Will early enrollees help USC?

Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times takes a closer look at two of USC's early enrollees: Jeremy Galten and David Garness.

Both are JC transfers. Both are offensive linemen, a critical need area for the Trojans. Both were lightly recruited out of high school.

And neither was a touted JC prospect either. Garness was also recruited by New Mexico, UTEP and Washington. Galten by Arizona, which also has critical O-line needs, and San Jose State.

The ultimate question is can one or both actually contribute or are they just warm bodies? We'll probably have a good idea by the end of spring practices after both have traded blows in full contact work a few times. Keep in mind: It won't be about how they look in the first week. It will be about the last week. Do they get better?

But the angle of Klein's story is how unusual it is for USC to offer players like Galten and Garness and how for both "it's a dream come true." A year ago, neither thought he'd play for an elite program, particularly one that regularly ranks at the top of the annual recruiting rankings.

Said coach Lane Kiffin to the Times: "They definitely are in a unique time. You're coming to one of the greatest places in all of college football to play, [a place] that normally isn't necessarily looking in your direction."

Kiffin told the Orange County Register this about the pair:

“I think the two offensive linemen have stepped in and that’s obviously a tough transition to come in right away and that’s why they are here for the spring,” Kiffin said. “That’s why it was such a big deal to find guys that could be mid-year so they could count back but also to have a whole spring.

“They’re in there and doing well. We’re going to need them at some point.”

How important are these guys? Well, with three departed starters and three potential 2011 starters -- guard Khaled Holmes, tackle Kevin Graf and center Abe Markowitz -- presently injured, Galten and Garness are going to get extensive work with the first-team line. After all, they are two of the six available bodies.

Warm or not.