When cornerback Jalen Ramsey committed to USC on Monday, the Trojans football program claimed the top spot on Rivals.com’s 2013 recruiting rankings. (Scout.com still has the Trojans at #2, behind Michigan.)
Ramsey, a four-star cornerback from Tennessee, is the 15th player to commit to USC, choosing the Trojans over in-state Vanderbilt.
He said he was attracted to both schools by the dynamic head coaches (Lane Kiffin at USC and James Franklin at Vandy), the strong academics, and the alumni networks and opportunities after graduation.
Ramsey credited the USC coaches – Kiffin, secondary coach Marvin Saunders, and receivers coach Tee Martin, who’d recruited Ramsey for Kentucky before joining the USC staff – with making him feel wanted throughout the recruiting process.
Kiffin is still regarded as a crook in much of Ramsey’s native Tennessee after after leaving the Vols for USC after just one season, but his reputation as a top-notch recruiter continues to get stronger. Ramsey is the fourth four-star recruit to commit to the Trojans in the last week.
Kiffin isn’t the only one responsible for signing such a strong class. The recruits themselves have networked at camps and events and over social media, building bonds as valuable as those between player and coach. Linebacker Michael Hutchings, who committed to USC at the end of June, told reporters he and other commits were going to work on some of their uncommitted peers.
Ramsey told reporters Monday that he’s excited to work with the other members of USC’s 2013 class, who did a recruiting of their own during events like the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge and Nike’s “The Opening.”
According to Dallas Jackson from Rivals.com, Ramsey said the rest of the class – certainly stronger than Vanderbilt’s – was a factor in his decision:
“When I was at the Rivals event and saw all the USC guys working as hard as they did and recruiting me to come with them was when I started to feel like USC was going to be the place,” he said. “You don’t just get invited to those type of events so I knew those guys were good and when I saw how much they wanted to compete I felt like that was a group I wanted to be a part of. By the time I got to The Opening it was a done deal for me and seeing those guys again working hard and joking around, it was solid.”
With Ramsey’s commitment, the Trojans have 15 verbal commits, all from four- or five-star prospects. USC is expected to sign 18 players in 2013, the maximum they can sign under NCAA sanctions.