|USC Legends News|
Carroll unveiled a small but highly decorated class of 18 incoming freshmen Wednesday, with much of the attention going to three running backs many people consider the best in the nation.
The last-minute commitment of Louisiana high school star Joe McKnight was the punctuation mark to a group that already included Marc Tyler from Yorba Linda, Calif., and Arkansas running back Broderick Green.
"Undoubtedly, this is one of the all-time recruiting hauls at the running back position," recruiting expert Allen Wallace said. "To have two consecutive No.1 running-back classes when all these guys are worried about competition is amazing."
Then again, the Trojans will have to figure out what to do with so much talent in one area. USC had the nation's top haul of running backs last year, when C.J. Gable, Emmanuel Moody, Allen Bradford and Stafon Johnson arrived.
"They'll have to keep everyone happy and there's only one football to go around," said Greg Biggins of Student Sports.
Carroll said competition will sort things out. He said each of the freshmen will be given an opportunity to play immediately. Green is a bruising runner in the mold of LenDale White. McKnight also has good hands and might be used as Reggie Bush once was. Tyler is an all-around threat.
Incumbent Trojans will have to establish themselves next month in spring football, before the freshmen arrive, Carroll said.
"There's no telling who's going to surface out of this group, and we're really excited about it," Carroll said.
McKnight told the Trojans two weeks ago he would come west, but he decided it was best to keep the decision a secret. He didn't want to antagonize too many of his neighbors - many of them LSU fans. Many people were surprised when he spurned LSU, Mississippi and Alabama to join the Trojans.
"It was a close decision, very close, but I sat down with my mom and laid out the pros and cons of all the schools, and we both agreed that this was the best decision for me," McKnight said at a news conference. "It feels very good right now."
McKnight helps make USC's class a strong one, but few consider it the best in the nation, particularly after offensive lineman James Wilson broke a verbal commitment and signed with Florida. By most experts' estimates, the Gators had the best class in the nation. LSU, Tennessee and Texas were in the running with USC for No.2.
Carroll acknowledged that Florida coach Urban Meyer made things difficult for him at times on the recruiting trail. The Gators defeated Ohio State to win the national title last month.
"We were butting heads with them a lot, yeah," Carroll said. "They were obviously on the scene, and they're doing a fantastic job of recruiting."
The Trojans had consensus No.1 classes in 2004 and 2006. One of the things holding them back this year was a low number of scholarships to offer, 19. One was taken by receiver Damian Williams, who transferred from Arkansas. Tennessee had 32 scholarships to dangle. Florida had 26 and Texas had 25.
The Trojans dominated Orange County. In addition to signing Tyler, who played at Oaks Christian in Westlake Village, they signed Orange Lutheran quarterback Aaron Corp and offensive lineman Michael Reardon, plus Servite linebacker Chris Galippo.
Nebraska kicker Jordan Congdon has decided to transfer to USC, where he will attempt to walk on in 2008. Congdon has two years of eligibility left but will have to sit out the 2007 season, as will Williams. The Trojans had a vacancy at kicker created by the death of junior Mario Danelo, who plunged off a cliff in San Pedro last month.
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