USC Football Recruiting History: Top Ten Trojan Internet Age Prospects

Bob Levey

The Trojans have signed more five-star prospects than the rest of the programs in the Pac-12 combined.

USC continues our 12-part series where we are ranking the best recruits to sign with each Pac-12 school since the advent of serious recruiting coverage on the Internet (2002 serving as the furthest year back that you can find rankings for players online). Our rankings are put together by combining players' rankings from recruiting sites, offers and the amount of hype that surrounded their singings.

Please note that these are taking only into account how highly-rated players were coming out of high school, not their college careers. So please, no angry, insult-laden comments about how only a child murderer wouldn't realize that LaMichael James (Or any player who had a great college career, but was an under-the-radar recruit) should be number three on the list.

1. John David Booty Class of 2003 QB Shreveport, LA - Evangel Christian Academy

Booty was widely regarded as the top prospect in the Class of 2004 and a sure fire, future star quarterback and he actually graduated high school a year early to be the top recruit in the Class of 2003. Booty primarily graduated early so he could get a head start on his USC career and follow Carson Palmer. Booty would end up having a good career at USC, but didn't quite live up to expectations and ended up being a fifth round pick.

2. Mark Sanchez Class of 2005 QB Mission Viejo, CA

A polished, full-package quarterback, Sanchez was easily the top QB in his class and maybe the top player at any position in 2005. The Orange County product committed to USC early and was seen as the next superstar quarterback in LA to follow Booty. Sanchez ended up being one of the best quarterbacks in the country and became a first round draft pick by the Jets.

3. Matt Barkley Class of 2009 QB Santa Ana, CA - Mater Dei

Barkley was seen as kind of the next Sanchez - polished, successful, big and strong armed, from an Orange County powerhouse - he may have been the top overall prospect in 2009. Like Sanchez and many OC quarterbacks before him, Barkley committed to USC early on in the process. Barkley started from the beginning at USC and had an up and down career that peaked during his junior season.

4. Joe McKnight Class of 2007 RB River Ridge, LA - John Curtis Christian

McKnight was seen as the next Reggie Bush coming out of Louisiana as he was a super athletic back that was a phenomenal receiver. McKnight had a very, very intense recruitment and choose the Trojans late in the game over LSU and Mississippi. Like a lot of guys on this list, McKnight had a really good career at USC, but not great and ended up being taken in the middle rounds of the draft.

5. Whitney Lewis Class of 2003 WR Ventura, CA - St. Bonaventure

A big, strong playmaker that was one of the best raw athletes to ever come out of California, Lewis was one of the top prospects in his class. Lewis was courted by schools from all around the country and ended up signing with USC over Florida State. Lewis flamed out at USC and ended up transferring out of FBS football early in his career.

6. Everson Griffen Class of 2007 DE Avondale, AZ - Agua Fria

An unreal athlete, Griffen ran a 4.5 40 at nearly 270 pounds and was rated as the top overall prospect in the Class of 2007 by Scout. Griffen considered a number of powerhouse schools and ended up signing with the Trojans over Florida, Michigan and Oregon. Once again, Griffen had a good career at USC and left as an All-Pac-10 player but was never a true star and ended up being a fourth round pick.

7. Robert Woods Class of 2010 WR Gardena, CA - Junipero Serra

The top receiver in the Class of 2010, Woods was a blazer that racked up touchdowns in the high school. Coming from star factory and USC friendly Juniperro Serra, Woods signed with the Trojans without much competition. Woods was one of the best receivers in the country each of his three years at USC and was taken in the 2013 NFL Draft.

8. Patrick Turner Class of 2005 WR Madison, TN - Goodpasture

Turner was a five-star prospect and a huge target that could really move for a 6'5 guy. Turner considered a number of elite SEC schools, but headed West, choosing the Trojans over LSU. Once again, Turner had a decent career at USC, but was not an All-American type player before going to the NFL.

9. Jeff Byers Class of 2004 C Loveland, CO

A burly interior lineman that was one of the top lineman recruits to ever come from the Western Region, some considered Byers as the top overall prospect in the Class of 2004. Byers considered Iowa, Ohio State and Texas before signing with USC. Byers had a good career at USC before heading to the NFL.

10. Su'a Cravens Class of 2013 S Murrieta, CA - Vista

Widely considered the top recruit out West in the Class of 2013, Cravens is a versatile defender with a great ability to make big hits. Cravens committed to USC early and then the Trojans held onto him and he is expected to potentially start as a true freshman.

Others considered

Max Browne Class of 2013 QB Sammamish, WA - Skyline

Chris Galippo Class of 2007 LB Anaheim, CA - Servite

Vidal Hazelton Class of 2006 WR Chatham, VA - Hargrave Military Academy

Tyron Smith Class of 2008 T Moreno Valley, CA - Rancho Verde

Marc Tyler Class of 2007 RB Westlake Village, CA - Oaks Christian

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