USC Now mailbag: All about recruiting

USC Now mailbag: All about recruiting
USC receiver Deontay Burnett, who was a blue-shirt recruit, catches a ball while covered by California defensive back Damariay Drew during a game in Berkeley on Oct. 31, 2015. (Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

USC won what many fans would consider an off-season national championship last year when former coach Steve Sarkisian signed a top-rated recruiting class.

Nine days remain until players can sign a letter of intent in the 2016 class and there are still seven unclaimed scholarships.


Buckle up. This could get interesting.

Since blue shirts are already in class, why do they not show up on 2016 commit lists? Offensive lineman Clayton Johnston, for example, is now taking classes, will be available for spring practice, but will not receive a scholarship until the day after the first practice or something like that. So does he count toward the 2015 class?

— Ronald Southe

Ronald, great question, shared by several other readers, especially as signing day on Feb. 3 comes closer.

Offensive lineman Clayton Johnston, receiver Deontay Burnett, punter Chris Tilbey and tight ends Taylor McNamara and Daniel Imatorbhebhe were on last season's roster as blue-shirt recruits and already have received their scholarships.

A blue-shirt recruit is a first-year non-recruited player who is awarded a scholarship during training camp. The scholarship counts toward the next recruiting class.

In this instance, all five of those players count toward the allotted 25 scholarships for the 2016 class, which leaves 20 scholarships available for this year's recruits.

Can any current commit for the 2016 class blue shirt?

— TooTurntUp, @TurntUpTrojan

USC has 13 players committed in the 2016 class and seven available scholarships, therefore it likely won't be necessary for USC to add a player as a blue-shirt recruit.

In the unlikely case that USC adds more than seven commits between now and signing day, none of the 13 committed players would be eligible to blue shirt.

Seven recruits have already enrolled in spring courses and the rest have either hosted coaches for an in-home visit or have made an official visit to campus.

Any news about recruits and any official news on the defensive line coach? It's been so quiet.


— Betsy, @girlygirl92833

It was a wild weekend of recruiting.

Defensive lineman Keyshon Camp from Lake Gibson Senior High in Lakeland, Fla. announced his decommitment from the program. Camp committed last June and made an official visit in November.

Receiver Velus Jones, who committed in April, decommitted, announced he would attend Oklahoma, then changed his mind, and said he would commit to USC, again.

Can't keep up? Neither could I.

USC also hosted a few out-of-state recruits, who should be considered long shots to commit, on official visits.

As far as defensive line coach, there has been no official announcement from USC, though Kenechi Udeze has been making in-home visits with recruits and a couple of those players have said he has been introduced as the new coach.

This recruiting class is not looking too hot. Do they have any surprises coming on signing day?

— SoCalSports, @SoCalSports1984

For the last two years, signing day for USC was as exciting as it gets, so this year could dull in comparison.

Or, perhaps, we will all be shocked. But I doubt it.

In 2014, Damien Mama, Adoree' Jackson and JuJu Smith-Schuster made signing day commitments to USC on national television, and in 2015, Iman Marshall, Rasheem Green and John Houston followed suit.

Long Beach Poly defensive back Jack Jones is among USC's top targets this year and is considered a Trojans' lean.

USC also will be in the mix for defensive linemen Rashan Gary, the top-rated recruit in the class, and Connor Murphy.

Tight end Devin Asiasi and defensive lineman Boss Tagaloa are scheduled to make official visits next weekend and could add to the signing day drama.

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