Updated: Jan 22, 2022
That header used to get people really pumped up. In the past, around this time, we just finished a season and this would be the next exciting new thing for the upcoming season and potentially the next 2-4 years depending on who signs and thus commits. But today, we have so many new toys to play with as HS Seniors and star players who just want something better it's cloudy on the horizon for February's upcoming signing day. That excitement that would build up post-Natty is gone. Now it's a Hollywood experience 24 hours a day via Twitter and Instagram. Where has it all gone? Is this progress? Some would say absolutely and the players have been the last to have their say in the sport. Is that good? Others would say the grand old game is no longer that. It's a business and don't forget it.
The blending of the Transfer Portal (TP) and Signing Day have created a very different challenge for the coaches trying hard to attract, sign and land those precious diamonds that are still unsigned. For the players, they are seeing all this NIL chatter and players getting healthy incentives to play for one school or another. So is it about playing for the school anymore? Has that left the building as well? Is that bad? We really don't know how this will play out but on February 2nd the traditional signing day is coming.
Lincoln Riley and staff have been relentless in pursuing both the Signing Day events as well as the TP. The TP will be the KEY to the program having a shot at being competitive in 2022. The late start to getting the staff built clearly impacted the early signing day event but take nothing away from Riley and staff they have not slept since their commitments were signed and sealed. The Trojans are on a rebuild from the locker room to the very culture this storied program represents. Lincoln Riley gets this. He lives it in every breath he takes and when he talks about USC Football you can hear it in his voice and see it in his eyes.
Riley and the staff have a very challenging first move. Build a wall around the city of Angels and expand it to the west coast in 2023. The first move has to be in Southern California geographically. Stop the leaks of key talented athletes flying out of state to make their way to the next level. Think about all that LA has to offer. Pete understood this. Pete sold this in everything he preached for those amazing years. Wasn't pretty in year one but look how he turned it on fast. The road map to success is still there. The strategy is sound. It's all about execution and what I like about Riley's capability is that he understood the value of LA a long time ago. He wasn't alone but he was involved. He can now drive to those living rooms. He can shake the hands of the high school player and his family. Right there right now. This is huge. We have been watching him systematically do this since landing from Norman on his first day.
Why Did You Come To USC?
The great run of Pete Carroll was completely unexpected. A person no one was really focused on given his average run in the NFL. He came looking for USC. Got in Mike Garrett's office and never left. But don't forget he too inherited a hornets' nest but he saw what we are hearing from Lincoln Riley sees. He knows the power of Southern California recruiting and not letting one player leave the state let alone the city of Los Angeles. Coach Riley will hit bumps and they will hurt. But the law of attraction is clearly under way and spring camp is right around the corner. Buckle up.