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Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Signing day wrap-up

By Pedro Moura

De'Anthony Thomas (Los Angeles, Calif./Crenshaw) picked Oregon and Torian White (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood) picked UCLA, but national signing day isn't quite over yet for the Trojans.

Nope. Even as signing day ends on the East Coast, USC still has one more commit still unapproved officially to join the 22-man recruiting class: defensive end/linebacker Steve Dillon (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale). Dillon has sent in his signed letter of intent, he told Wednesday night, and is waiting for the Trojans to give the official word. As of 9:15 p.m., a school spokesperson said USC still had nothing to report on the Dillon front.

But USC still signed 22 players to go along with the eight early enrollees, making for a definitely-respectable class of 30 players that will be available come fall camp in August. A signing day like this has to be considered a success for the Trojans considering the circumstances, in my mind.

We'll have more on this recruiting business tomorrow, including our pick of the top five signees most likely to contribute as true freshmen and the biggest losses USC suffered on this day. In the meantime, though, here's some of what Trojans coach Lane Kiffin had to say in his Heritage Hall press conference Wednesday and video of it as well. Enjoy:


(On the biggest surprise)

Yeah, I think Lamar Dawson.  When you're talking about local kids, California kids, you'd usually like to think that you're going to get them or at least be in the top two.  Lamar had a number of great schools to go to.

He was in the middle of Kentucky, obviously, not right down the road, in SEC territory.  A very good student, team leader, potential great player, obviously a very big position of linebacker.  So to be able to go in there and get Lamar to come probably was the biggest surprise.

We knew the night before as I've said before.  If you're watching the show and they're pulling hats and you don't know, they're not pulling yours.  Even though it wasn't a surprise that minute, the night before was pretty exciting.

(On Aundrey Walker committing out of Glenville in Ohio State country)

Yeah, Aundrey is probably right behind Lamar as far as a surprise.  Here's a player at Cleveland Glenville High School.  When you study it, and they're out from the state of Ohio, they usually go to Ohio State.  So for us to be able to go get those done was critical for us.  Both of them are a position of need.  Aundrey's 375 pounds, 6'5", so gives us some size there and we'll see.  We'll plug they will in and see what he can do.

Those were probably the most exciting to me to see.  I had talked about during the season that I had not felt the sanctions and bowl bans as much locally as I had going to get the kids from a long way away, because now it gave them the excuse not to come.

To go get a couple kids that everybody in the country was after, to still come with all that going on was very exciting.

(On which players could come in and play right away)

Well, it's hard to just point out a couple.  I'd like to think that George Farmer would come in and contribute.  He has all the intangibles to be a great player, but you never know.

We weren't able to have him in camp.  We were able to watch a little film on him, but when you have the kids in camp, you're able to have more film on them.  But height, weight, speed and character, he's off the charts.  So I would think he would be the front line guy of all those guys.

(On skeptics who had publicly wondered what sort of class he'd be able to pull in)

Well, it's not me.  I don't care how good a recruiter you are.  If you weren't at a place like SC, and I think SC is the only place with all that going on, and all the ammo that everybody had going against you, for these kids to still choose USC because of the education, and because of playing football here, I just think it speaks volumes for USC.

I just don't think you can do it, because I think the expectation probably was  I'm sure a lot of people thought when you were facing the Bowl bans and everything around it, and the scholarship reductions that may be coming, that something like this wouldn't happen.

(On the most underrated player in the 22-man class)

Yeah, I think I would probably say that Amir Carlisle for a guy that was rated pretty high but not really high.  You go back to look at what he did in high school.  Here's a great student, a kid that was committed to Stanford for a while, and then committed to come to us.

Probably him and Anthony Sarao.  Talking to guys that were at the All Star game, some coaches that coached in it, they talked about how great he was in practice and competitive and smart he was.  Both those guys are high character guys and big additions to us right there towards the end.