Southern California reigns in national recruiting battles after sanctions end

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PHOENIX — UCLA had gotten the better of Southern California in recruiting battles the past few years, in part because of the sanctions saddling the Trojans.

Now that the sanctions are gone, the Trojans not only reign in Southern California, they have the best recruiting class in the country.

Coach Steve Sarkisian made the most of his first full recruiting class at USC, signing a 24-player class that was ranked No. 1 in the country by both Rivals and Scout.com.

"I know I made the statement at the end of last season that I really believe our future is ridiculously bright, and I'm not backing off that," Sarkisian said on Wednesday, national signing day. "We signed a great class. A lot of these guys are going to contribute immediately for us and have an immediate impact on our success."

The Trojans had been the recruiting kings under Pete Carroll and were still strong under Lane Kiffin, finishing tops in the nation from 2004-06 and again in 2010.

The Trojans had fallen on tough recruiting times — at least by their standards — in the wake of the Reggie Bush scandal that led to a decrease in scholarships and a two-year postseason ban.

USC still managed to pull in some top recruits — Sarkisian's first was ranked among the top 10 — but the overall depth of the classes was lacking.

That changed with this year's tops-in-the-nation class.

Headed by Iman Marshall, the nation's top-rated cornerback out of La Jolla, California, USC reeled in a slew of five- and four-star prospects to knock perennial recruiting power Alabama off the top spot.

That helped the Trojans move ahead of UCLA in the battle for Los Angeles, but the Bruins didn't fare too bad themselves.

UCLA was rated No. 4 by Scout and 13th by Rivals.

A few more things to know about the Pac-12 on signing day:


Impact player (with a video): USC's recruiting class got a big boost with the addition of Marshall, rated the No. 3 overall prospect by Rivals and No. 7 overall by Scout. He's also got a creative side, too, announcing his decision through a music video (http://goo.gl/d0ZY25 ) that shows him playing in a game, hanging out with friends and, at the end, sliding a Trojans hat onto his head.

Strong showing: The Pac-12 had a strong showing on signing day, with five teams in the top 25 by both Scout and Rivals. In addition to USC and UCLA were: Arizona State (19 Scout, 21 Rivals), Oregon (20, 17) and Stanford (25, 19).

Snoop's Allegiance: Snoop Dogg is about to throw out his USC underwear. A long-time Trojans supporter, the rapper is switching allegiances now that his son, Cordell Broadus, has signed with rival UCLA. Snoop Dogg appeared with his son during Broadus' announcement wearing a UCLA jersey and said he will be getting rid of his USC gear. Broadus, a receiver who played at Bishop Gorman High School, will give the Bruins arguably the strongest musical bloodlines in the country. He will join Justin Combs, a cornerback for UCLA and the son of hip-hop artist Sean Combs.

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