-rated safety, the top-rated center, two of the top-five rated running backs, a top ten linebacker, a top ten cornerback, three top-ten defensive linemen, three of the top-25 rated wide receivers. Talk about making the most of limited resources.
It's almost an embarrassment of riches, until you realize that this isn't too different from the hauls Pete Carroll once brought in during his heyday. Almost every year, the surest prospects in college football marched into Heritage Hall by the dozens. Now with bowl probation over and USC set to compete for national championships on a recurring basis, everyone's ready to jump on board.
USC is doing all this despite significant scholarship reductions, as the Trojans will be close to hitting the wall soon (15 for this season, 18 if you include early admits). USC currently has 14 prospects, so if you're a rival Pac-12 school, every USC commit allows you a greater opportunity to go after the uncommitted. It goes to show how powerful the Trojan offer remains on the West Coast, and might be the salient one a big prospect can receive on either coast.
The big question now: Will Kiffin keep all these Trojans?
Remember last year, when a number of USC verbals ended up releasing themselves from that agreement so a few more notable names that Kiffin discovered later in the cycle (Nelson Agholor, Devian Shelton, Leonard Williams) could be freed up to take the remaining open scholarships? Could that happen again if late-bloomers suddenly have a breakout senior season, and highly touted juniors struggle with more attention, and suddenly the verbals you have don't look quite as good as the ones you could have?
Is it a prudent approach to get these verbals only to suddenly pull the possibility of a scholarship? In some ways it is, although it feels highly unethical. You get the best players and pick and chose until they sign the dotted line; the recruits meanwhile have to hope their original agreement will be honored.
Regardless, things look good right now for the USC offseason. Just remember that USC generally wins the offseason. It's the other part of the season (the part with watching games and all that) where Trojan fans desire that total victory.