Kiffin Opening Statement:
Well, I think this is an exciting day for the Trojan family. This was a lot of work going into this class, a lot of support from our administration, from Pat Haden, J.K. McKay and Donna Heinel. Lot of people involved in this.
At the UCLA game afterwards, I said this was going to be a very critical off season for us, and one that we're going to spend every day working on this class so hopefully we didn't have a season like we did before.
I think today we've made a step towards that. With our staff working extremely hard, we've been able to add 30 players to our roster. A roster that, prior to this class, had 50 scholarship players, has now gone to 80, with the possibility of more soon to come.
Kiffin on the biggest surprise commit of the class:
Yeah, I think Lamar Dawson. Local kids, California kids. You'd usually like to think that you're going to get them or at least be in the top two. Lamar had a number of great schools to go to.
He was in the middle of Kentucky, obviously, not right down the road, in SEC territory. A very good student, team leader, potential great player, obviously a very big position of linebacker. So to be able to go in there and get Lamar to come probably was the biggest surprise.
We knew the night before as I've said before. If you're watching the show and they're pulling hats and you don't know, they're not pulling yours. Even though it wasn't a surprise that minute, the night before was pretty exciting.
Kiffin on the importance of Aundrey Walker’s commitment:
Yeah, Aundrey is probably right behind Lamar as far as a surprise. Here's a player at Cleveland Glenville High School. When you study it, and they're out from the state of Ohio, they usually go to Ohio State. So for us to be able to go get those done was critical for us. Both of them are a position of need. Aundrey's 375 pounds, 6'5", so gives us some size there and we'll see. We'll plug they will in and see what he can do.
Those were probably the most exciting to me to see. I had talked about during the season that I had not felt the sanctions and Bowl bans as much locally as I had going to get the kids from a long way away, because now it gave them the excuse not to come.
To go get a couple kids that everybody in the country was after, to still come with all that going on was very exciting.
Kiffin on recruiting with NCAA sanctions:
Well, it's not me. I don't care how good a recruiter you are. If you weren't at a place like SC, and I think SC is the only place with all that going on, and all the ammo that everybody had going against you, for these kids to still choose USC because of the education, and because of playing football here, I just think it speaks volumes for USC.
I just don't think you can do it, because I think the expectation probably was I'm sure a lot of people thought when you were facing the Bowl bans and everything around it, and the scholarship reductions that may be coming, that something like this wouldn't happen.
Kiffin on what players could play right away:
Well, it's hard to just point out a couple. I'd like to think that George Farmer would come in and contribute. He has all the intangibles to be a great player, but you never know.
We weren't able to have him in camp. We were able to watch a little film on him, but when you have the kids in camp, you're able to have more film on them. But height, weight, speed and character, he's off the charts. So I would think he would be the front line guy of all those guys.
Kiffin on which recruits are underrated:
Yeah, I think I would probably say that Amir Carlisle for a guy that was rated pretty high but not really high. You go back to look at what he did in high school. Here's a great student, a kid that was committed to Stanford for a while, and then committed to come to us.
Probably him and Anthony Sarao. Talking to guys that were at the All Star game, some coaches that coached in it, they talked about how great he was in practice and competitive and smart he was. Both those guys are high character guys and big additions to us right there towards the end.
Kiffin on how Pat Haden aided with recruiting:
Yeah, he was very involved there for most of all of our weekends. Had some dinner with different sets of parents, communicating with them on unofficial visits as well. It was really good to have him around.
Also, he has a very good perspective for the guys because here's a guy that had a lot of opportunities out of high school. Almost went to Notre Dame, decided to come to SC. Obviously had a great career and has done a lot of things with his degree. So it was very valuable to have him, and he was more than willing to help.
Lane Kiffin had high praise for George Farmer.
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