Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites.
USC finds itself in a strange position – not at the top of the Pac-12 team recruiting rankings.
The Trojans are off to a slow start this recruiting cycle with only seven commitments and one four-star pledge. USC is ranked fifth in the conference rankings and No. 41 overall, squeezed in between Maryland and Wake Forest.
It’s June, so there’s no real reason to worry yet, and all three five-star prospects in the West – DE Kayvon Thibodeaux, ATH Bru McCoy and CB Chris Steele – remain uncommitted, and all three are seriously looking at the Trojans. Thibodeaux is also high on Alabama, Florida State and others; McCoy likes Ohio State, Texas and others; and Steele is also serious about Florida, Oregon, South Carolina and others.
Oregon has been doing incredibly well in California so far, with pledges from CB Jeremiah Criddell, RB Sean Dollars, DE Mase Funa, CB Mykael Wright and others. The Ducks have the top class in the conference, by far.
But can USC clean up with the five-star prospects in the state and continue to load up – like always – and end up leading through the season and into National Signing Day?
FIRST TAKE: CHRIS SWANSON, TROJANSPORTS.COM
“Even with a slow start in recruiting, I expect USC to sign the best class in the Pac-12. I also expect USC to get a lot of quality players. I’m just not sure if those three players will pick USC, but if I had to bet, I think USC gets at least two of them.
“I think Bru McCoy feels almost expected at this point and he’s the one five-star I would absolutely bet on picking USC. Chris Steele used to feel that way as well. I would still pick USC to get Steele and I would consider USC the expected favorite for him. That being said, his eventual commitment to USC seems a bit more questionable than it did directly after that UCLA decommitment. Kayvon Thibodeaux seems to be a bit more of a wild card. It seems he could end up elsewhere. I would pick USC to get him, as well, but I feel like he could be trending elsewhere at the moment.
“That could totally change though. I remember when Adoree’ Jackson was trending to the SEC at one point. On top of that, USC was the expected favorite for Thibodeaux a few months back and probably still is. So adding that all up, it would not surprise me if USC landed all three. I think it’s very, very possible. I would be surprised if USC didn’t get two of those players. I would be absolutely shocked if USC didn’t get any of them.”
SECOND TAKE: MIKE FARRELL, RIVALS.COM
“The one program you don’t worry about is USC. It’s like worrying about Alabama in recruiting. Last year there were a lot of questions about Alabama’s slow start. They ended up finishing seventh, which for them is very, very low – but it’s still a top-10 class.
“USC is going to finish top 10. They’re going to get their guys in the end. They’ve just got such a recruiting advantage in the state of California with so much talent there. It’s not like Florida, where it’s competitive with Florida, Florida State and Miami. It’s not like Texas, where you have Oklahoma coming in and LSU coming in and you have Texas and Texas A&M. They’re the No. 1 option by far, it’s not even close. UCLA is a distant second. They’ll be fine. They’ll get their guys and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they got all three five-stars.”