Notre Dame v USC

Lane Kiffin hands out another scholarship offer to eighth grader


Despite playing under heavy scholarship reductions, USC still pulled in one hell of a recruiting class this past February. But Trojans coach Lane Kiffin isn’t stopping there. He’s preparing for the future as well. Like, four years down the road and one whole class of players preparing for the future.

Blair Angulo of ESPN Los Angeles reported Monday, with the Los Angeles Times confirming later on, that Kiffin has offered a scholarship to receiver Nathan Tilford of Upland, Calif. — a member of the 2017 recruiting class. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound “prospect” has been visiting USC’s practices and doing the 7-on-7 circuit.

Kiffin certainly isn’t the first coach to offer a scholarship to a pre-high schooler (in fact, it’s not even his first time doing so). Les Miles and Nick Saban have previously offered a spot to athlete Dylan Moses, another member of the 2017 class.

While offering a scholarship to a kid who has yet to play a down of high school football feels, well, icky, it’s really the recruit and his family who need to understand the risks of putting their collective footballs in one basket at such a young age. A lot can happen in four years. Kiffin could lose his job and/or the scholarship offer could be rescinded.

And, in fairness to Tilford, he hasn’t committed to anyone yet.

To echo the sentiments of our good pal Michael Felder, a former football player himself, a kid should let the recruiting process play out to its fullest. Examine all your offers and wait as long as you need to before committing, verbally or otherwise. For one, coaches hold all the power in the agreement anyway; secondly, it’ll be the last time a player gets to explore his options this extensively until his second NFL contract. If he’s lucky to make it that far.

Expect Oregon’s quarterback rotation to continue for the next two weeks

AP Photo

Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.

As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.

“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”

“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”

Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.

“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”

With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.

SEC shut out of AP top five for first time in half a decade

Stephen F. Austin visits Amon G. Carter Stadium to play the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs.
AP Photo

The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.

Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.

And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.

That group breaks down as follows:

  1. Ohio State
  2. TCU
  3. Baylor
  4. Michigan State
  5. Utah

An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:

  1. Ohio State
  2. Oregon
  3. Boise State
  4. TCU
  5. Nebraska

Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.

None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.