The Peter Principle Has Its Limits...
...those limits include allowing 62 points to Arizona State, apparently. (Photo: USA Today)
USC fired Lane Kiffin upon his return to Los Angeles after the Trojans fell 62-41 at Arizona State, their seventh loss in the last 11 games. The method? Coooooold bloooooded.
The InsideUSC feed is a font of Kiffin schadenfreude; the players are just as happy as the admistrators to get rid of him, it appears. When you're done enjoying that, it's time to address the truly important question: how does Kiffin's firing affect Michigan's recruiting?
In all likelihood, not a great deal. Kiffin's firing at this juncture not only boosts USC's morale for the rest of the season—more importantly, it gives them a jump start on reeling in a big-name replacement, and the Trojans program carries enough cachet that the list of potential successors is quite distinguished. USC may experience a dip in recruiting efforts while they wait to find the right replacement; if they hire a coach worthy of the program—and I'm assuming they will—then they should be back to full speed for the 2015 class. Those in need of an example of how this works at powerhouse programs need only look at Michigan's recruiting efforts once Brady Hoke got to recruit for a full cycle.
There is, however, an opening in the 2014 class, as USC is one of the schools competing with Michigan for CA ATH John "JuJu" Smith—the childhood USC fan had already read the tea leaves, per 247:
Similar to five-star Adoree’ Jackson, Smith is one of the most highly recruited uncommitted prospects out west and is a five-star prospect that could play either side of the football. Also similar to Jackson, Smith is a major USC priority and hails from a talent factory at Long Beach Poly.
“I already knew it was coming. So it doesn’t change anything until they do something.”
Smith seems to have cooled on USC since Kiffin's job security came under serious question; while the right hire could get the Trojans right back in the mix, there's a real chance that he heads out of state, with official visits already lined up to Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Oregon. UCLA is also in the mix. Pulling blue-chip recruits out of California is never easy, but Michigan's done so before, and Smith is actually in contact with one such player who hails from the same high school, per The Wolverine's Andy Reid ($):
"Michigan hasn't offered a kid from Poly since Donovan Warren. I'm the one that's next. I've talked a bit to him, good kid. Just saying the name 'Donovan Warren' is like saying Michigan right off the bat at Poly."
That's a good sign, as is Michigan getting Smith's final official visit. With such fierce competition for his signature—look out for Oregon, as Smith cancelled an Ole Miss official to get them on his schedule—and five visits to go, his recruitment could go in just about any direction; that includes USC if they make the right hire at the right time.
[Hit THE JUMP for Wilton Speight's thoughts on Da'Shawn Hand, a wrapup of Michigan commit performances from last weekend, and more.]
Da'Shawn Hand Recruitment Status: Irie
Sam Webb's latest at the News, featuring Wilton Speight discussing the recruitments of George Campbell and Da'Shawn Hand, is a must-read; the Campbell content should reassure those worried about a potential decommit*, while Speight's statement on Hand—well, judge for yourself:
“I think this is kind of a situation similar to George Campbell,” Speight stated. “(Hand) kind of went a little bit into what jersey number he could wear and stuff like that [at the Notre Dame game]. I think when you start dipping that much into the whole situation and start to go into detail like that -- certainly he told me some things and we talked late (that) night about some very positive things in my future and in his. So I think I got a lot of very positive vibes, but at the same time I want to keep (the specifics of) what we talked about between us.”
That sounds quite promising, to say the least. Hand continues to reveal little about his recruitment, as evidenced in the latest edition of the First and 17 video series at the Washington Post; unless Florida blows him away, though, it's tough to see a school catching Michigan before his November 14th decision date.
[If you watch through the entire First and 17 video, you'll see at the end that one of Hand's teammates was tragically murdered last Saturday after an alleged confrontation over a drug deal gone wrong. My thoughts are with the family of Kenny Diaz and the entire Woodbridge community as they deal with this senseless loss of a young life.]
Commit Stat Roundup: 2015 Commits Star
The much-anticipated battle between Paramus Catholic and Cleveland St. Ignatius ended up in a blowout; after missing most of the first half with a hip injury after diving onto concrete while attempting to reel in a pass, Jabrill Peppers accounted for 46 yards on the first drive of the third quarter, including a 25-yard touchdown reception, and the Paladins cruised to a 44-10 victory over one of Ohio's elite programs.
The biggest commit standouts of the weekend, however, came from the 2015 class. RB Damien Harris carried the ball just nine times in Madison Southern's 48-7 win over South Laurel; he tallied 122 yards and four touchdowns despite the dearth of touches, including a 30-yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage. Harris has led the Eagles to a 5-0 start this season; they share the same record as East Lake, which got 121 receiving yards and a touchdown out of WR George Campbell in a 49-6 blowout of Tarpon Springs. Campbell also tallied two tackles, a sack, and a QB hurry, per MaxPreps.
Michigan's junior defensive back commits, Shaun Crawford and Tyree Kinnel, also made a big impact, albeit on different sides of the ball. Crawford had 91 yards on seven rushes—including a 66-yard touchdown—and another 56 yards on three catches as St. Edward defeated Erie McDowell 56-7. Kinnel returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown to swing the momentum in favor of Huber Heights Wayne just before halftime of an eventual 54-27 win over Butler—his score came during a run of 40 consecutive points for the Warriors.
Other standouts from the weekend:
247's Clint Brewster was on hand to see ECA defeat Maplewood 60-20 in Nashville ($). Freddy Canteen caught five passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns, while Brandon Watson didn't allow a catch all night and had a pick six called back on what Brewster called a "very questionable" pass interference penalty.
Wilton Speight completed 18 of 29 passes for 247 yards, three TDs, and an interception to lead The Collegiate School to a 31-12 victory over Episcopal.
WR Moe Ways caught three passes for 56 yards and scored on a leaping 25-yard catch to help Country Day to a 34-7 win over the Escanaba Eskymos (no, not a typo; yes, they're Yoopers).
LB Michael Ferns made his mark on offense, scoring on a 27-yard catch and a three-yard run in St. Clairsville's in a 21-0 shutout of Indian Creek, which deserves to be shut out every game for continuing to use the slur "Redskins" as their team name.
DE Lawrence Marshall's first-half sack forced a fumble that a Southfield teammate picked up and took to the house, tying their game with Farmington Hills Harrison at 13; a dramatic finish gave the Blue Jays a 20-19 win over their divisional foe.
LB Noah Furbush notched ten tackles (one TFL) in Kenton's 46-0 blowout of Shawnee.
DT Bryan Mone had two tackles for loss in a 16-8 victory for Highland over Clearfield.
In a long-anticipated move, IL DB Parrker Westphal narrowed down his field to three schools: Michigan State, Northwestern, and Vanderbilt. Michigan seemed to back off Westphal as numbers in the 2014 class got tight, and the Wildcats now appear to be the favorites to land him.
MD WR Juwann Winfree, who had a Michigan offer, committed to the in-state Terps over the weekend ($, info in header). If Randy Edsall sticks around—no guarantee, obviously—then Maryland program could very well be a solid addition to the Big Ten.
*Do these people exist? I honestly have no idea.