With limited scholarships at his disposal to use, USC Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin and staff had to evaluate and plan in a tight space to form a suitable 2012 recruiting class. On Wednesday, National Signing Day, the Trojans did just that, for the most part, with 12 signees, leaving three scholarships to use in 2013.
No doubt the the jewels of the class include Rivals five-star prospects wide receiver Nelson Agholor, offensive tackle Zach Banner, and offensive guard. All three look to contribute early in an already potent offense devised by Kiffin.
Here is a position-by-position analysis of the additions to the USC offense:
The USC staff didn't embark on trail to reach out to a quarterback until they showed considerable interest in quarterback Cyler Miles of Mullen high school, Denver. Colo. Miles did officially visit the Trojans in January and took a hard look at USC late in the process, but Miles' long commitment to the Huskies proved to be too much for a switch on signing day.
With the departures of Marc Tyler to the NFL and Amir Carlisle, who transferred to Notre Dame, USC had to look for a running back late in the recruiting process. Unfortunately, they did not sign a true tailback prospect in this class. Jahleel Pinner is the top fullback prospect, according to Rivals, but doesn't have the speed to be a solid tailback. Agholor primary played as a running back in his senior year of high school, but is currently at 180 pounds. The Trojans will enter the 2012 season with a thin depth chart at running back.
In addition to the aforementioned Agholor, USC signed Darreus Rogers. Agholor, ranked as the No.18 overall prospect on Rivals.com, is a Tampa, Fla. prospect that is very elusive when open, has top-end speed, long arms, and a great vertical. He'll be looked to enter the fray of highly touted USC receivers that include Robert Woods and Marqise Lee. That's not to say Rogers is a slouch. Rogers is 6'2", 200 pounds and possesses amazing big hands. Speed is questionable, but with with a great vertical and weight to add in his nice wide frame of his, he can be a solid possession receiver.
Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick slides into this slot as the only tight end prospect in this class. The Under Armour All-American gave the Oregon Ducks a hard look before ending the process after his official visit in late January to solidify his status as a USC signee. JCF, as he is commonly called on the internet, will try to battle an already stacked position at tight end, but with great hands and ball control, anything is possible to move up in the depth chart.
USC shined in this class with headliners Banner (6'9", 310 pounds), Simmons (6'5", 330 pounds), Max Tuerk (6'6", 294 pounds) signing with the Trojans. All three were Army All-Americans selections, and add to a line that lost two seniors and Matt Kalil to the NFL draft. With the three big offensive lineman signed and sealed, Kiffin would have liked to have another offensive tackle on hand to add needed depth. Unfortunately, USC couldn't close on the signings of highly ranked prospects Andrus Peat of Arizona, nor San Clemente, Calif. tackle extraordinaire Kyle Murphy.
It was believed that USC had a more than decent chance to land one of Peat or Murphy, with the other signing with Stanford. However, the Cardinal won the battle for both, helping Stanford to what many call the top recruiting class in the Pac-12 Conference. Kiffin was visibly disappointed during his signing day press conference, but still admired his signed prospects in the end.
This offensive recruiting class adds depth to an already talented line, but whiffed on the running back position. Look for USC to sign at least two running backs next year as thy will only have two tailbacks on the roster after 2012. The Trojans have gotten to a head start by offering a scholarship to Derrick Green of Virginia on Tuesday.
For more on Darreus Rogers and USC Football recruiting, visit Conquest Chronicles and SB Nation Los Angeles. For more on National Signing Day 2012, head over to SB Nation's College Football Recruiting hub.