USC vs. UCLA for Te'o?

January, 28, 2009
1/28/09
12:46
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

With his decision to drop BYU, Manti Te'o, the nation's top linebacker recruit, now appears to be deciding between USC and UCLA, though Notre Dame is still in the mix.

Bruce Feldman views this as the nation's top recruiting battle.

The ESPNU 150 ranks Te'o No. 2 overall behind quarterback Matt Barkley, who's already enrolled at USC.

If Te'o taps USC, that might the piece that again gives USC the nation's top recruiting class (and look at the prospects still on the Trojans board), which will be proof-positive that the Trojans recruiting machine is about Pete Carroll and not his assistant coaches -- see the loss of both his coordinators and other support staff this off-season.

Of course, if UCLA and Rick Neuheisel nab him away from Carroll, well, let's just say the recruiting gauntlet would be officially spiked in LA.

Pete Carroll had an in-home with Te'o Tuesday night, according to ESPN.com's Graham Watson. Rick Neuheisel and new defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough were in Te'o's Hawaii home on Monday. Te'o is scheduled to visit USC on Thursday.

This is not the only down-to-the-wire battle between the city rivals.

Both schools are finalists for offensive lineman Xavier Su'a-Filo of Provo, Utah, who ranks 35th on the ESPNU 150. Norm Chow reportedly met with Su'a-Filo on Tuesday.

UCLA also is trying to swing a couple of USC commits its way, such as LA receiver Randall Carroll, after already signing tight end Morrell Pressley, who had previously committed to USC.

UCLA was widely -- and fairly -- mocked for the LA Times ad saying "The football monopoly in Los Angeles is officially over."

And even if the Bruins pull a couple of signing day coups, that assertion still will be far from true.

But it won't sound nearly as ridiculous as it did in August.

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