in recruiting a lot worse than USC for another reason in addition to those discussed above - the issues for OSU spread far and wide throughout the program. Recruits (and more importantly, their parents) could rationalize the USC problem as a few bad apples involved in isolated incidents. OSU has a serious problem involving drugs, illegal benefits, the IRS and the FBI etc etc with nearly everyone on the team and in the surrounding city. The team environment is shady and the local businesses are shady and possibly dangerous. It's a whole culture of corruption, not some overprivileged single player that accepted lavish benefits from a coach that is now in the NFL.
Add in the harsh penalties and the shitty climate and lack of an established coach...would you want to send your kid there? If you were a star with plenty of options would you want to take your chances that OSU will rise again?