The juggernaut that is USC recruiting never stopped. It was just contained by scholarship reductions.
One look at the Trojans current roster proves that to be a fact. The total numbers may be low, but the quality of the recruits still remains high. The only problem for the rest of the Pac-12 is that USC can now bring in the quantity to go along with quality again. This weekend showed they not only are going to be a threat to win the conference again, but everyone can expect them to be heavily involved in the playoff conversation with the kind of talent they are bringing in.
The rosters of the three All-American games this weekend were littered with USC commits and targets and their presence got punctuated with three elite players putting on USC hats. They added a stud running back from Texas in Ronald Jones II on Friday at the Under Armour game and it got even better on Saturday with big time commitments at the US Army All American Bowl from athlete Ykili Ross and safety Marvell Tell. Those additions made it twelve commitments total that were taking part in all-star games this weekend and helped the Trojans jump up four spots to the fourth overall recruiting class in the nation according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
And it looks like it's only going to get better for USC down the stretch. They are in the running to land several other blue chip players like Porter Gustin, Osa Masina, Iman Marshall, Rasheem Green, John Houston, and they could probably be in on some other top players if they so desired as well.
USC is USC again in recruiting. In fact, they never stopped being USC. They were forced to take a timeout, but unfortunately for every other program in the conference, they have returned to national recruiting prominence in a big way.
- Now that I'm done talking about how great USC's class is going to be overall, it's only fair that I get a little bit more specific on the three players they just landed.
If it's possible for a player who just played in an All-American game, I think Jones is underrated. He runs much bigger than his size and is a fantastic inside runner. He also showed what kind of big play capability he has with a 58 yard touchdown against some of the fastest players in the nation. He could be an early contributor at USC.
Tell is the best safety prospect on the west coast. Period. He has corner skills at the safety position.
Ross may have made a dumb statement by saying he was going to USC "for the next three years", but it's not dumb to think he has serious potential to develop into an NFL player one day. He could make an impact at wide receiver or defensive back at the next level. He's another player with the talent to play early.
- Arizona State has always had the potential to be a sleeping giant in football, but has never had the sustained success that could put them in the category of an elite program. With the way they are progressing under Todd Graham on the field and in recruiting, the giant may be finally waking up in Tempe.
The Sun Devils landed a huge commitment from 4 star athlete Stanley "Scrappy" Norman (who I like more at cornerback than on offense in college) during the US Army All American Bowl on Saturday. The game also featured several ASU targets and commits. That might not be a big deal for some programs, but having quarterback commit Brady White in the game and getting mentioned as a favorite for players like linebacker Porter Gustin, linebacker Osa Masina, and wide receiver Trent Irwin is not something that has been a regular occurrence for them.
They were the program that landed the next tier of recruit. The program that maybe landed a big JC player or two, but weren't in the running for the top players in the west. Even the ones in their own backyard. That appears to be changing now and the next step with recruiting is to land players like Gustin and Masina over USC.
- The Sun Devils also appear to be in really good position to flip 4 star guard Tevita Halalilo from UCLA. Halalilo is a massive young man that is big enough to play college football yesterday. If he can keep his weight under control and re-shape his body once he gets to the next level, he could develop into a dominating run blocker in the Pac-12.
- Just because a commitment was expected to happen, it doesn't mean it's not a big deal. Chris Petersen and the Huskies landing a (re)commitment from 4 star in-state athlete Austin Joyner at the Semper-Fi game is a very big deal for several reasons.
One, it keeps another really good local player home in purple and gold. That's something that Petersen has done a great job of this cycle with athletes like Joyner and Chico McClatcher in addition to future starters at offensive tackle in Henry Roberts and Trey Adams. Two, it takes a player away from Washington State. Joyner was committed to Wazzu until late November.
Most importantly, Joyner is the kind of athlete that could shine on either side of the ball at the college level. The Huskies have been trying to catch up to compete with Oregon for about a decade now and need to keep landing players like Joyner to do it.
- With all of the all-star game stuff going on last week, any other recruiting news could have easily got lost in the shuffle. Everyone should take notice of Stanford landing Florida safety Ben Edwards though. He is a game changing type of hitter in the secondary and a great addition to their class to pair with another good safety prospect, Arrington Farrar. Stanford is also still in the running for Frank Buncom IV, a player who could play safety or corner at the next level.
- All the Oregon talk this week is going to be about the national championship game, so them getting a commitment from a junior college linebacker is going to fly way under the radar. Paris Bostick's commitment isn't going to make the ticker on ESPN, but he's an example of how teams like Oregon sustains their success. They identify players that can fit with what they do and will go anywhere to find them.
Bostick signed with Georgia out of high school as a safety before transferring and playing a year at Santa Monica College in more of hybrid safety/outside linebacker role. He's got three years left of his eligibility and flashed the ability to play in coverage as well as being an effective blitzer off the edge. He'll compete for playing time immediately and has the athletic skill to play in all situations for the Ducks.