Probation wasn’t supposed to be this easy. The fallout of the Reggie Bush improper benefits scandal slashed USC’s scholarship’s by 10 for three seasons. The Trojans just finished their two year postseason ban meaning 2012 could end with a crystal football being raised by head coach Lane Kiffin. Bad publicity and 30 overall scholarship reductions are enough to set back major programs for a decade. Well, they are supposed to be. With cornerback Jalen Ramsey’s verbal commitment to Troy today, it is painfully clear to rest of the Pac-12 USC isn’t taking a step back.
Ramsey is given four stars and rated number one in the state of Tennessee by Rivals. Fellow Pac-12 rival Washington was hot after Ramsey’s trail. Hometown school Vanderbilt was an attractive choice, being located in Ramsey’s backyard and playing in the SEC. At the end of the day, tradition, talent, and the Trojan brand of football won over the Nashville resident.
Whether or not this propels USC to the top of the list of various recruiting sites is irrelevant. The point is made. Kiffin has picked up where his predecessor Pete Carroll left off, kicking butt and taking names in the competition for blue chip recruits. Rivals has bumped USC over Michigan for the best 2013 class with Ramsey’s announcement. ESPN still has USC’s 2013 class rated at two, below the Wolverines.
With expectations already sky high for this season, it is scary to predict what Kiffin will do when his classes, unhindered by scholarship reductions, begin to mature. Consider today’s news a shot across the bow of Eugene, Seattle, Pasadena, and Berkeley. NCAA sanctions levied on the Trojans was but a mere bump in the road. Pac-12 schools can see it in their rear view mirror already. There’s a cardinal and gold hot rod ready to pass them by.