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USC football recruits begin to reconsider their futures

USC FOOTBALL

Lakewood High quarterback Jesse Scroggins is giving the Trojans until Saturday morning to name a replacement for Coach Pete Carroll before he begins looking at other schools.

January 12, 2010|By Ben Bolch

Jesse Scroggins called his shot Monday night: He will win a national championship at USC in 2012.

Unless he decides to go elsewhere.

The Lakewood High quarterback has imposed a Saturday morning deadline for the Trojans to name a replacement for Coach Pete Carroll, who has resigned to take the same post in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks.

If USC doesn't name a successor by then, Scroggins said, "I'm going to look for a college who could win the national championship in 2012."

USC has only two quarterbacks on scholarship on its roster -- starter Matt Barkley and backup Mitch Mustain.

"To be honest, the thing for me is, I want to achieve something going into college," said Scroggins, who added that he would look outside California if things with the Trojans didn't work out. "My goal is to win a national championship and I believe with this SC class that we can do it in 2012."

Scroggins said he had not spoken with Carroll about his departure but did not feel betrayed.

"The man has to do what he has to do," said Scroggins, who noted that his father and high school coach had received text messages and phone calls from other college recruiters. "He has to provide for his family and I definitely understand."

Scroggins was not the only member of a recruiting class ranked No. 11 by ESPNU who faces a decision about his future.

Lakewood safety Dion Bailey remains committed to the Trojans despite the coaching change, his father, Harold, said.

"The main purpose we're going there is for education and to play football is a nicety, and if you can excel at that, that's great," Harold Bailey said. "Unless they do something drastic to the program, I don't see any reason why that would change.

"We'll get a coach in there and we'll continue to 'fight on.' "

San Diego Mission Bay running back Dillon Baxter was "up in the air" as far as his college choice, according to Buccaneers Coach Willie Matson. Florida is also in the mix.

Baxter, who set a San Diego Section record this season with 2,974 yards rushing, attended a meeting for incoming recruits on the USC campus Monday afternoon, Matson said.

"I'm hoping something came out of the meeting as far as what direction they're going to take," Matson said. "All the schools around the country are calling and putting pressure on him. Everybody's concerned because not only is Carroll gone but he's taking a good chunk of the staff with him."

Matson said Carroll had assured Baxter that he wasn't leaving USC during a recent home visit. Matson said Baxter's father asked Carroll about rumors that he was leaving for the NFL "and Coach Carroll said, 'I like winning, I'm not going anywhere.' "

Matson said USC was "like a second home" for Baxter, who attended many of the Trojans' camps and games at the Coliseum. Matson also advised players to pick a college for more than the head coach.

"But these kids get so connected to the coaches," Matson said. "When the coaches go, it can blur their vision. He was so enamored with Coach Carroll and [offensive coordinator] coach [ John] Morton that if both those guys go, those were the two guys he spoke with."

Gardena Serra receiver Robert Woods told Cavaliers Coach Scott Altenberg that he would wait to see who the Trojans hire to replace Carroll.

"He said, 'I'm sticking with my commitment, but I'm interested to see the new coach and we'll see from there,' " Altenberg said.

Kyle Prater, a star receiver from Hillside (Ill.) Proviso West, was scheduled to enroll at USC on Monday but said during a nationally televised all-star game Saturday in San Antonio that he was returning home to reevaluate his options.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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