USC gets banner recruiting class in 1st year after sanctions
LOS ANGELES (AP) After years of heavy NCAA sanctions, Southern California finally had a full complement of football scholarships to offer this year.
On a level playing field, coach Steve Sarkisian and the Trojans were awfully tough to beat.
USC landed one of the nation's top recruiting classes Wednesday, adding late commitments from several big-name prospects to the Trojans' stack of previous signees. Scout and Rivals both ranked the Trojans' class as the nation's best, ending Alabama's run of four consecutive No. 1 classes for Rivals.
''It turned out exactly how we wanted it to, and we couldn't be more happy,'' Sarkisian said.
The Trojans landed 24 players this winter after recruiting without 30 potential scholarships over the past three seasons, badly eroding USC's depth along with a two-year postseason ban.
Yet the school's desirability among the nation's best players remained strong under former coach Lane Kiffin, and Sarkisian's staff has increased the Trojans' momentum with a deep, balanced class of players who could contribute next season at nearly every position.
''It is great to be able to sign a full class this year,'' Sarkisian said. ''Had this been last year, many of the players we signed today would have had to go somewhere else.''
USC's championship tradition, national exposure and pleasant lifestyle attracted a wide range of top-level talent, both homegrown and far-flung.
The Trojans plucked the nation's top defensive back, Iman Marshall, out of nearby Long Beach, California, but went to Powder Springs, Georgia, to sign five-star offensive lineman Chuma Edoga.
Edoga and quarterback Ricky Town are among five prospects already enrolled at USC. Quarterback Sam Darnold also signed with the Trojans.
USC also grabbed two of the nation's speediest running backs to join the lineage at Tailback U: Dominic Davis of Mission Hills, California, and Ronald Jones II of McKinney, Texas.
''Dominic Davis might be the fastest guy in the state of California, and Ronald Jones might be the fastest guy in the state of Texas,'' Sarkisian said.
Top 25 Class: Yes. Scout No. 1/Rivals No. 1
Best in class: Iman Marshall, DB, Long Beach, California
Best of the rest: Rasheem Green, DL, Gardena, California
Late addition: Porter Gustin, LB, Salem, Utah
One that got away: Cordell Broadus, WR, Las Vegas