USC enjoyed a blowout victory over Notre Dame last Saturday, but the Trojans also had important business to handle off the field. Head coach Steve Sarkisian organized a big recruiting weekend, hosting a slew of recruits and using the Trojans' win over the Golden Domers as a showcase for his program's future.
Among the top prospects who visited Troy last weekend was defensive tackle Tim Settle. From Virginia, Settle is a load in the defensive trenches for Stonewall Jackson High School. Incumbent USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams is a likely top-5 selection in next spring's NFL draft, so it would be a surprise to see him opt to return to USC.
That only makes Settle that much more important to the Trojans. A high-end national recruit, ESPN rates him at five stars and No. 17 overall. Scout.com, Rivals and 247Sports list Settle as a four-star prospect.
The 6'3", 300-pounder has solid first-step quickness and the strength to play with power at the point of attack. Settle has the short-area range to chase down running backs within the box, while also having the ability to push the pocket from the interior and force quarterbacks off their launching points as a pass-rusher.
With a recruit as talented as Tim Settle, it's not surprising the Trojans are not the only team after him. He's already taken official visits to Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State, while Pac-12 rival Washington State will host the Virginia native on December 6. Other key schools in Settle's recruitment include Clemson, Penn State and Tennessee, per 247Sports.
As for Settle and his visit to USC, things seemed to have gone well based on a recent tweet:
Loved LA next stop #Va ,On my way! Home
— Tim Settle (@tim_settle) November 30, 2014
Settle publicly showing his love for the city USC resides in fresh off a visit to Troy is a good sign. However, it's tougher to convince an out-of-state recruit to head across the country, and USC is not the dominant recruiting power it once was under former head coach Pete Carroll.
At this moment, the feeling one gets is Virginia Tech is in the driver's seat for Tim Settle. Yet as all have learned before, never underestimate the Trojans on the recruiting trail -- even on the East Coast.
While USC has mined Florida for high-profile recruits like Williams, Nelson Agholor, Nickell Robey and Mike Williams (just to name a few), they have also found gems up the coast as well. Linebackers Brian Cushing and Anthony Sarao came from New Jersey while current Trojans Khaliel Rodgers and Kenny Bigelow went to the same school in Maryland.