Lane Kiffin and Coach O absolutely killed it on the recruiting trail this year. Able to skirt the scholarship reducing sanctions for this year due to the pending NCAA appeal decision, the dynamic duo went out and nabbed 22 signees to go with the eight players who enrolled in Spring 2011 and count towards the 2010 recruiting class. With Juco transfers, that brings the USC Recruiting Class of 2011 to 30 players. This is a huge relief, since our team has been decimated by transfers, ineligibility and graduation. With numbers already down in 2010, and three years of scholarship sanctions looming, landing a solid and large class this year was imperative.
Let’s take a look at five recruits who look to make an immediate impact on the Trojans in 2011.
What: Wide Receiver
Where: Gardena, CA – Serra HS
How: Farmer comes out of the same high school as 2010 freshman phenom Robert Woods and fellow 2011 USC WR recruit Marqise Lee. Farmer, the overall #12 pick and the #1 pick for wide receivers is fast, big, intelligent and has a set of golden hands on him. Speculation says he’d make a great safety as well as wide receiver. It is likely Farmer will start alongside his former high school teammate Robert Woods, with his main competition being redshirt freshman Kyle Prater.
What: Offensive Lineman
Where: Cleveland, OH – Glenville HS
How: Kiffin and Coach O stole this monster right out of Ohio State’s backyard, which makes it extra pleasing, you know? This 4 star recruit is ranked number one at his position and 64th nationally and looks to make an immediate impact on USC’s depleted O-Line. Walker has been quoted as saying USC’s coaching staff is looking at him as a potential starting right tackle this season. Have I mentioned this guy is a monster? He’s 6’5” and 335. And he is 18 years old. It is likely that he will get bigger and better. SC needs a right tackle immediately and will need a left tackle in 2011 or 2012 when Matt Kalil leaves for the NFL. Aundrey Walker, with time and development, should be well suited to move to left tackle later in his USC career.
Where: Danville, KY – Boyle County HS
How: Dawson is one of four linebackers in the 2011class (Dallas Kelley, Tre Madden and Anthony Sarao are the other three). Dawson figures to get playing time right away for two reasons: his athleticism and his intelligence. Dawson is easily the best and most developed of the four linebackers in the 2011 class. He also has a high school G.P. A. of 3.8. USC’s linebackers coach Joe Barry likes a big brain to go with the big bodies, and we have an immediate need due to losing outside linebackers Malcolm Smith and Michael Morgan. Also, Kentucky is not usual USC recruiting country. Snatched one right out of the SEC’s backyard.
It is very unusual for Punters and Kickers to be scholarship players, but it is not hard to see why Lane Kiffin sought out scholarship players for these positions. Joe Houston is graduating and let’s face it, we lost a number of games in 2010 (not to mention 2009, etc.) due to a missed field goal. USC would have been at least 10-3 if Houston had been more accurate. Also, R.I.P. Mario Danelo, you are so missed.
Where: Lake Charles, LA – St. Louis HS
How: Another score from deep in the heart of SEC country. Albarado, from LSU’s backyard, should be the starting punter next season as Jacob Harfman graduates this year and didn’t set the world on fire with his punts the past two seasons. Albarado already has all the fundamentals in place to be a great directional punter and his only competition comes in the form of two walk-on seniors - Boomer Roepke and Kyle Negrete. It would be wonderful to have a great punting game in place in Troy again. Winning the battle for field position has been such a big part of USC’s past success and also, its relative lack of success these past two seasons.
Where: Bakersfield, CA – Stockdale HS
How: Heidari inherits pretty much the same situation as Albarado with Joe Houston graduating and his only competition is walk-on Craig McMahon. Heidari will likely be given the first shot at the starting job as he’s known for kicking a number of 50-plus yard field goals in high school. McMahon’s leg looked decent in spring practices last season by all accounts, but Heidari’s leg is insane – it would be shocking if he didn’t walk right into the kicking game. Which, let’s face it, USC needs in a bad way after last season’s missed field goal losses to Washington and Stanford. USC hasn’t had a kicker capable of nailing crucial field goals since David Buehler.
I’ll be looking at five more new USC recruits next week and every week until we’ve gone through all 30 new Trojans.