Friday, December 01, 2006

L.A. Recruiting Wars

There's more in the balance when USC plays UCLA tomorrow than bragging rights (and a spot in the BCS Championship game for USC). The victor also wins an advantage in the recruiting competition that's in full swing across the region.

Everyone knows a big factor in the dramatic turnaround of the USC football program from 2000-2002 was Pete Carroll's masterful recruiting. His philosophy is to lock up all the best players in southern California and then augment that talent with a handful of the best players from across the country. I always wondered how Carroll was able to immediately dominate recruiting in southern California, almost as if UCLA didn't exist. According to an article by David Wharton in today's L.A. Times, Carroll didn't have to go against UCLA head-to-head in many cases.

The Bruins held the upper hand in the late 1990s as former coach Bob Toledo led them on a 20-game winning streak. But soon after, UCLA appeared to shift its focus to the national scene. "You talked to the City Section coaches and they said they never saw UCLA on campus," said Greg Biggins of

Carroll filled the gap.

All in all, it's an interesting piece about the origins of Carroll's recruiting success, and how Karl Dorrell has tried to emulate Carroll's approach, with some success. Of course, USC has a seemingly insurmountable advantage at this point and figures to maintain that advantage as long as the USC coaches maintain their recruiting intensity.

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