Chat with Garry Paskwietz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, WeAreSC blogger Garry Paskwietz stops by to chat some USC football.
Paskwietz is the Publisher of WeAreSC and has been covering the Trojans since 1997. Paskwietz is also a co-host of the USC Football radio pre-game show
Send your questions now and join Paskwietz every Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET!
Garry Paskwietz (5:00 PM)
Hello everyone, let's get started.
Howard (Palo Alto)
Is D.J. Foster a reasonable get at this point?
Garry Paskwietz (5:01 PM)
I think D.J. comes down to USC and ASU and it could go either way at this point. He has some pretty strong hometown feelings about playing for the Sun Devils but SC offers a fairly attractive depth chart at the running back spot.
Hello Garry! When it's all said and done; will the Trojans have a top ten recruiting class this year? In your opinion?
Garry Paskwietz (5:02 PM)
No. I think the class will be top 10 in terms of "quality per player" but I don't think there will be enough bodies to generate that high of a ranking.
USC hosted 12 commits last weekend, and will host another 6 this weekend. Excluding those already committed (to USC), who do they have the best chance to land on National Signing Day?
Garry Paskwietz (5:03 PM)
Two guys that I think are best chances right now are Zach Banner and Nelson Agholor. Both are out of state targets who have been a focus of the USC staff for a long time and the relationships are solid as they head into the official visits.
Kevin (Los Angeles )
Who is coming in this weekend for official visits? Any late recruits that want to take a visit?
Garry Paskwietz (5:05 PM)
Right now the schedule has Kyle Murphy, Jahleel Pinner, Pio Vatuvei, Aziz Shittu, Zach Banner, Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, Tyriq McCord and Leonard Williams. There is a chance Hiva Lutui might be on the trip as well, he is up in the air right now.
Deejay (Diamond Bar)
With Lupoi moving to UW, who else will USC be looking to steal from Cal, and why do you think McCarthy committed so quickly to UCLA after Lupoi left? Where do you think Shaq will land now, and why did SC cool on Jordan Payton.
Garry Paskwietz (5:07 PM)
I don't think there are any other targets that are really looking to be swayed from Cal right now. Shaq Thompson would be one but he doesn't appear to be looking at USC anymore. McCarthy's dad has a pre-existing relationship with new UCLA asst coach Demetrice Martin going back to jr. high so when Martin came for an in-home visit to McCarthy it led to a quick verbal. As far as Payton, speed was a big issue, Jordan is a solid receiver but his speed wasn't developing for what SC was looking for.
jackie (Los Angeles )
Last week i mentioned rumors about McCarthy not coming to SC because he was more of a low profile type of guy. U still think he is coming to USC? Its obvious that he wouldnt be able to handle the pressure to start right away.
Garry Paskwietz (5:09 PM)
I think the chances are that he sticks with UCLA right now. I say that with the full possibility of Ed Orgeron turning him around but I think the Bruins had fortunate timing with the hiring of a old friend of Ellis' dad. Plus the dad has always liked UCLA and Jim L. Mora Jr. is a defensive coach, I could see Ellis sticking with this one.
jason (south bay)
with all the recruits that were in town over the weekend, how come no news, of any sort, has come out? I really expected to hear something. Is CLK asking commits to stay quiet?
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
There have been a ton of updates, just no verbals. That's not a huge surprise. I'm sure Kiffin would have preferred a verbal but you have to remember that there are only a few spots left. Also, if a recruit has waited this long to make a decision, he is likely to finish off his trips before coming to a final choice.
lewis ( florida)
do you think it is a smart idea to move George farmar back to wr??
Garry Paskwietz (5:12 PM)
Yes, I do. It's his more natural spot and his skill set fits well there. I can George having a huge breakout year in 2012.
Chris (Newport Beach, CA)
Gary, less than two weeks away! Do Lane and company have a back up plan to sign 15 guys if someone backs out last minute on NSD?
Garry Paskwietz (5:13 PM)
I'm sure they do. Kiffin is one of the best coaches I've seen in terms of having a plan in the recruiting process. This year is really going to have to be a good balance to make sure they come away with 15 on signing day. As you say, there is always the possibility of kids backing out or late surprises, the Trojans can't afford to be caught short this year with the limited rides.
Chris (Newport Beach, CA)
McCarthy to UCLA, this was a shock to most of the fans, but did you know he had UCLA ranked so high?
Garry Paskwietz (5:15 PM)
It was known that his dad had UCLA ranked high, he has made no secret of that. When you then add a defensive coach such as Mora and then the hiring of an old friend, it added up to a quick switch by Ellis. It may have seemed surprising at the time but the possibility was always there because of the dad.
What are USC chances with Cleveland Wallace? Who are other back up plans for cornerback?
Garry Paskwietz (5:16 PM)
I think it's a legit chance. The interest in Wallace makes it clear that the coaches want a 2nd corner in this class and I don't think they are going to get anyone else besides Wallace to go along with Kevon Seymour. If that is the case, and if there is a scholarship available, I can see Wallace ending up in this class.
Howard (Palo Alto)
How are we looking for additional offensive lineman at this time?
Garry Paskwietz (5:18 PM)
There are some good hopes of landing at least one, if not two, of the remaining players on the wish list. Zach Banner is coming for a visit this weekend and he just hosted Ed Orgeron for a visit earlier in the week. Isaac Seumalo is still a possibility although it will be tough for him to go back on his commit to OSU. Andrus Peat has SC in his final 3. Kyle Murphy is a heavy lean to Stanford but SC will get a shot to make an impression this weekend on an official.
Alex (Culver City)
What impact does the new offensive coordinator at Florida have on Nelson Agholor since he is unofficially visiting them on the last weekend?
Garry Paskwietz (5:19 PM)
It sounds like it was a good impact but not the home run that would have solidified him to the Gators. All signs are that the door is still open for the Trojans to really lock things down with Agholor on his visit on the 27th.
Jon Cakus (Fairfield, CA)
I understand Bowman and Breslin may be good players, but why did SC recruit 2 JUCOs? We need Freshmen! I am more worried about the roster in 2015 than I am for the next 3 years. Do you agree?
Garry Paskwietz (5:21 PM)
I disagree. The need for a veteran defensive end was there with the departure of Nick Perry. The Trojans have two veteran starters in Wes Horton and Devon Kennard but behind them are Kevin Greene, who has yet to show he can contribute, and freshman Greg Townsend who redshirted last year. As far as Gerald Bowman, he is too talented to pass up. The coaches think enough of him that they were recruiting him as a potential replacement if McDonald had gone to the NFL.
Fred (Long Beach)
Do you think D.J. Foster has the speed to play running back? He does not seem to quick as other players.
Garry Paskwietz (5:23 PM)
Speed isn't his strong suit. What I think allows him to play the spot though is his agility. He can make guys miss and he can do it both as a runner and as a pass catcher. He's also a physical player. You're right in that he will never be a speed merchant but he is the kind of guy who can help an offense in a lot of ways.
Should fans worry that Zach Banner moved up his visit to USC this weekend since it leaves the last weekend open? After what happened last year on the last weekend with DeAnthony Thomas ,and Washington hiring Tosh Lupoi this may be a bad thing.
Garry Paskwietz (5:24 PM)
I don't think so. I think USC has a real shot to close Zach this weekend. He's been looking forward to this visit for a long time and has clearly been intrigued by the thought of playing for the Trojans. If USC can do a good recruiting job this weekend, I think Banner ends up a Trojan.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Does McCarthy pull a Gunner Kiel and end up with the Trojans? Or has that ship finally sailed for Kiffin & Co?
Garry Paskwietz (5:26 PM)
I wouldn't rule it out. We've been told all along that Ellis has a legit interest in playing for the Trojans. His dad was clear about his preference for UCLA and right now that's where Ellis is headed. My guess is that he sticks with the Bruins but there are still two weeks left to go and I don't think you can rule anything out on this one.
Matthew (Berkeley, CA)
Any truth to the rumors that Armond Armstead is enrolled in classes and Arik will be signing with USC after all?
Garry Paskwietz (5:28 PM)
The news about Armond taking spring classes at USC came out about an hour ago and he clearly said that he would be looking to transfer to another school in the fall. The fact that he is taking grad classes at SC does give at least some credence to the notion that he will stay and that Arik could follow. I don't think we can rule that out yet with this pretty sudden change in his plans. We should definitely find out more in the coming days.
Jon Cakus (Fairfield, CA)
Did Wheeler, Wilson, Starr, Bowman and Breslin count toward the 2011 scholarship count?
Garry Paskwietz (5:29 PM)
As far as we know, four of those players would qualify as EE's. The fifth one, plus Josh Shaw, would count against 2012.
Jon Cakus (Fairfield, CA)
Why sign Wheeler? A 3-star OT, when OL is so deep and we are pursuing other higher ranked players? Seems like a waste of a scholarship spot!
Garry Paskwietz (5:31 PM)
He was an early enrollee and he has a lot of potential at a key position of need. I think this was as good of a use of an early enrollee spot as the coaches could've done. I would disagree about saying the OL is "so deep", it's not quite there yet.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Which was a bigger surprise to you? Lupoi going to Washington, or McCarthy committing to the Bruins afterward?
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
Lupoi. I'm still surprised by that one. I thought he was the one guy Cal could not afford to lose. What a huge boost for Sark too.
Matt (Los Angeles)
Garry, with McCarthy (seemingly) off the board who now becomes SC's #1 target for signing day?
Garry Paskwietz (5:34 PM)
I will say Zach Banner right now. He's a big-time target and the Trojans need to bring in another elite tackle. Banner is perceived to be a strong lean to the Trojans and they don't want to take him for granted.
Tony (venice ca)
GP last 3 players who selected our crosstime rival Randall carrol,morrel pressly,dietrict Riley have been a bust I think Ellis is next i wasn't impressed with him for his size he should've dominated high school level.
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
There are definitely some football people out there who agree that he should have done more at his high school level of competition.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
How devastating is the defection of Lupoi to Cal recruiting, as well as the future of Cal and Tedford in the Pac-12?
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
Huge, in my opinion. This was the guy who was delivering year after year in recruiting and giving Cal a shot at the elite players. Not only does it weaken Cal but it strengthens a rival conference school who is competing for a lot of the same players. I really think this is a strong blow that will hurt Tedford and the progress that Cal thought they were making with the new facilities.
Mike (Los Angeles)
USC hosting players on the 27? if so which ones . Fight On!
Garry Paskwietz (5:38 PM)
Right now it's Nelson Agholor and Justin Shanks but there's a chance that Cleveland Wallace will be added to that list.
Why do you think SC is having such a hard time time getting a DT even with their lack of depth?
Garry Paskwietz (5:40 PM)
I think that's a great question. The key variable this year was McCarthy, he was a big time guy right in USC's backyard and as of now he is headed across town. That doesn't usually happen to Coach O. There is still time for him to pull a rabbit out of his hat though, if he pulls in someone like Leonard Williams you won't hear anybody complaining about that one!
GP where are we with Seumalo?
Garry Paskwietz (5:41 PM)
USC made a good impression on Isaac during the official visit, particularly emphasizing the academic benefits of the school. His dad made clear to Isaac that it's his decision but he also added that Isaac made a commitment to OSU so if he is going to go back on his word it had better be for a good reason. I can see Isaac struggling with that one. He's a good kid and if he wasn't already a verbal commit to the Beavers I think he would be a Trojan. It still might happen but it's too close to call right now.
Hugh (Newport Beach,CA)
Listened to the latest WeAreSC podcast about recruiting. Please do more podcasts!DL is a critical position in this class no doubt. What if USC cannot grab one of Shittu, Shanks or Williams? Are Heyward and Woods ready for regular duty at DT? Pressure will be bumped a notch or ten with NC aspirations.
Garry Paskwietz (5:43 PM)
Heyward is the one who will be counted on more next year. Woods is not there yet, this year was a struggle for him with the transition to the college level and he will need to start stepping it up this off-season. I agree that there is a huge opportunity for an incoming defensive tackle to make an immediate impact and you have to think that one of the remaining targets will see that.
is lane shifting recruting focus to fill the depth issues at tailback and WR?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
With an offensive minded coach like Lane, I don't think he is going to get short-changed in recruiting numbers when it comes to skill players. I think they take two receivers this year (which is plenty) and it would be ideal to get a tailback such as Foster.
Chris D (Chandler, AZ)
Any update on Shaw's appeal? Also, any word whether USC views him as a safety or corner?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
I haven't heard anything on the appeal. Shaw is coming in as a safety.
Any news on Tracy Howard?
Garry Paskwietz (5:45 PM)
He enjoyed the trip to SC but said the distance was too far.
Garry, I hear the Trojans are looking to add another CB to this class. Just how good is Cleveland Wallace?
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
Wallace is solid. The Trojans have made a run at other corners such as Tracy Howard, Tee Shepard and Davonte Neal but those don't appear to be options right now. The coaches really want to add a 2nd corner so Wallace is next up on the list. He's a real wiry athlete with good body control. He's also a legit 5-11 with long arms so that's a good trait for a corner. It sounds like he is open now that the Oregon State DB coach went to Washington so he could be there for the taking with USC.
Jorge (Sahuarita, AZ)
Garry~With McNeil, Morgan, and Allen on the roster, and Farmer back to WR, who of the uncommitted recruits could come in and play RB? If we can't sign a RB, will it be basically the McNeil and Morgan show, with Allen as the big back role?
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
Yes, you have a good handle on the depth chart right now as it's a little slim. McNeal is established but Morgan had some fumbling issues and Buck Allen is unproven. That doesn't leave a lot of room for error in the backfield. I think that's what makes D.J. Foster so important in this class.
Sweat (Marin County, CA)
GP! Long time, no chat! My question is about the numbers. it doesn't take a mathematician to see that the number of current scholarship players and the number of recruits offered don't add up to 75. Any ideas of how this will work out? I know that the recent transfers help a bit but how do you see it shaking down. Will scholarship players that came in with scholarships be asked to give them up? Not players that were given them after two seasons, like Andrew and Burnett, but other guys. If you can't speak on that, I understand. It's just very dicey the way things look from a fan's prospective... Thanks
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
I don't think we know exactly how any future reductions would take place but we know the coaches have a plan. We've seen part of that plan so far with the transfers of guys like T.J. Bryant and Brice Butler. There will be more at some point between now and next fall but we don't know what they will be yet or which players will be involved.
It's obviously different this year with the sanctions, but who will SC regret not giving an offer? I think of the Casey Matthews' of the world - maybe not guys who would play a ton for the Trojans, but perhaps will give us nightmares playing against.
Garry Paskwietz (5:53 PM)
Great question. The names I would put on that list are Jaydon Mickens, Ryan McDaniel, Derrick Woods and Kelvin York. I realize the Trojans may not face Woods as much as Oklahoma but he is still a good player.
Andrew (San Diego/CA)
Does Josh Shaw make it tough for Anthony Brown to crack the field this year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
No, they will play different positions. Shaw will be a safety while Brown is a corner.
Alvin (Los Angeles)
With all the preseason hype surronding the program, is anybody else besides me concerned about the depth issue and certain injury concerns that are a natural part of the sport? With our limited recruiting resources we can't have any misses. Gary, in your opinion, who are the most promising recruits that we will see actually be able to contribute right away? We are and going to be "thin" all across the board.
Garry Paskwietz (5:55 PM)
There's no doubt that this will be key. USC was very fortunate in 2011 to not have many crippling injuries and that helped lead to good things on the field. In terms of immediate impact newcomers, I would put Gerald Bowman on that list, as well as the receivers, be it Darreus Rogers or someone like Nelson Agholor.
Do you think schools have a preference with the timing of an official visit? Would a school prefer to be the recruits last visit or first? Do you think it matters?
Garry Paskwietz (5:56 PM)
The USC coaches prefer to be the last visit.
Brian (Durham, NC)
Any update on David Stills? Is he progressing nicely?
Garry Paskwietz (5:57 PM)
Sills is progressing very well. He's about 6-2 or 6-3 these days and giving every indication that he's going to be a real good quarterback by the time he is ready for college.
what's with the flux of transfers in the past weeks? is this a normal amount of losses for an offseason or is there some instability in the program?
Garry Paskwietz (6:00 PM)
These transfers are primarily related to the upcoming roster restrictions. USC will need to reduce the roster by next fall to 75 so there is a need to trim a certain number of spots. So far, I would say the SC coaches are handling this situation the right way in terms of how they are dealing with the players and you can expect further roster movements before next fall.
Garry Paskwietz (6:00 PM)
thanks everyone for coming, that's all the time we have for today. Sorry if I didn't get to your question, we will do it again next week.