USC Now mailbag: Trojans recruiting and Ed Orgeron

USC Now mailbag: Trojans recruiting and Ed Orgeron
Ed Orgeron directs his players during a game against Utah on Oct. 26, 2013. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Time again for the USC Now mailbag.

Have a question or comment? Email me at or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages in a future mailbag.

USC has 24 scholarships this year, and with the signing of Isaac Whitney, they have six spots left. There are quite a few possibilities left on the table for them. I assume that the coaches will try and use that limited availability to get key players to commit, but is it first-come-first-served for the remaining scholarships? Or can the team recall offers if they feel they need to hold some spots open?

-- Torin, Portland, Ore.

Great question, Torin.

USC has 24 scholarships in the 2015 recruiting class, because a scholarship was given to kicker Matt Boermeester, who is a blue-shirt recruit already on the roster.

USC has guaranteed scholarships to five players who signed financial-aid agreements: Ventura St. Bonaventure High quarterback Ricky Town, Granite Bay linebacker Cameron Smith, Riverside City College receiver Isaac Whitney, Los Angeles Windward offensive lineman Roy Hemsley and Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern offensive lineman Chuma Edoga.

The remaining 18 scholarships are not officially accounted for until a player signs a national letter of intent on Feb. 4.

Sometimes, if coaches like a few players equally, it is first-come, first-served.

At this point in the recruiting cycle, I think USC coaches could take a couple more commitments, but then will hold a few scholarships to see if they can catch a couple of big fish on signing day.

If a scholarship is not available for a player they want, they will drop a player who has verbally committed.

I think this could happen in USC's 2015 recruiting class before signing day.

The most important thing to remember in recruiting is that nothing is guaranteed until papers are signed. Verbal commitments mean that the recruit can change his mind and so can the coaches.

You made a comment in [last] week's mailbag regarding the number of scholarship players [Pete] Carroll played in his final year at USC: 49. That may be true, but he went 9-4 that season. Perhaps we beat Nebraska and match that record with about the same number of scholarship players this year. The real question: How many scholarship players did Carroll play in the years he went unbeaten, 12-1, etc.?

--Nick McClay

Nick, it sounds like you just gave me an off-season project.

The point in last week's mailbag was that Pete Carroll did not play many more players during a season when USC was not under sanctions.

If USC defeats Nebraska and finishes 9-4, does that mean sanctions are not to blame for the record?

I think that would be the case because it will be the same record USC finished with in Carroll's final season, when there were no sanctions.

Isn't anyone tired of blaming numbers? Position for position, USC is better than the majority of its opponents.

I am not a USC fan and why should I care about them? What I do care about is integrity and doing the right thing, and USC did not do the right thing by not hiring Coach O.

Coach Sark still would have been available next year. Coach O would not have called his Daddy to help him out with the refs.

-- Bob Brown

Bob, you do realize you are reading a blog about USC and that you care enough to email, right? I'm not saying that's a bad thing -- in fact it's great -- but it might mean you care.

I included your email because the week did not feel right if we did not mention Ed Orgeron.

Your message seems to suggest that USC should have given Orgeron a year tryout, because Steve Sarkisian would likely still be available the following season.

I doubt Orgeron would have agreed to that. That's basically your boss saying, "We'll give you a year tryout because we really aren't sure about you."

Sounds like a recipe for disaster.

You are correct about Orgeron and Pat Haden. I doubt that he would call him to the sideline.