Football: Players, coaches react to Steve Sarkisian's hiring at USC

An early sign that something big was happening within the USC football program came Monday morning when interim football Coach Ed Orgeron informed Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons in an 8:17 a.m. email that he would have to cancel his scheduled speaking engagement at the Southern Section championship luncheon because of "mitigating circumstances."

Later, Simmons announced to the audience of players and coaches that Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian had been hired as USC's new coach. Players were already getting text messages en masse.


Heavily recruited defensive back Adoree' Jackson of Gardena Serra said he was waiting to hear from USC.

"That's pretty crazy," Jackson said of Sarkisian's hiring. "I thought he'd stay at Washington. I like Sarkisian. He's like Orgeron, very hyped up. I think he will be good for USC."

Mater Dei Coach Bruce Rollinson, who has sent quarterbacks Matt Leinart and Matt Barkley to USC, said, "I know Sark real well. For me, it's another familiar face. I have tremendous respect for him as a football coach. I think it's a great hire for USC."

Shay Fields, a standout receiver at St. John Bosco who's committed to USC, said, "Hopefully he brings the spread offense to USC. It's the receiver's dream."

Chaminade Coach Ed Croson said, "I'm glad they hired Sark. He's a good guy. He's a smart football guy. I have a ton of respect for him as a coach."

Mater Dei defensive back Jonathan Lockett, a Washington commit, was seen texting after word broke on Sarkisian's hiring. He said he intends to concentrate on Saturday's Pac-5 final game against St. John Bosco.

Sarkisian, who played high school football in the South Bay, has had great success recruiting in Southern California, but his departure will leave Los Angeles-area recruits to Washington up in the air.

"The carousel has started," Rollinson said. "It happens every December. I feel bad for Washington players, but it's big-time college athletics. This will be one of many happy and sad locker rooms."