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Despite the NCAA Sanctions, the USC Recruiting Powerhouse Still Hums

Syracuse and USC face off in a matchup that looks to be one-sided especially with stud defensive end Chandler Jones out once again with an injury. The Trojans have some inherent advantages Syracuse can never match up with: location, major metro area, multiple Heismans, national titles, sunshine.

But Syracuse can still take plenty out of this game on and off the field. If there’s one thing the Trojans have mastered it’s reeling in big time recruits on a consistent basis. USC is still king of the recruiting arena despite being banned from bowl games for two seasons and losing 30 scholarships over the next three years. Here’s how:

USC has a stranglehold on California. It’s the key cog for keeping USC a national powerhouse. The men of Troy own their state, which is of course a hot bed for high school football. According to Scout.com, the Trojans have 10 commitments for the 2012-2013, (the first season in which the reduction of football scholarships takes place) and every player is from the Golden State.

No other Pac-12 school can really compete with the Trojans for elite talent (Oregon has come closest, but the Ducks were hit with a scandal of their own). While some SoCal players leave for other power programs, many stay closer to home. Unlike Syracuse, the Trojans get the big fish out West. For the 2012 class they already have 5 four-star recruits and 1 five-star recruit in Arik Armstead, who is considered a top offensive line prospect in the nation. If the Orange wants to get back to national prominence, it has to start keeping elite New York players in the Empire State.

It’s hard to imagine this ban won’t affect the Trojans, but their recruiting classes from the last two years still looks like vintage USC dominance. The school showed with the 2011 class it’s still cherry-picking SoCal, and going the JC route to fill other needs. The Trojans will have less depth than the Pete Carroll golden years, but are not showing serious drop off. Why are top talents still flocking to Coliseum? The Trojans have legacy, a high-profile program, top of the line facilities, located in a high-end recruiting area and playing on national television almost every week.

There have been prospects that have jumped the ship since the violation occured, but as freshman ESPN top 150 player Antwaun Woods told collegelevelathletes.com, the postseason ban is for only one more year and that’s worth the cost of spending four years in paradise.

“I talked to a lot of guys in my class (2011) and they was like worried and everything, but I thought about it and it’ll only affect us for one year. As a freshman, you want to win a national championship and go to a bowl game, but your main focus is to really just get used to the program and try to play. So I was like, ‘It’s only one year for us’, so then they thought about that and they was like ‘alright,’ they understand. So, they’re still strongly committed too.”

USC has laid a rock solid foundation and are one of the titans in the recruiting world. It would take thousands of Zeus lightning bolts to be dethroned from that position. This is a place Syracuse football will probably never reach, but the Orange is at least on the right path to getting there. Syracuse can never be USC, but the Trojans ability to recruit no matter what turmoil hits the program is something every program can be envious of.

Posted: Dave Van Moffaert

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