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USC Recruiting Dominance

Discussion in 'College Football' started by MistriBuck, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. MistriBuck

    MistriBuck aka MartyrBuck

    Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, i think you have to respect 'em

    ***Warning: this is ESPN for those that refuse to hit their website

    By Ivan Maisel
    <!-- template inline --> LOS ANGELES -- At 3 a.m. Wednesday, the trill of the cell phone awoke Ole Miss football coach Ed Orgeron in Oxford.

    "What the heck are you doing sleeping?" USC coach Pete Carroll asked, delighted that he had one-upped his former top assistant. "It's signing day!"

    Granted, it was merely 1 a.m. in Heritage Hall. But it's safe to assume that, four hours before national letters of intent could be accepted from recruits, most coaches would have been asleep. While it may be a stretch to draw a connection between Carroll's phone call and the Trojans' 33 victories in their last 34 games, it's not much of one.

    Sure enough, at 5:02 a.m., when the fax machine in the USC football office rolled out a signed national letter of intent from Patrick Turner, the Nashville wide receiver ranked as the No. 5 recruit in the nation, two Trojans coaches were there to see it: recruiting coordinator Lane Kiffin, and Carroll.

    <table align="right" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"> <tbody><tr><td rowspan="2" width="5"><spacer type="block" height="1" width="5"></td><td width="195">[​IMG]</td></tr><tr><td style="padding-bottom: 3px; line-height: 13px;" width="195">[font=verdana, arial, geneva]Pete Carroll and USC not only get the best California has to offers, but cherry-picks the best the rest of the nation has as well.[/font]</td></tr></tbody> </table> "I used to be continually challenged by Eddie Orgeron," Carroll said. "Who's going to make the most calls? We pushed each other to challenge our efforts in recruiting." Carroll lives to compete, and recruiting is one of the few ways to keep score between Jan. 4, when USC beat Oklahoma, 55-19, in the FedEx Orange Bowl, and Sept. 3, when the Trojans begin their quest for a third consecutive national championship at Hawaii.

    The Trojans signed a class heavy on defense, which makes sense with the loss of defensive tackles Shaun Cody and Mike Patterson, as well as linebackers Matt Grootegoed and Lofa Tatupu, and heavy on All-Americans from distant states -- Georgia, Hawaii, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Tennessee.

    For sheer numbers, the Trojans didn't sign as many recruits as the other top schools -- which may have been the reason why USC didn't have the No. 1 class -- but they got value landing four of the top 16 players in the country, six of the top 36 and seven of the top 100.

    Every coach at every school in Division I-A announced Wednesday that his university signed a great class. In light of a third consecutive top-five recruiting class at USC, what's unusual is that the praise for the Trojans also comes from the coaches they're beating.

    "They are in a different stratosphere than everybody else right now," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said.

    "They can pretty much pick and choose in Los Angeles and southern California, and everybody else is recruiting [after] that," Washington defensive coordinator Kent Baer said.

    In the course of four years, Carroll has turned West Coast football upside down. Two weeks after he was hired on Dec. 15, 2000, he stood on the sideline and watched the Washington Huskies work out for the Rose Bowl on his practice field.

    UCLA had won consecutive Pac-10 championships as recently as 1997-98. USC had won one league title in the previous 11 years.

    Recruiting in southern California belonged to the Huskies, and the Bruins, and Florida State and Miami and Tennessee and to any other coach who bought a plane ticket to LAX.

    "When we got here, D.J. Williams went to Miami," Kiffin said. "Kellen Winslow (Jr.), another California kid (who went to Miami). It was just happening too much. We were losing guys to Washington and Oregon. Now, if we take those guys, they're on our team and not on their team. It's like double."

    This week, when the prime real estate at the LAX gift shops is laden with USC national championship T-shirts and hats, Washington is coming off a 1-10 season, UCLA is defining mediocrity, and the Trojans' toughest recruiting battles on the West Coast are with California.

    The schools battled for Long Beach Poly High wide receiver DeSean Jackson, the MVP of the Army All-American Bowl, until Wednesday night, when Jackson chose to become a Cal Bear.

    <!---------------------INLINE TABLE (BEGIN)-------------------->

    <table id="inlinetable" align="right" border="0" cellpadding="3" cellspacing="1" width="250"> <tbody><tr><th colspan="1" style="background-color: rgb(0, 0, 0);"><center>California Dreamin'</center></th> </tr><tr style="background-color: rgb(236, 236, 236);" valign="top"> <td width="234"> Number of Californians in top 100:
    2001: 8
    2002: 13
    2003: 9
    2004: 11
    2005: 12

    Number of Calif. in top 100 who sign with USC:
    2000:4 (.267)
    2001: 3 (.375)
    2002: 3 (.231)
    2003: 6 (.667)
    2004: 6 (.556)
    2005: 3 (.250)

    Number of non-Calif. in top 100 who sign with USC:
    2000: 0
    2001: 0
    2002: 2
    2003: 1
    2004: 4
    2005: 4

    Calif. in top 100 who sign with FSU:
    2000-2002: 4
    2003-04: 0
    2005: 0

    Calif. in top 100 who sign with Tenn.:
    2000-2002: 2
    2003-2004: 0
    2005: 0

    Calif. in top 100 who sign with UCLA:
    2000-2002: 5
    2003-2004: 0
    2005: 1

    -- Ivan Maisel </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <!---------------------INLINE TABLE (END)--------------------> Meanwhile, the national powers don't come around much anymore. This year, Nebraska signed a running back the Trojans wanted, Marlon Lucky of North Hollywood High. But Florida State, Tennessee and Miami have signed a total of one top 100 player from California in the past three years.

    "Reggie (Bush) and LenDale (White) have scared off running backs for the last two years," Carroll said. "Next year's group, get ready."

    Read between the words of that comment, and you'll find the essence of the USC approach to recruiting. Carroll wants players who relish the chance to earn playing time. He wants players who will -- here's that word again -- compete.

    Carroll believes that is the answer to the essential paradox in recruiting. The better a team does, the easier it is to recruit against them. Opposing coaches take out the depth chart and say, "You can go there and sit, or you can come here and play."

    The minute a recruit asks about the other recruits at his position, or where he might fit in on the depth chart, he all but seals his fate with Carroll.

    "They weed themselves out," said Kiffin, the son of Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, "and you get a bunch of good competitors. They're willing to say, 'I don't care who's going there. I'm going to play.'"

    That theory is convenient for explaining away kids who choose against USC, such as Lucky and running back Jason Gwaltney of North Babylon, N.Y., who signed with West Virginia. But the Trojans haven't had to explain away much, especially within a 30-mile radius of the USC campus.

    The first task Carroll undertook to re-establish USC's local primacy was to heed the advice of that famed recruiting expert, filmmaker Woody Allen, who said, "Seventy percent of success in life is showing up." College coaches begin their evaluations in earnest in May.

    "He'll come down and see a practice or a game," Raul Lara, coach at Long Beach Poly, said of Carroll. "You don't see that from other head coaches. For example, I've only seen the head coach from UCLA (Karl Dorrell) once so far. Oklahoma? LSU? I haven't seen their head coaches. His (Carroll's) whole staff, including Pete, was at my practice last spring. If you're a player, and the head coach of the No. 1 team is there watching you at practice or at a game, that's pretty impressive."

    Riley, who describes himself as a "grinder," must use sweat equity to challenge in the Pacific-10 Conference. That's the price of success in Corvallis.

    "The guy I see the most is Pete Carroll," Riley said. "I've run into Pete in Vegas. There are a lot of players in southern California. If you go from one end to the other, over the course of May recruiting, I must have run into Pete six or seven times. I give him a lot of credit. I admire that in him. He's grinding it and he's at USC."

    Carroll likes to recruit in May precisely because other head coaches don't.

    "It's just competing," he said. "The better we do, the more I want to be out there. You might think the reverse. I love the nature of being a competitor. Create more separation if you can."

    Granted, top-100 lists as a measure of recruiting acumen can make a weatherman look infallible. But the lists dating to 2000, the last year of former Trojan coach Paul Hackett, illustrate USC's rise in unmistakable terms.

    In 2000, 15 Californians made the top-100 list. Four signed with USC. In 2002, the first class that Carroll had 12 months to recruit, the Trojans signed only three of 13 Californians in the top 100, and all three came from Long Beach Poly.

    The Trojans have signed 15 in the last three seasons, including this year's top player, quarterback Mark Sanchez of Mission Viejo.

    Once Carroll built the mythical fence around southern California, he began to recruit nationally. In 2002 and 2003, USC signed a total of three top-100 players outside the state border. In the last two years, the Trojans have signed eight.

    "Out of state, we set our expectations very, very high for the caliber of play," Carroll said. "We want to find guys that will be No. 1 draft picks, and kids that will be able to handle it academically and socially."

    That would explain why the out-of-state roster includes familiar names: White (Colo.), freshman wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett (N.J.) and former Trojan All-American wideout Mike Williams (Florida).

    "The national ones that they are on, they have a great chance of getting," said Baer, who has spent the last several years recruiting nationally at Stanford and at Notre Dame. "I'm not sure they spin their wheels very long on a guy they like. They evaluate in a hurry what their chances are."

    It is a lot easier in the explanation than it is in the doing. But it's clear that the Trojans haven't missed on very many players.

    "A lot of kids would like to go to SC," Carroll said. "If we take the guys who want to come, you may not find the best players. We had all kinds of All-Americans when we got here. They weren't necessarily the best kids."

    Bruce Rollinson, the longtime coach of Santa Ana Mater Dei High, the alma mater of USC quarterback Matt Leinart, recalled Carroll's recruitment of lineman Brandon Nicolas, who signed with Notre Dame a year ago.

    "SC made the decision they weren't going to go with him," Rollinson said. "They had tremendous respect for the kid. Pete Carroll sat right across from me and said, 'I don't know if I'm right or I'm wrong. I'm going after the best of the best. We think there are other kids who are better.' I admire Pete Carroll for saying, 'We're USC and this is what we're going to do.'"

    On Monday, with I-A coaches in a "dead period" -- they may not contact recruits -- Carroll and his staff began evaluating video of the top 50 juniors in California. The class of 2006 awaits.

    "You mix hard work, good evaluation, good recruiting and a national championship team," Riley said, "and they go out and do it."

    Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for He can be reached at [email protected].
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2005
  2. methomps

    methomps an imbecility, a stupidity without name

    ESPN and USC...looks like Christmas has come early for Buckeyes
  3. MistriBuck

    MistriBuck aka MartyrBuck

    methomps, being on the west coast, we're one of the only ones to see this so far, i'm bracing myself for the aftermath in the morning
  4. methomps

    methomps an imbecility, a stupidity without name

    Don't worry, I tend to draw the heat onto myself with these threads. It'll go like this:

    1. Someone will use faulty logic to disparage USC/Pac10
    2. To try to discredit the logic, I'll show that by the same token tOSU/Big10 can be made to look bad (Example)
    3. A swarm of posters will completely miss that I am attacking the logic (not tOSU) and all hell breaks loose.
    4. MistriBuck is off the hook
  5. leek

    leek Freshman

    Look the guy is apparently a tireless recruiter, with some good things to sell, like So Cal weather and glitter, his recent successes etc. He also has to minimize some disadvantages like location (South Central). No question he was a great hire for SC. He will keep the program regularly in the hunt for the National championship.

    While it has nothing to do with anything in this thread, I love the Bucks, I think Tressel was a great hire, and that he will keep the program regularly in the hunt for the National championship.

    If you have no competition, wins are truly hollow.

    What's the fuss?
  6. HabaneroBuck

    HabaneroBuck Non-Nike Design

    USC is a very good program which is attractive to a wide array of recruits.

    There are teams in the PAC - 10 capable of beating them. (Arizona, UCLA, Oregons)

    Ivan Maisel is not worth spending one minute of your life on.
  7. osugrad21

    osugrad21 Capo Regime Staff Member

    USC is on top of the pile right one was even close a few months ago. However, I am very interested to see which direction the program takes after losing Orgeron, Davis, and especially Chow. I know the USC posters say that PC is the main cog and I can buy that somewhat...but those are some major losses. Kiffin and Sarkisian are on the hotseat now...the prodigies basically ran off the mentor in some capacity or another although I doubt we will ever know the treu story of that one.

    Time wil tell, but I have a hard time believing there will not be problems or at least a dropoff on a few major fronts this year.
  8. bobcat84

    bobcat84 Freshman

    In the Dispatch today there is a report that USC is still pressing Chris Wells even after his commit to OSU. USC has no class in my view. Tres backs off kids that commit to other schools and respects the kid's decision unless the kid initiates contact with OSU.

    BTW, they also mention UNC and Maryland as continuing to recruit C.Wells.
  9. osugrad21

    osugrad21 Capo Regime Staff Member

    Sorry man...that just is not true. EVERY D1 school continues to recruit verbally committed players...including JT.

    Do you really think Gwaltney initiated all contact with tOSU after he committed to WVU?

    I love JT myself, but he still does the same thing. Any coach that values his job does as well.
  10. Buckeye737

    Buckeye737 Sophmore

    I would have absolutely nothing to complain about with this article if they had left this BS out of it. C'mon, are they telling me that Fred Davis never once asked to see the depth chart at WR? Why would he then tell Maurice Wells that he wouldn't recruit someone at RB for the following year if he came to USC? Give me a break.
  11. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0

    USC is at the top right now and they are having success, I give them credit. I am interested to see the result of losing so much of their staff. It should be interesting to see if they can stay on top.
  12. Oh8ch

    Oh8ch Cognoscente of Omphaloskepsis Staff Member

    Just finished reading the Da Vinci Code, so it is all clear to me.

    pete CArroll. Notice the C and the A. Reverse them and you have the initials for the Anti-Chirst.

    USC will continue to recruit well and to win - but only Devil-worshippers will wear their gear.

    OSU is still the premier program from among those that worship and fear God.

    To quote Mark 8:36 - ""What shall it profit a man if he gain the National Championship and lose his own soul?"

    Now try and blow a hole in THAT logic Methomps!!!

    (Notice also that there are 11 letters in Pete Carroll. That is not only the number of players on a football team - it is the points one receives for a FG, a TD and a two point conversion! Think about THAT for a while.)
  13. OilerBuck

    OilerBuck Sweet Crude

    Methinks methomps has been hanging around Bucknut$ too long :biggrin2: .

    1. The PAC-10 is on the downward part of a cycle that every conference goes through. There is no reason to believe that will continue. I tend to think Cal will raise themselves to a more consistent power, Arizona will become a very good team quicker than most realize, Washington will go from a doormat to consistently just above average, Wazzu, Oregon State and Oregon have all been rebuilding a little, but should come around again soon. Stanford will continue to be a very tough good but not great team that can never be counted as a win. UCLA will only be as good as USC lets them. People make the argument that the PAC-10 is weak and that helps USC...Ask Auburn, Iowa, Meatchicken, Oklahoma and Notre Dame (thrice) if USC isn't really that good.

    2. I also think that the Big Ten was down last year, as the ACC and SEC were obviously a cut above the rest. I am just of the opinion that the Big Ten is on an immediate upswing for next year, while the PAC-10 will have to wait another year or two before it REALLY starts to heat up.

    3. I'd hope BP would be a little more logical than most other sites you deal with...but I know every place has a few that feel it's easier to attack than to have a rational exchange of thoughts.

    4. Methomps is definately not a homer. In my experience, he calls it like he sees it, is consistently on the money and makes fun of Meatchicken...what more can you ask for out of a guy? USC is a dominant team right now and I hate to see people cheapen that by making excuses. tOSU had a down year, hopefully we can get up near USC's level this year and give them a run...but make no mistake about it, the left coast boys are the heavy favorites. I admit to having a little bit of envy in the way things are going out there.

  14. NightmaresDad

    NightmaresDad Woody Rules!

    Oh My God, Oh8ch!!! I thought I was the only one!!!
  15. ysubuck

    ysubuck Be water my friend.

    You can't blow a hole in this one.

    I hate USC and I can't stand Pete Carroll :biggrin:

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