If national signing day is considered Christmas for recruiting fans then the day before would naturally be considered Christmas Eve. And for many families, the children traditionally get to open one present on Christmas Eve before having to wait for the big haul on Christmas day.
To apply that analogy to the USC Trojans, Tuesday was the day that Steve Sarkisian and staff got to unwrap one toy and it came in the form of a verbal commitment from a 6-foot-4, 238-pound linebacker Porter Gustin.
It was quite the present consider how high Gustin was on Sarkisian’s wish list. You simply don’t find too many players with his combination of physical gifts; in addition to starring at quarterback, linebacker and defensive end for his football team, he also is a baseball pitcher who threw 93 MPH in a recent showcase and is considering a minor-league career in the offseason. At the summer event The Opening, Gustin ran a 4.63-second 40-yard dash, a 4.13-second shuttle and had a 34-inch vertical.
After enjoying the Gustin announcement, Sarkisian and all USC fans will settle in and wait for the action on Wednesday, including a trio of ESPNU announcements from highly ranked players who are all projected to pledge their commitments to the Trojans. Rasheem Green and John Houston are scheduled to announce sometime around 11:15 a.m PT, while Iman Marshall will be on at 1 p.m. PT. All three players are ranked in the top 10 nationally at their respective positions; Marshall (CB) and Houston (ILB) are ranked No. 1, and Green (DT) is No. 8.
The Trojans also will await word on Wednesday from another defensive tackle, Kevin Scott, who has seen his recruiting stock soar in recent weeks with offers from USC, UCLA, Miami, Texas and Ole Miss.
If the Trojans finish as expected, it will be quite the statement to the rest of the college football recruiting world in terms of the power of USC recruiting at full strength. This is the first class in four years for the Trojans to feature a full complement of 25 players after being limited to 15 in each of the last three seasons due to NCAA sanctions.
Sarkisian gave a preview of his recruiting prowess last season with a sweep of the “Big 3” on signing day when he landed televised commitments from Adoree' Jackson, JuJu Smith and Damien Mama. A similar result on Wednesday would launch the Trojans near the top of the recruiting class rankings, USC currently sits at No. 6 according to ESPN, and it would set off quite a celebration inside the John McKay Center on the USC campus, with smiles on the faces of the coaches as they unwrap each of their new presents.