The USC Trojans had a tumultuous 2012 season where they fell from preseason No. 1 in August to 7-6 and unranked in December, following an embarrassing loss to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the Hyundai Sun Bowl. Their struggles have made many of their elite recruiting class of all four-star recruits take a second look at their recruiting, some even deciding to de-commit from USC and head elsewhere. Today, the Trojans get a much needed recruiting win as defensive end Jason Hatcher recommitted to USC.
Getting Hatcher back into the fold answers a major question on the field for USC. The Trojans were criminally thin along the defensive line last season and with a rash of decommitments in this recruiting class didn’t appear to be addressing the need anytime soon. The recommitment of Hatcher shores up one of the hybrid defensive end-linebacker positions that USC has pined for so badly, along with Torrodney Prevot. Hatcher’s athleticism and playmaking will be an immediate boost for USC’s defense.
More importantly though, he’s a warm body. After the rash of decommitments along the defensive line, including Hatcher, Eddie Vanderdoes and Kyle Fitts, USC looked like it would have to survive another year with a patchwork defensive line with razor-thin depth. Vanderdoes and Fitts still have USC among their finalists come signing day, but their commitments on February 6 are in no way guaranteed. If Hatcher follows through on his commitment, it will soften the blow immensely if the other defensive line recruits go elsewhere.
For the program, Hatcher returning to the class will generate some much-needed positive momentum heading into signing day. For weeks, all the news about USC was negative with recruit after recruit rethinking their commitment to the Trojans. Bringing one of those second-guessers back into their camp will be huge for the Trojans to show they are ready to finish strong in the countdown to signing day, just as they have the last few years.
They had to redouble their efforts to lure him away from local programs like the Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats, but USC was able to remind Hatcher why he chose to commit to the Trojans in the first place. With him back in, Lane Kiffin and company are on their way to another stellar recruiting season.