With the NCAA handing down sanctions to USC on Thursday, scholarships were a big point of contention, with the NCAA taking 30 scholarships away for the next three years.
For a few commits, this only solidified their standing with the Trojans. For some targets already boasting USC offers, it somewhat fazed them. For those players still eager for a USC offer, they realized their chances got tougher.
Bakersfield (Calif.) Centennial quarterback Cody Kessler, USC's most recent commitment, Thursday's ruling handed couldn't stop his feeling for the Trojans.
"It doesn't affect me at all," said Kessler. "I'm a Trojan for sure."
That was the constant theme from the handful of Trojan commits Scout.com spoke with on Thursday.
"It doesn't affect me," said Antwaun Woods, the Trojans first verbal in the 2011 class. "I just want to say that nothing's going to stop us. We're still going to get a national championship."
Tre Madden, who committed last month, echoed that.
"My decision isn't going to be affected by the sanctions," said Madden.
Three of the Trojans top targets are among the Golden State's best athletes,
Greg Townsend from Beverly Hills (Calif.), George Atkinson from Livermore (Calif.) Granada and Devon Blackmon from Fontana (Calif.) Summit.
None were greatly concerned about the sanctions.
"I'm not affected at all," said Townsend. "More important to me than
winning a bowl game is to find a coach who can help me reach new levels of my
game. Also, I feel that if a college were to try and say "if you go to
USC, you won't get to see the bowl experience", like I'm hearing now, it's a
weak statement because that would only affect me one year and I have the next
two or three years to experience that. So this does not affect USC in my
Atkinson wasn't bothered much.
"It's not going to affect me too much as of right now," said Atkinson.
Blackmon was more positive.
"I think it's good, because that gives a lot of athletes an opportunity to have a spot and not worry about anybody else taking it. So if any recruit is smart, he would go there," said Blackmon.
A couple of hopefuls for USC offers had mixed feelings.
Gardena (Calif.) Serra outside linebacker Woodson Greer, who plays at a school that the Trojans have recruited well at, his hopes for a USC scholarship have taken a hit.
"For me it is affecting my recruitment because it is a less chance for me to get a scholarship," said Greer. "I'm not going to be there the first year and if I received a scholarship and did go there, I would probably redshirt my first year. I would feel it, but not really. But overall, it just made it a slimmer chance to get a USC scholarship."
Meanwhile, San Diego (Calif.) Point Loma defensive tackle Christian Heyward said it does make a difference for him.
"It makes a huge difference in my recruitment," said Heyward. "They were up there, but now they're towards the bottom."
The Trojans have seven known commitments in the class of 2011 to go with Kessler and Woods, in Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei teammates Max Wittek and Victor Blackwell, Los Angeles (Calif.) Crenshaw athlete DeAnthony Thomas, Mission Viejo (Calif.) linebacker Tre Madden and Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman.
Scout.com will have more from the Trojans' 2011 targets.