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The Early Bird gets the Worm

I have talked about how Pete Carroll's knack for recruiting is the reason that SC has been so successful. Part of that success is being able to roll with the changes that invariably come up in college sports.


The recruiting process has shifted into fifth gear over the last few years, with programs offering prospects earlier and earlier.

Some of the schools that traditionally offer players later than most -- like Florida State and Miami -- have more early commitments than ever. Perhaps the most recognizable example of this trait is the strategy of Pete Carroll at USC.

Last year, Carroll and his staff accepted their first commitment for the class of 2008 in April. What does that mean? It means that Servite, Calif., athlete D.J. Shoemate -- easily one of the most talented players in his class -- committed to USC during his sophomore year of high school. It means that Shoemate, who would have had offers from almost every program in the country, decided to end the process a full five months before he could receive his first written scholarship offer.

Shoemate has been joined by six other top recruits in USC's 2008 class. Two current sophomores have decided to follow in Shoemate's footsteps. They have committed almost before the recruiting process can start, giving USC two commitments for the class of 2009.

Pete Carroll's ability to recruit out of state is legend and while this article also mentions that these early signings help him with local recruiting as well I think it makes a bigger deal than it really is. Sure, Pete Carroll will lose his share of recruits, he can't get them all, but he will never be accused of dropping the ball and missing out on a recruit like some coaches do.

Part of what makes him so successful is his ability to change or modify his tactics to adapt to the surrounding landscape and that is exactly what he is doing here.