Call me a conspiracy theorist...
There is an interesting article in the LAT today about USC and recruiting.
The stockpiling of talent will apparently continue at USC. As the final pushes are made toward Wednesday, the national letter-of-intent signing day for football, the Trojans are anticipating another stellar recruiting class.
But a lot can happen in these final hours, and supposed "commitments" can suddenly become meaningless. Especially at a time when Coach Pete Carroll and his reconfigured staff face a new issue: An exodus of several high-profile transfers.
Three players -- running backs Emmanuel Moody and Broderick Green and receiver Vidal Hazelton -- left USC in the last 18 months to seek happiness and more playing time elsewhere. All were from out of state and formerly regarded as elite talents by recruiting experts.
Greg Biggins, West Coast recruiting analyst for ESPNRise.com, said opposing coaches have cited the departures as cautionary tales about straying across the country to sign with the Trojans.
And Biggins added that the exits also sent a message regarding USC's depth-chart issues.
I actually like Gary Klein's writing but I find this piece suspicious in its timing and tone. Yes, SC has stockpiled RB's and WR's but no one twisted these kids arms to all sign their LOI. They could have decided to go somewhere else but they took the chance.
Most have done well while some like the 3 mentioned above decided that SC wasn't for them. Green is the most understandable because of a family illness. Hazelton has mentioned the same thing but because of all the drama that played out with his dad BEFORE he signed his letter of intent and some of the issues that came to light this past season there is more to the story that we will probably never know.
Then there is Moody...
I love this gem.
"It was just to change my situation and change my surroundings, the position I was in spiritually and physically," said Moody, a role player for Florida's Bowl Championship Series national title-winning team. "And I just wanted a new start."
That doesn't seem to jive with all that his uncle said back when Moody left. Couple that with how Urban Meyer has used Moody to negatively recruit against USC and you can see why it's hard to feel any pity for Moody. By the way just what role did Moody play this season for UF? I don't seem to remember if he had a lot of breakout games and I saw a lot of UF games this season.
More importantly Klein's article doesn't mention players who transferred into SC's program like Mitch Mustain and Damien Williams who were not afraid to take the chance. Williams was the man this season and Mustain has the opportunity to be the starter in 2009. Sounds like these guys aren't afraid to compete not to mention all those other players that left the comfortable confines of home to play at USC . This is where Klein's article lacks balance and makes me suspicious that this was nothing more than a thinly veiled hit piece on PC/USC.
Here is a little more...
But will prospects be as forgiving when a USC position group can go as many as 10 deep?
That was the case in 2007 when the Trojans had 10 tailbacks on the roster. They started last season with six, and will have the same number when spring practice begins March 28.
Not coincidentally, there are no tailbacks among the players who have committed to USC for the 2009 class.
Any basic due diligence would have shown Klein that outside of Bryce Brown there aren't any decent RB's in this years crop of recruits. Next year will have a boatload of RB's for SC to go after. There is also a very good chance that SC could stockpile a lot of talent tomorrow at another position...Safety...if all those kids in USC's sights sign is there going to be a mass exodus? These kids are pretty savvy so they know what they are getting into.
This just doesn't strike me as the type of peice that Gary Klein would write, he is usually more even temepered in his reporting. There are rumors of another player possibly transferring so this piece could be timed to support it but it certainly could have been posted after LOI day, its not like the mysterious transfer is leaving today.
Call me disappointed because this is not the type of work I have come to expect from Gary Klein.