Welcome everybody, let's get started.
How will the recent release of two defensive coaches impact the efforts of Kiffin to hold on to his decommits and possibly add some new players?
It could be a factor. Specifically with Jalen Ramsey at the top of the list, as he has expressed concern about the uncertainty of the defensive staff. Jalen was also known to like the corner coaching style of Marvin Sanders. It does sound like new DC Clancy Pendergast was a hit with Eddie Vanderdoes, which is critical at this point.
Why hasn't USC announced the mid-year enrollees? Aren't these guys in class and locked in to USC now? What's Bigelow's status as an early enrollee?
I don't know why they haven't been announced yet. Yes, the five early enrollees (Browne, Cravens, McQuay, Davis and Hawkins) are in class right now with Bigelow being the only one who hasn't arrived. Khaliel Rodgers said it looks like Bigelow will not be cleared in time for spring and will likely arrive in summer.
Is it really possible we would go with only 3 defensive coaches next season? Even after how poorly the D performed this season?
It's possible but we certainly don't know for sure yet. Several recruits have said they were told Pendergast could coach a position "for now" which means that could certainly change later. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him coaching DBs in spring ball.
What impact will it have now on the current recruiting class with the hiring of a DC? Also would you say CLK is done if the results are same in 2013?
I thought the results were good coming out of the visit weekend when you had guys like Hutchings and Vanderdoes saying good things about Pendergast. The decommit from Hatcher was unexpected though, and obviously the status of Ramsey is huge. I don't think we can really judge the initial impact of the Pendergast hire until signing day, but a lot of football people I've talked to seem to think it will turn out to be a good hire.
Have you heard anything on why Hatcher decommitted last night? Did SC tell him to shut down recruiting after his visit? Any other possible targets?
Hatcher hasn't given any interviews, so it's not clear exactly why he decommitted, although there certainly is plenty of speculation. Obviously the Trojans would love to add the Robinson twins from San Diego. Tyrell also plays the DE/OLB spot, which Hatcher would have played in the 3-4. Hatcher is a big loss for the Trojans.
Who is the more important recruit in your opinion --Vanderdoes or Ramsey?
Wow, tough choice. i really don't know how you separate the two because they are both so important at positions of need. If I had to pick, I would probably go with Vanderdoes just because interior defensive linemen like him are usually so rare to find on the west coast.
Is the release of Marvin Sanders official?
No, USC has not announced anything yet.
Who is the under the radar surprise signing in your mind, like Dawson a couple years ago?
I'm going to go with Quinton Powell. He canceled his remaining trips yesterday and said he will choose between USC and Florida.
There is so much talk of commits and decommits and I've lost sight of available scholarships. How many are left to fill after the solid commits? And who will realistically fill those spots?
The common thought is that USC has 17 available scholarships, and right now there are 13 spots that have been filled. Obviously Vanderdoes is a huge priority, Fitts is there as well, and another linebacker is needed, which could be Powell.
Which position coaches would you like to see CLK make a run at? Rumor has it that Pendergast's LB coach at CAL might be a target.
If the DB spot comes open I would like to see Kiffin make a run at either Tim McDonald or bring back Sammy Knight. McDonald had a good year at Fresno State in his first year on staff, while I thought Knight did a great job with the DBs in 2011. There is speculation that the OL spot could come open, and that Tim Davis would be an option. I think that would go a long way toward returning to a more physical style of play on the line if that were to happen.
Who do you think will be the starting QB going into the season? Also why do you think Coach Kiffin didn't give Kessler a shot in the Sun Bowl?
I still think it will be Wittek, but I'm not putting that in stone at all. Anything can happen in spring ball, the summer workouts and fall camp. Not only do I think Kessler could make a serious run, but I'm not completely ruling out Max Browne. That would be a longshot for Browne, but the fact that Wittek didn't seize the moment in the Sun Bowl left the door open for competition. Kiffin listed some reasons why Kessler didn't get in, including the weather, but I think a lot of people agreed that would have been a good time to get him some game experience.
With news breaking today about NCAA regarding Miami investigation, any word from Heritage Hall
No, there hasn't been any word from Heritage, but this has to be viewed as a potentially positive development for USC. Haden has made a couple of mentions in recent interviews about the fact that he is paying attention to the McNair case and the recent judge's comments about the NCAA investigators being "over the top" in the USC/Reggie Bush case. We just don't know how this news of today will impact any moves that Haden and USC may make, but it seems realistic to think the potential is there.
I noticed that the Robinson brothers have cancelled their trip to Ohio State. Considering that happened after their USC visit, that has to be positive, right?
Hard to say with the twins. So far they have been pretty clear in saying that they will be sticking with the Ducks and that it would take a lot to get them away. They have yet to give an indication that USC moved the needle that much with the visit, but if you are looking for any kind of sign, the fact that they cancelled the next visit could be taken that way. It is also good for USC that they have a need at the spot where each of the twins wants to play, Tyree is at wide receiver, where USC once had three commits but now only has one. Tyrell is at OLB in a 3-4, which is a spot where Jason Hatcher just decommitted for the Trojans. There's no doubt USC is going to continue to go after them hard.
What is the latest news on Devon Kennard? Has he fully recovered from the torn pectoral surgery? How do you see him fitting in with a possible 3-4 to be run by new DC Pendergast?
Kennard was recently cleared for full work and he seemed very excited about that development. I think Kennard will be a real good fit at OLB in the 3-4, which is also his likely spot in the NFL.
Why did USC not go harder after Goodman and Willis? If we lose out on Ramsey we could have a big hole in the secondary that Willis could have filled.
They offered both players last spring and showed genuine interest, so it's hard to say they didn't go hard after them. There was one point last summer where Goodman came really, really close to committing to SC. With Willis, it's not even clear if he will play corner in college, a lot of people think he will end up at safety. Priest had a lot of interest in SC but then the DB spots got filled by other players, and he wasn't ready to commit at the time. He took USC off his list after that and has focused on other schools.
Will this year be the year George Farmer sees extended playing time?
That will be one of the big things I'll be watching for in spring ball. The talent is there, it's just a matter of putting it together and staying healthy.
Could you rank what's contributed to call these decommits: A. poor record; B. coaching changes; C. negative recruiting vibe from other schools and outsiders; D. prospects committing too soon; or E. other
Thank you for including D. I think that's been a much bigger factor than people think this year. USC had so much momentum early on and it got into somewhat of a frenzy when there were only a few spots left because recruits didn't want to be on the outside looking in. I think a few of them, players who had planned on taking their time, ended up committing and then later had second thoughts -- guys like Redfield, Vanderdoes and Hatcher.
Do you think it is disgraceful that SC offered Vanderdoes sister, a 8th grader, a basketball scholarship?
I don't know, I haven't seen her play. One assistant coach at their high school seems to think she has an athletic future just as bright, if not brighter, than her brother. We shall see.
Does SC have any shot of flipping Stringfellow or is he solid at UW?
I think he's solid with UW. SC took their shot last weekend, but any chance of flipping him probably went away when he was sick and had to leave the visit early. It would surprise me if anything changes at this point.
With Bigelow looking like he won't be enrolled for the Spring is it too late to do a mea culpa with Kylie Fitts and get him in for the Spring?
In theory that would seem to be an option, but we just don't know how the coaches have worked the scholarship math right now. There hasn't been any indication in recent days that the coaches have reached out to Fitts with that possibility.
Hi Garry, I read that Nico Fallah is still torn between SC and UW! So, if he commits to UW, who do you see taking his spot? Is Desmond Harrison (UTexas recent commit) still in play?
Yes, Falah is torn at this point with Washington being an option. I don't think Harrison would be a possibility. It sounds like he is set with Texas. You have to wonder if the SC coaches would make a run at Trojan legacy Sean Harlow. He is an Oregon State verbal, but you don't know how he would react to a late offer.
Garry any opinion who are going to be our postion coaches ... OL, LB
Any names right now would just be speculation, as Kiffin keeps his coaching searches very close to the vest. We mentioned some possible names earlier in the chat, from Tim Davis to Tim McDonald or Sammy Knight, but those are simply speculative names that would be considered strong hires.
Any word on Torrodney Prevot? Who would you predict filling out the last few scholarships on the table?
Prevot is scheduled to visit Notre Dame this weekend, and Texas A&M is making a late run as well. He is still calling himself a USC commit at this point. I think Vanderdoes is the biggest target out there to fill a remaining spot, along with Fitts and a linebacker such as Powell.
Thanks everyone for coming, see you next week.