Recruiting at USC and UCLA Has BecomeThe Battle of Los Angeles

November 17, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans wide receiver Marqise Lee (9) scores a touchdown as UCLA Bruins cornerback Sheldon Price (22) defends in the fourth quarter of the game at the Rose Bowl. UCLA won 38-28. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA and USC supporters will go and back forth, arguing which football program landed the more impressive 2013 signing class. Jim Mora inked 26 new Bruins with an average star rating of 3.65. USC’s Lane Kiffin compiled a quality-over-quantity class, a strategic maneuver that NCAA sanctions necessitate for the Trojans. The 12 prospects to sign with USC on National Signing Day averaged 4.42 stars, far-and-away the best rating in the nation.

No one can say definitively which class is more impressive for another few years, as the 2013 signees integrate into the college game. One certainty to take away from National Signing Day 2013, though: recruiting at USC and UCLA has become the Battle of Los Angeles.

There’s no machine against which to rage, but the Bruin and Trojan coaching staffs are indeed raging against one another on the recruiting trail. UCLA scored one solid coup at USC’s expense with the flip of defensive end Kylie Fitts, a situation sure to add fire to the rivalry.

But then, the rivalry needs little rekindling at this juncture. After UCLA largely dominated in the 1990s and USC completely dominated through the 2000s, the elements that once made this among college football’s premier rivals have returned.

Recruiting was not necessarily an issue for UCLA under Rick Neuheisel. The Bruins routinely ranked near the top of Pac recruiting classes, though was unsuccessful parlaying it into on-field success. Moreover, even when ranked second in the conference’s recruiting rankings, UCLA was still well behind the football factory that is USC.

Now, this is a neck-and-neck race. The aforementioned NCAA sanctions that crippled USC’s depth in 2012 will continue to be an issue for the next few years, and certainly contribute to UCLA bridging the once-mile wide gap. However, Mora’s made instantaneous cultural changes that resonate throughout the program.

Aggression is a key character change evident in the new-look Bruins. It’s reflected in this aggressive recruiting approach. Each of Mora’s classes at UCLA have been impressive, perhaps matching USC’s. Their development in the coming seasons, and the evolution of the rivalry will prove fun to watch. It’s also great for the Pac-12 — what better locale for an epic battle for supremacy than Los Angeles?

 

UCLA USC
Five-Star
None DT Kenny Bigelow
QB Max Browne
S Su’a Cravens
RB Ty Isaac
DB Leon McQuay III
Four-Star
OL Caleb Benenoch RB Justin Davis
DT Kenneth Clark OL Nico Falah
WR Thomas Duarte DB Chris Hawkins
DE Kylie Fitts LB Michael Hutchings
DB Tyler Foreman WR Steven Mitchell
DB Tahaan Goodman LB Quinton Powell
LB Deon Hollins Jr. Khaliel Rodgers
LB Myles Jack
DB Johnny Johnson
OL Kenny Lacy
OL John Lopez
WR Eldridge Massington
OL Poasi Moala
OL Christian Morris
OL Alex Redmond
QB Asiantii Woulard

Topics: Football, UCLA Bruins

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