WeAreSC Mailbag (7-13 edition)


How many recruits do you think the staff signs for the upcoming class given normal circumstances? Like the normal amount of attrition. Players leaving or transferring. Some on here seem to think 22-23 will be signed, even though there’s 14 seniors.

I see the number ending up somewhere around 20. It could easily slide up to 22-23 but that would be more movement than normal. And if the number does end up at 20 don’t be at all surprised if the coaches look to bring in some blueshirts for next fall to help boost the overall number of new bodies.


Are the summer recruits on HJ? Any sign of Price?

Yes, the new faces are here but so far E.J. isn’t one of them.


Last season we saw a slow, sluggish start to the defense with no stunting and almost no blitzing till Utah I think. Not sure if that was due to being CP’s first year back and implementing his system, or whether CP starts slow until he feels confident in the personnel. Since we’re only replacing Adoree, Hutch and Stevie from the starting D, do you think we start off quicker and with a more complex defense earlier? It helps not to play Bama to start the season, but really hoping we get over our psychological hurdle in Furd and play more dominant.

I think the added knowledge and comfort level between Clancy and his players in year two is going to be one of the biggest reasons why the defense should be really good. We heard several players mention in spring how both sides know each other now and that is allowing the players to play faster, which is always a good thing. As you allude to, having a lot of players back helps too since Clancy has a lot of returning pieces to work with.


Hi Garry,

In his 2nd year as HC what changes do you wish to see in Coach Helton’s approach to Fall Camp. Fight On!

The biggest change I would hope to see is one we already saw in spring ball. Last year was obviously Helton’s first year and there is always some uncertainty with how he will handle things, and the Browne/Darnold situation is a great example of something that Helton would probably handle differently if he had the chance. Fast forward to spring ball, however, and we saw a coach completely in charge of the program, with all the players and coaches rowing in the same direction. I’m assuming we will see that continue into fall camp and, if it does, that would be my wish for Helton.


When should Calloway announce the O-line starters and should he do it well before the end of Fall practice or during prep week for the opener? What’s been the norm?

Last fall they announced starters two weeks out from the opener, which was basically the midway point of camp, and Helton has said he wants to follow a similar schedule this year.


Garry, have you and staff ever thought about doing extensive story about all the USC recruiting drama that you have observed during the various signing days. I would really love to hear some of the behind the scene stories of some of these recruiting battles. I bet you could write a book about all the drama.

In the early years of the site we would do a recruiting update after signing day with some of the stories, but as there got to be more and more recruiting coverage through the years we found that most of the stories come to light at some point during the process. That would definitely be a good off-season topic, to go back and look at some of the best stories through the years.


On the gossip side, about the kids? Yikes, might not go over so well…unless you fictionalized the names. I’d love to hear about the awkward moments when two school staffs are at the same school/game/airport and whether it’s contentious…or professional? What about when a previous coach switches teams…how awkward is that (Pola/Ed O, etc.)?

On of my favorite stories of two staffs crossing paths on the recruiting trail came when USC and UCLA were recruiting the same in-state player, and both staffs wanted to pay him an in-home visit. The Bruin coaches didn’t have much in the recruiting budget but they were able to scrape together enough to get a modest plane to fly the head coach and other assistants, including one former Trojan assistant. After the UCLA coaches got done with the visit they went back to the airport and as they were getting ready to leave a first class private jet comes taxiing in, and out come the SC coaches. The UCLA head coach said “so that’s how they roll?” and the former Trojan assistant said “always”.


Garry, for purely personal and Trojan Family reasons I’d like to know what the chances are that we sign JJIII next February?

I think J3 will be a Trojan when all is said and done. He’s up to 13 offers right now and I expect more to come once he gets on the field this fall as a full-time receiver, but there is just so much SC football history for him that I think the pull will be too much for him to ignore in the end.


Garry, how many former walk ones are currently on scholarship and who are they?

Reuben Peters, Matt Lopes, James Toland (photo above) were given scholarships last year


Garry,with all the talk of Darnold staying or declaring after next season. Does Darnold has to declare to play in the NFL or can he don’t declare for the draft, try to get his degree by summer and then hold a camp and go FA route…..my question does a player has to be drafted to play for any team in the NFL or in case of Darnold skip the Draft and go the walk-on (FA) route or is a NFL rule about it?

There isn’t a way for Sam to skip the draft and enter the league as a free agent. He would make himself available to be picked and someone would select him in the draft process.


We took a slight hit in the current team recruiting rankings when Corall decommitted. 24/7 has us at #10 and I think Rivals has us at #13 .. Where do you think we will wind up after the dust settles?

I see it as a top-5 class. I think the quality of ranking per player will be high but it might hurt the overall ranking with the fact that it won’t be a full 25-man class. Right now there is a lot of recruiting momentum on the Trojans side.

5 Replies to "WeAreSC Mailbag (7-13 edition)"

  • D. Hart July 13, 2017 (6:05 pm)

    Garry, can you give me brief definition/responsibility of the LB positions designated as “Will”, “MIKE”, “SAM”, and “PREDATOR”?

    • Ken July 14, 2017 (1:01 am)

      [W]ill: Weak side linebacker; he lines up on the weak side of the offensive formation, i.e., opposite side of where the tight end or full back lines up.

      [M]ike: Middle linebacker; he lines up in the middle of the defense and is usually the leader. He’ll typically call out the defensive plays for the rest of the defense.

      [S]am: Strong side linebacker; lines up on the strong side of the offensive formation; i.e., which ever side the tight end or fullback lines up.

      All have pretty similar roles, it’s just where they line up that separates them. The Mike linebacker is typically a little bit bigger, as he has to take on the running back up the middle when he has a full head of steam, which requires a lot of size and strength to do well. Sam and Will backers are a little bit smaller, as they have more sideline-to-sideline field to cover, which means they need to be slightly more athletic, especially in pass coverage.

      Predator is a stand-up rush defensive end. So, instead of him with his finger in the ground (three-point stance) like a typical defensive lineman, he’s standing up on his feet. This enables him to rush the passer or drop back into pass coverage, depending on the call made by the defensive coordinator. Porter Gustin is the Predator in Clancy Pendergast’s system. Clay Matthews up in Green Bay is another example of a Predator-type player. He needs to be big enough to get by the offensive tackle when rushing for the pass, and athletic enough to drop into coverage when the time comes.

      • D. Hart July 14, 2017 (5:12 pm)

        Ken, thanks so much; very informative.

        • Ken July 15, 2017 (8:32 pm)

          Of course! Happy to help.

  • Jon donson July 14, 2017 (6:02 am)

    Nice summaries Ken, thanks!

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