Manti Te’o would have been an additional charm to the 2009 class of Trojans, but the absence, though somewhat unsettling, isn’t crippling to the structure. USC’s loss became Notre Dame’s gain, and everyone was aware of the possibility. But realistically, as much as Te’o is an outstanding 2009 prospect, he’s a more logical projection for 2011. During the recruiting process, Te’o made it clear that his plan is to embark on a 2 year Mormon mission, when he reaches the age of 19. Unless Charlie Weis suits and places him on the field this fall, the name may not be mentioned again for another two years. In fact, though Weis scored big in pulling one of the top linebackers in the country from Hawaii to South Bend, there’s a chance the hot seat coach may not be around when the time comes to coach him.
The Signing Day crew on ESPN was surprised by Vontez Burfict's decision to de-commit from USC and jump on board with Arizona State. I guess they didn’t have their ears near the grapevine, because it’s been swirling for days that he apparently didn’t have the grades for Southern Cal and would become a Sun Devil. He became the second big hit to Trojan expectations, but all is well.
Randall Carroll selected his hat, and chose to go across town to UCLA. Again, it’s not a problem. Carroll has aspirations of playing wide receiver, and the Trojans contemplated using his services as a corner. The last time a top receiver faced the possibility of conversion, he also chose to attend a rival school. That player was DeSean Jackson, who snubbed the Trojans on Signing Day and chose Cal. In all his greatness, Jackson completed his amateur career without a victory or touchdown against USC.
Signing Day may not leave a satisfying taste in your mouth, but that’s because the majority of the class was already set. The top player in the country, Matt Barkley, was enrolled before signing day ever came along. There were strong verbals from others, which made it less dramatic. Pete Carroll and his staff managed to cash in on some of the top talent in California, while also pulling Starling and Telfort from Florida, and Jarvis Jones from Georgia. Would Te’o and Burfict have been nice additions? Sure, but nevertheless, the Trojans are reloaded and ready to roll.