USC denies Snoop/Redd limo recruiting story


It sounded too good to be true and, in the end, it was.

In John Bacon‘s new book “Fourth and Long: The Fight for the Soul of College Football,” which recounts the post-sanction time at Penn State, it was written that USC head coach Lane Kiffin called in a favor during the recruitment of Silas Redd.  Specifically, the book states, Kiffin had rapper Snoop Dogg/Lion meet Redd at the airport in a limo as part of the recruiting pitch.

The author goes on to state that “[f]rom the private jet to the favor called in with Snoop Dogg, Kiffin pulled out all the stops to score a late-summer roster coup.”  The only problem?  It never happened according to all the parties involved.

I’ve never met Snoop Dogg in my life, much less been in his limo,” Redd said. “Coach Kiffin picked me up from the airport. The person who wrote that has no credibility whatsoever.”

Redd, who led the Trojans in rushing with 901 yards last season, was one of the first Penn State players to take advantage of NCAA sanctions against the Nittany Lions, which stated that any player could leave the program and transfer to another FBS school while retaining immediate eligibility.

Like Redd, both Kiffin and the school openly scoffed at the report as well.

“That would have been tough to have happened because I personally picked up Silas myself in my own car. So, that must have been another Silas,” the head coach said following practice.

“Silas Redd has never met Snoop Dogg, much less received a ride from him in any type of vehicle. USC head Coach Lane Kiffin picked up Silas from the airport on his recruiting visit,” the school wrote in a statement. It added, “Bacon never contacted Redd or USC to confirm this report before publishing his book.”

There was also some news regarding Redd on the football front, and not exactly of the encouraging kind.

The back missed the latter half of spring practice after suffering a left knee injury that required surgery.  Limited throughout summer camp, Kiffin said “I’m not sure he will be” available for the season opener against Hawaii next weekend.

USC’s Max Tuerk already questionable for Notre Dame game

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 11:  Center Max Tuerk #75 of the USC Trojans prepares to snap the football during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 11, 2014 in Tucson, Arizona.  The Trojans defeatred the Wildcats 28-26.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

As if the questions about the head coach’s future aren’t enough, now USC could have a rather significant issue in the middle of its offensive line to deal with as well.

Early in the first quarter of what would turn out to be an embarrassing loss to Washington Thursday night, Max Tuerk sustained a sprained knee. Upon further examination, it was determined that the veteran center would be unable to return to the game.

Not only that, Tuerk, who was wearing a brace on his right knee following the loss, is already labeled as questionable for what it in every sense of the phrase a must-win game for Steve Sarkisian against Notre Dame eight days from now.

With Tuerk sidelined for the remainder of the game, he was replaced by Toa Lobendahn. It’s unclear which direction the Trojans would go if Tuerk is a no-go this weekend, although Khaliel Rodgers, who had been dealing with a personal issue, has been Tuerk’s backup.

Tuerk has started 38 games in his Trojan career — 18 at center, 14 at left guard, five at left tackle, one at right tackle. Lobendahn started all 13 games as a true freshman last season, the first eight at left guard and then five at right tackle.

Was Washington loss the beginning of the end of the Steve Sarkisian era at USC?

Steve Sarkisian

Steve Sarkisian’s win totals in his six previous seasons are both a positive and a negative.

On one hand, he resurrected a moribund Washington program that went 0-12 under Ty Willingham in 2008 and took them to four consecutive bowl games from 2010-2013. He won nine games his last year in Seattle, then led a talented-yet-thin USC team to a nine-win season and AP No. 20 finish in 2014.

Those are good accomplishments. But the flip side of the argument is Sarkisian has never won double-digit games in a season, something that’s a necessity to keep one’s job at USC. The Trojans’ 17-12 loss to Washington last night — at home, no less — means the road to 10 wins and a Pac-12 title will be awfully difficult.

And worse yet, there are plenty of arguments to be made Sarkisian doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt and a little more time in Los Angeles to turn things around (#SarkAfterDark, his drunken rant at a booster event, certainly doesn’t help). The reaction from national media to last night’s loss looked like this:

Mandel, in his column, argued USC is right where it was two years ago with Lane Kiffin as its coach. And there’s this embarrassing thought, that looks more and more like a truth, for Pat Haden:

This one, however, was the most damning by far for many reasons, most notably that it came at the hands of Sarkisian’s old team. The sense among many Washington fans nearly two years ago was that the Huskies managed to upgrade coaches when the school lured Chris Petersen from Boise State upon Sarkisian’s departure to USC.

They were right.

USA Today’s Dan Wolken similarly wrote that USC needs to drop Sarkisian and bring in Chip Kelly from the Philadelphia Eagles.

This is the state of USC, and it may not get better. The Trojans start a brutal three-game stretch next Saturday at Notre Dame in primetime, then welcome Utah to Los Angeles the next week. A Halloween trip to Berkeley to face Jared Goff and Cal finishes it up. There’s a very real chance USC, for all its talent and all its hype, limps into November with a 4-4 or 3-5 record.

Sarkisian will have to engineer and sustain a major turnaround in these coming weeks, otherwise he’ll give Haden all the ammo he needs to unceremoniously jettison him after two years.