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Excitement builds as signing day nears

LOS ANGELES -- Like the quiet and stone-faced facade of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, there is the false appearance of calm and quiet on the outside of the John McKay Center -- the opulent edifice that houses the storied USC football program.

Inside, of course, there is cardinal and gold tenseness, yet anticipatory excitement as it pertains to Wednesday’s national signing day, when Trojans coaches will see the result of their efforts to gain the signatures of valued recruits.

There is nothing quite like national signing day. For the USC football program and its fans, Wednesday is "S-Day." Trojans 2015 recruiting dreams are either confirmed with the exhale of exhilaration or the exhale of disappointment, and sometimes even confusion.

Most national recruiting experts and services, ESPN included, are predicting the USC class of 2015 will validate that not only are the Trojans free once again to recruit without restriction on scholarship numbers and with no strings attached, but on their way back to restored prominence.

Moments after the Trojans' big victory against Nebraska in the National University Holiday Bowl in San Diego, USC head coach Steve Sarkisian reaffirmed in a cramped media room beneath Qualcomm Stadium that the future of his program is "ridiculously bright."

From all indications, Sark will back up those words in about 48 hours. However, recruiting is never done deal until the ink is dry.

After finally freeing itself from NCAA restrictions, USC had a full allotment of scholarships to give, and already six of those have been activated, with the spring arrival of freshmen offensive linemen Chuma Edoga and Roy Hemsley, quarterback Ricky Town, linebacker Cameron Smith, and junior college receivers De'Quan Hampton and Isaac Whitney.

Now comes the nervous part. As one adage goes, national signing day could make coffee nervous. The Trojans' coaching staff is still awaiting confirmation from some nationally recognized talents who could, depending on your ranking service, propel the Trojans to the No. 1 overall recruiting class in the country.

The behind-the-scenes information pipeline tends to put Trojans coaches at ease or into a frantic Plan B. If a recruit tells them he has informed the other suitors that he will be attending USC, it eases the pressure considerably.

However, there are recruits who will wait until the end of the day for whatever reason, which puts everybody on hold.

The Trojans know all about the waiting game and the potential scenarios of a hard-to-read prospect. It has been well-chronicled how former Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin was shocked out of his white visor when former Los Angeles Crenshaw superstar De'Anthony Thomas spurned the Trojans for the Oregon Ducks.

To this day Kiffin says publicly that he has no idea what went wrong in the Trojans' pursuit of Thomas. Sometimes a recruiting switcheroo is never explained.

Then there is the opposite result as illustrated by the Trojans' class of 2014, when the big prize -- WR/CB Adoree' Jackson -- kept everybody guessing before faxing his letter of intent to the Trojans. That led to high-fives at USC, and Jackson lived up to his billing by being named 2014 Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.

So you never really know until the exhilarating or bitter end in recruiting, but come Wednesday, Trojans fans, you will know as much as the USC coaches.

Fasten your recruiting seatbelts.