USC Coach Steve Sarkisian looks at the scoreboard after Stanford scored a touchdown on Sept. 19, 2015.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
USC football Coach Steve Sarkisian addressing the media on Aug. 25, 2015, about his behavior and language during a booster event on campus days earlier.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
USC football head Coach Steve Sarkisian looks on during action against Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
USC Coach Steve Sarkisian leads practice at Howard Jones Field.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
USC football Coach Steve Sarkisian takes to the practice field after addressing the media about his behavior and language during a booster event days earlier.(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
USC football Coach Steve Sarkisian addresses the media on Aug. 25, 2015, about his behavior and language during a booster event on campus days earlier(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
USC Coach Steve Sarkisian watches his Trojans squad warm-up before the game against Idaho on Sept. 12, 2015.(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
USC Athletic Director Pat Haden’s announcement Sunday that Coach Steve Sarkisian would take an indefinite leave of absence has already affected USC’s recruiting efforts.
Daelin Hayes, a linebacker from Belleville, Mich., announced Sunday on Twitter that he would withdraw his commitment from USC. Hayes, who made an oral commitment in July 2014, signed a financial-aid agreement, which is nonbinding for the recruit, last month.
Greg Biggins, a national recruiting analyst for Scout, said Sunday that the situation surrounding Sarkisian mostly would affect recruits outside of California.
“Guys who may not have grown up die-hard Trojan fans may not wait around to see how things play out,” Biggins said. “They’ll just move on to a new school and not risk going somewhere that doesn’t look as stable as a school closer to home.”
USC has 15 commitments in its 2016 class, five are from out of state: Receivers Velus Jones from Saraland, Ala., and Josh Imatorbhebhe from Suwanee, Ga., tight end Cary Angeline from Exton, Penn., defensive lineman Keyshon Camp from Lakeland, Fla., and linebacker Jordan Iosefa from Honolulu.
Biggins said local players likely would keep their commitments.
Ten players from Southland high schools have committed: Quarterback Matt Fink from Glendora, receivers Trevon Sidney and Tyler Vaughns from La Puente Bishop Amat and Michael Pittman from Westlake Village Oaks Christian, offensive linemen Frank Martin from Santa Ana Mater Dei and Nathan Smith from Mesa, defensive back C.J. Pollard from Gardena Serra, defensive linemen Keanu Saleapaga from La Mirada and Liam Jimmons from Huntington Beach, and linebacker Mique Juarez from North Torrance.
“I don’t see it affecting local recruiting at all,” Biggins said. “Guys like Pollard, Sidney and Vaughns will go to USC just because it’s USC.”
Pittman, Smith and Pollard have signed financial-aid agreements.
Sidney said Sunday that he remained committed to the Trojans.
“It’s too early to tell anyway, but as of now, it doesn’t really affect my decision,” Sidney said. “I just love ‘SC and I don’t see me leaving.”
Questions or comments about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages in a weekly USC Now mailbag.