School may be out for USC’s football recruiting class


The buzz surrounding what might be Pete Carroll’s departure to the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks has already affected USC’s recruiting effort.

“This whole scenario couldn’t have happened at a worse time for USC,” Allen Wallace, national recruiting editor for, said Saturday.

Kyle Prater, a receiver from Illinois who committed to the Trojans and was set to begin classes Monday, said Saturday that he was reevaluating his situation.


Prater made his comments during the nationally televised U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.

Dillon Baxter, a multipurpose standout from San Diego Mission Bay who also had committed to the Trojans, told that he was now “wide open” and would “talk to any college.”

Ronald Powell, a defensive end from Moreno Valley Rancho Verde, said last week that Carroll’s departure would make Florida his leading college choice. On Saturday, he committed to the Gators.

It wasn’t all bad news for USC. Gardena Serra receiver Robert Woods reportedly told game officials he remained committed to the Trojans. And Demetrius Wright, a cornerback from Corona, announced he would sign with USC.

But players such as offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson of Minnesota and others who were committed to or considering USC are getting inquiries from other schools.

“Their phones are already blowing up with calls,” said Greg Biggins, West Coast recruiting analyst for


Lakewood High Coach Thadd MacNeal said quarterback Jesse Scroggins and defensive back Dion Bailey, who had both committed to USC, now are taking a wait-and-see approach.

“If [Carroll] leaves, things could change for our guys a little bit,” MacNeal said.

Scroggins would be third on the Trojans’ quarterback depth chart, behind Matt Barkley and Mitch Mustain.

“We talked about that,” MacNeal said. “He’s going to be in a good position” regardless of whether Carroll is there.

But the uncertainty about Carroll’s status could affect what was expected to be an upcoming official-visit weekend.

Texas running back Lache Seastrunk was among the players scheduled to be on campus as part of a group that included several other out-of-state prospects as well as local players such as Crenshaw linebacker Hayes Pullard.

If Carroll leaves, the recruiting experts said USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett must act swiftly to stave off the loss of players who otherwise might have chosen the Trojans.

“If USC doesn’t act quickly, then you’ve got to figure the other sharks in the water will eventually establish relationships so that USC would be on the outside looking in,” Biggins said.

Regardless, USC’s future recruiting effort could suffer without Carroll as the closer.

“They’re not going to have that national recruiting reach like Pete did,” Biggins said. “Whoever they bring in could be a good football coach, but finding another guy like Pete is another issue.”