If It's Friday, It's Time For A USC Notes Column
You want a scary stat to start off the day?
Six of the top eight-ranked players USC signed in the Class of 2016 are no longer part of the football team.
The departed players are defensive end Oluwole Betiku, cornerback Jack Jones, offensive tackle E.J. Price, safety Jamel Cook, wide receiver Trevon Sidney and wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe.
The only remaining players from the top eight are wide receivers Michael Pittman and Tyler Vaughns. Now you can argue some of the players were overrated or created their own downfalls but it's also the coaches' jobs to develop them.
Price is starting at left tackle for a Kentucky team that won 10 games and finished the season ranked No. 12 in the nation. Cook, who is a safety that USC tried to make a cornerback, redshirted at South Carolina. Who knows what Betiku, Sidney and Imatorbhebhe can do because they were never really given a chance.
Jones was a disappointment, no question. I would argue some of his problems stemmed from the program's lack of discipline. Remember how he got unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in two straight games for trash talking and nothing really happened?
If you want to say his on-field antics were no big deal, USC lost the Cal game in 2018 because Iman Marshall was trash talking the Cal sideline in the final minutes.
I wonder if Lynn Swann even cares or wonders if a program can withstand losses like this? Helton better make sure verbally committed receivers Kyle Ford and Puka Nucua sign next week or Graham Harrell might start getting frustrated.
Among the recruits visiting USC this weekend are safety Jayden Williams of Corona Centennial and safety Dorian Hewett of Houston, Texas.
They are among a large pool of safeties, including many committed to other schools, that USC is scrambling to sign next week.
One recruiting analyst told me if Clay Helton had hired Arizona secondary coach Demetrice Martin, who previously coached at USC in the Pete Carroll era, the Trojans would have landed five-star cornerback Chris Steele (Florida), safety Cameron Williams (Washington) and cornerback Chris Roland (Arizona).
I mentioned last week that back in the 1960's, there was a coaches' locker room in the basement of the P.E. Building that housed the coaches for football, basketball, baseball and track.
One day, basketball assistant coach Jim Hefner decided to do an impersonation of John McKay for the other coaches. During the impersonation, McKay snuck into the room and hid behind the door. He eventually emerged and shocked Hefner, who screamed when he saw the sometimes-feared coach.
Imagine, going to Julie's restaurant on week nights and seeing McKay at his famed booth with USC president Norman Topping.
"No one would just go and join them," a USC coach said. "You would get summoned. Then you would leave and another coach would get summoned."