Sarkisian hire good for USC recruiting

Steve Sarkisian's proven track record and USC's reputation should make the Trojans an easy sell.  (USATSI)
Steve Sarkisian's proven track record and USC's reputation should make the Trojans an easy sell. (USATSI)

USC’s Monday hire of Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian to lead its football program is a good thing for the Trojans recruiting efforts given his proven track record in that department.

Sarkisian raised the talent level in Seattle significantly during his tenure. The Huskies ranked No. 14 (2010), No. 24 (2011), No. 23 (2012) and No. 18 (2013) nationally during his four full recruiting cycles at the helm. Those classes ranked No. 4, 5, 5 and 3 in the Pac-12, respectively and Washington was competitive for many of the top prospects on the West Coast.

USC, given its national reputation and ability to land prospects from anywhere in the country, should give he and his staff a better sell with prospects from coast-to-coast.

Of course, its the assistant coaches who do the majority of the recruiting in college football, so staff will be important. One of the big keys to the Trojans current recruiting efforts will be the future of former interim head coach Ed Orgeron, who is one of the top recruiters in the country. While Sarkisian did not coach with Orgeron during his time as an assistant at USC (2005-08), he most assuredly is familiar with the veteran assistant’s work on the recruiting trail and coaching defensive line.

The interesting thing here is this- current Washington assistant Tosh Lupoi also coaches defensive line and also is one of the top recruiters in the country, so the question will be if Sarkisian can fit both on staff, assuming Lupoi wants to make the move to Los Angeles and Sarkisian wants to bring him along.

Current USC assistant Tee Martin is one of the top recruiters in the country as well and could be one to watch in terms of retaining. Martin, the former Tennessee quarterback, has a national reputation for recruiting and is highly-respected by prospects, families and high school coaches.

Already, recruits have reacted favorably to the hire. Five-star running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) tweeted that the Trojans were “back in the mix” for his services. Washington was in the mix to land the dynamic player. Five-star athlete Adoree Jackson also had favorable things to say about the hire on Twitter. ??

USC currently has the No. 51 class in the 247Sports team recruiting rankings for the 2014 cycle. The Trojans, however, have only 10 commits. Washington is No. 75, but the Huskies had only eight pledges so far for the current cycle. That number dropped to seven after the news of the Sarkisian hire broke as wide receiver Rahshead Johnson (Long Beach, Calif./Cabrillo) backed out of a longstanding pledge to the Huskies. Washington State is one of the programs in the mix for the four-star prospect.

As for Washington, speculation as to who will fill the job likely will center on current UCLA head coach Jim Mora, who is a former Huskies player, a graduate assistant under Don James in 1984 and went on the record when he was head coach of the Atlanta Falcons about his desire to one day have the Washington job. Mora also spent three years in Seattle with the Seahawks, the final year as the head coach of the NFL franchise. More and staff have recruited quite well to UCLA during his tenure, including the No. 7 class nationally in the 2013 cycle.

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