Early Sunday morning, USC athletic director Pat Haden gave the college coaching carousel a massive push with the firing of Trojan head coach Lane Kiffin. That decision is sure to create a spinning force that will leave college athletic directors around the country grasping for balance.
Five-star Adoree' Jackson wants to meet USC's next coach.
It also leaves the recruitment of some of the nation’s top recruits in limbo. Though the writing has been on the wall since the lackluster 7-6 finish to Kiffin’s 2012 campaign, the firing of one of the nation’s most effective head coach recruiters is sure to reverberate across the country.
Currently, USC’s 2013 class is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 62 class in the nation, a dismal mark by USC standards. But with numerous elite recruits still seriously considering the Trojans in both the 2014 and 2015 classes, the impact of the hire – positive or negative – will be significant.
We take a look at some of the immediate reactions from some of USC’s top prospects and commitments.
“I was more shocked than anything. It caught me by surprise because I was still trying to figure out if Marqise (Lee) was ok…I do not think it can affect my recruitment until I get a chance to talk to the new coach and its current staff.”
Four-star prospect and the No. 12 outside linebacker in the country, Calhoun committed to USC back in July but after the slow start by the Trojans has begun to soften on that pledge and has set up official visits to other programs. His father commented on the news.
“DJ is waiting to hear from USC. We are meeting as a family to discuss it further. We both wish Kiffin well.”
Calhoun’s father, D.J. Calhoun Sr. also disputed rumors on twitter that his son had decommitted;
Class-of-2015 4-star Cordell Broadus (son of Snoop Dogg) agrees with the firing.
“So we are all clear…Dj did not de-commit from USC.”
A Florida commit out of Miami (Fla.) Central, Cook is the nation’s No. 3 running back according to 247Sports and a five-star prospect. Despite his Florida commitment, Cook has been continuing to keep USC in consideration.
“I like USC period.”
Broadus is a four-star prospect and currently ranked as the No. 6 wide receiver in the nation by 247Sports in the class of 2015. He’s also the son of well-known USC supporter Snoop Dogg.
“I feel that he should have been fired a while ago and USC is going to raise the bar now because the new coaching staff next year and I’m anxious to see what they are going to look like.”
Similar to five-star Adoree’ Jackson, Smith is one of the most highly recruited uncommitted prospects out west and is a five-star prospect that could play either side of the football. Also similar to Jackson, Smith is a major USC priority and hails from a talent factory at Long Beach Poly.
“I already knew it was coming. So it doesn’t change anything until they do something.”
Dixon is the nation’s No. 1 tight end according to 247Sports and a U.S. Army All-American. He remains uncommitted and USC is among his top considerations.
“I mean it wasn’t a comlete shock to me because that’s been the rumor and hopefully they keep people from the same staff like Coach (Ed) Orgeron and Coach (John) Baxter. I think they’re both some real genuine cool peeps and my interest level is probably gonna remain high, judging if the head coach does a good job. To me USC is USC. They’re a good team and they just need to recognize that fact.”
Bell is currently rated by 247Sports as the nation’s No. 12 wide receiver in the class of 2015. His 247Composite rank which considers the rankings of all major recruiting sites places him in the Top100 nationally among juniors. He holds a USC offer currently. We asked if Kiffin’s firing affects his recruitment at all.
“No. SC is still my dream school.”
One of the nation’s most athletic pass rushers in the class of 2015, Lucier-South has been predicted by two national experts on the 247Sports Crystal Ball to attend UCLA. While one has him predicted to USC. How does the change affect the four-star from southern California?
“That’s really crazy. The coaching change will not affect my recruiting. I will still look at SC.”
USC has had success recruiting the state of Florida of late landing the likes of Nelson Agholor, Leonard Williams, Leon McQuay III and Quinton Powell over the last two years. In the class of 2015, Jefferson is a five-star out of Florida that has emerged as a target. He responded to the news.
“Wow! I’m shocked. Man that’s crazy. I met him once. He seemed like a good coach. I really didn’t associate with him much. Coach [Orgeron] is my recruiter. I’ll have to see how things are when I go back out there.”
Four-star Top100 prospect in the class of 2014 out of southern California's Chaminade Prep, Kaaya is committed to Miami but has emerged as one of the state's best senior signal-callers. If USC were to extend a late quarterback offer in the 2014 class, Kaaya would be a good candidate. He tweeted out his thoughts on the firing.
"The way USC released Kiffin is just wrong. No grown man deserves to be embarrassed in front of the entire country, no matter what he's done."
Kipp Adams, Ryan Bartow, Justin Hopkins and Barton Simmons contributed to this report.
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