We delve into those questions in this week's mailbag.
Top 10 Trojans?
How many of the current top 10 recruits are seriously looking at USC?
-- Louis from Las Vegas
Typically it's most of them, at least since Pete Carroll has run the show. This year should be should be no different. In our current Rivals top 10 (it will change next week), the Trojans are in on offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (No. 1 overall), running back Lache Seastrunk (No. 2), defensive end Ronald Powell (No. 3), wide receiver Kyle Prater (No. 4), and defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat (No. 5).
I know I always sing the praises of the Trojans' recruiting efforts, but anyone would have to admit that what they have done in recruiting is amazing.
Can they land the nation's top recruit? Henderson, from St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall, already has set up official visits to USC (Nov. 27), Ohio State (Sept. 11) and Notre Dame (Oct. 16). Other possible visits are Florida, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
I have heard he's intrigued about the possibility of playing for the Trojans, and I think they have a real shot. At the same time, I continue to believe that Minnesota is in this big time.
Seastrunk is keeping things close to the vest. While the rumors continue to circulate that Auburn or LSU could be his destination, you can't rule out USC yet. The Trojans always are mentioned with Seastrunk, so let's see where he sets his official visits.
As for Powell, a defensive end from Moreno Valley, Calif., it's USC or Florida. Powell has set up an official visit to Florida (Sept. 18), but I would give the Trojans the edge here simply because of distance.
The one top-five prospect you can say with some certainty is headed to USC is wide receiver Kyle Prater from Hillside, Ill. Look for him to commit to the Trojans next week, giving Carroll two of the nation's top receivers in Prater and Robert Woods. If Prater does commit, can USC keep him? I would keep a close eye on Ron Zook and Illinois until the very end.
No one really knows what Jeffcoat is thinking, but he camped at USC this summer and the Trojans are in the thick of it. Jeffcoat, from Plano, Texas, lists a bunch of schools, but speculation is that USC and Texas could be his front-runners.
Closing in on Clements
A recent article suggests that West Virginia, Georgia, and Michigan have jumped ahead of Florida State in recruiting four-star running back Eduardo Clements, from Miami Booker T. Washington. This certainly is news to Mountaineers fans who, by and large, assumed running back recruiting was finished. Do you think WVU has a legitimate shot at Clements?
-- Derek from Pittsburgh
I spoke with Clements on Tuesday night and he didn't even mention West Virginia. Clements named Miami, Michigan and Georgia as his three leaders, with Florida State, Tennessee and USF chasing. He also said his first official visit would go to the Vols.
Based on my conversation with him, I have the feeling that Miami is the team to beat. Certainly, what happens on the field this season could impact his recruiting.
Buckeyes in the mix
Do you think Ohio State can win the recruiting battles for cornerbacks Joshua Shaw and LaMarcus Joyner?
-- Beanie from Cleveland
I certainly can see Ohio State landing at least one of these two big-time cornerbacks.
Shaw, from Palmdale, Calif., has been one of the hottest defensive prospects in the nation since about mid-spring. He's No. 3 nationally at cornerback and could continue to climb up the charts. Shaw will take an official visit to Ohio State for the USC game, and it looks as if the Buckeyes are the team to beat.
Meanwhile, it appears Joyner also will visit Ohio State that weekend. While I think the Buckeyes have a shot, I still would give the edge to Florida State.
On a side note, Joyner and his Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas teammates will play Columbus (Ohio) Upper Arlington on Saturday at the Big Horseshoe, so Joyner will have two trips to Columbus in the next few weeks. That certainly could help the Buckeyes.
-- Bobby from Raleigh, N.C.
Fulton's recruitment has been interesting to follow.
Fulton, from Manning (S.C.) High, is a four-star cornerback prospect and special teams standout. For a while, it appeared Fulton was headed to Alabama. But things have changed.
Fulton says South Carolina is the front runner, with teams such as Alabama, Georgia and Florida in hot pursuit. The Bulldogs already have a commitment from his Manning teammate, defensive lineman Dexter Morant. In the end, this may be a Georgia/South Carolina battle.
It looks as if Fulton's plan is to take a bunch of visits this fall and look at all four schools closely. But I would suspect, with a good season, the Gamecocks could be tough to beat.