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Five-star 2015 QB Ricky Town pulls Bama pledge, commits to USC

Ricky Town

When Lane Kiffin joined forces with Nick Saban in Tuscaloosa, you just knew there’d be myriad storylines that’d sate media types from the Southeast to the West Coast and all parts in between.

With the initial shock of the marriage beginning to wane, we have our first post-nuptial “things that make you go hmmm.”

Ricky Town is a five-star player in the 2015 recruiting class, rated by Rivals.com as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 9 player at any position.  Last August, Town, a Ventura (Calif.) St. Bonaventure High School product, verbally committed to play his collegiate football at Alabama.  He is (was) the highest-rated quarterback prospect to commit to the Tide during Saban’s UA tenure.

Since making that non-binding pledge, the Tide’s offensive coordinator, Doug Nussmeier, left for the same job at Michigan.  Nussmeier was ultimately replaced by Lane Kiffin just two days later.  Coincidence or not, Town announced the following via Twitter just a couple of weeks after Kiffin’s hiring:

To add insult to injury, Town reportedly visited Kiffin’s old head-coach stomping grounds, USC, the same day he tweeted his decommitment from the Tide.  It was reportedly Town’s second unofficial visit to the Trojans in the past week.

That second unofficial visit also resulted in Town verbally completing his flip with a commitment to USC and new head coach Steve Sarkisian.

“I’m proud to be a part of the Trojan Family!” Town said in a text message to ESPN.com. “I’ve seen many of the top programs and what they have to offer. However, when I had the chance to get on the USC campus last week and spend time with Coach Sarkisian and his staff, I knew after those meetings that USC is where I want to be. The coaches are upbeat, focused and committed to winning and I completely believe in them. I chose USC because of the tradition, the academics and the incredible coaching staff. This is an amazing opportunity to be a part of something really special. Fight On!”

In fairness, Town’s decision also comes a couple of days after Jacob Coker was released from his Florida State scholarship and is expected to transfer to the Tide.  Coker, who was in a competition for FSU’s starting job before Jameis Winston won both the battle and the Heisman (and the BCS title), would serve as a viable replacement for AJ McCarron and will have two years of eligibility left regardless of where he lands at the FBS level.

Also in fairness, there’s this

Kiffin is a household name, and although he coached right in their backyard, Town met Kiffin only once in person for a brief meeting. They have talked a few times on the phone.

Jan. 10, Kiffin is hired by Saban.  Jan. 24, a five-star, five-month UA quarterback commit decommits then immediately flips to Kiffin’s former school.  The punchlines will just keep writing themselves, apparently.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

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32 Responses to “Five-star 2015 QB Ricky Town pulls Bama pledge, commits to USC”
  1. polegojim says: Jan 26, 2014 9:44 AM

    Definite downgrade with Kiffin and recruits know it.

    Nuss has much more credibility with ProStyle O.

    That said, Bama will be fine without Town.

  2. dhardy8207 says: Jan 26, 2014 9:50 AM

    Smh….the fact that he would be able to play in his home state I’m sure has nothing to do with this article, only the fact that a coaching change at BAMA is the sole reason. Sarkisian, more than likely has a great sales pitch for keeping the state’s talent at home…

  3. voight444 says: Jan 26, 2014 10:17 AM

    I agree with Dhardy….playing near home had nothing to do with decommitting..(sarcasm)…..slamming Kiffin seems to be the flavor of the week. kudos to Saban….makes me want to root doe the tide now

  4. ruggyup says: Jan 26, 2014 10:59 AM

    Polegijim is right that Alabama will be fine without Town. The bigger question only Mr. Time can answer is, will they be fine with Kiffin?

  5. woebegong says: Jan 26, 2014 11:20 AM

    It sounds a awful lot like he didn’t want Kiffin as his coach and teacher, more than anything. He is from California and while Kiffin was the coach at USC, the kid committed to Alabama.
    I personally think he would have been just fine at Alabama with Coach Saban being the HC, but I guess we will never know.
    With Kiffin the OC at Alabama, it will be interesting to see how the offense goes. I think they will be a running team in the near future, with the QB being the general on the field, but asked to run the offense, not win games on the strength of his arm. Alabama has a boat load of running backs and they will utilize them a lot.

  6. polegojim says: Jan 26, 2014 11:42 AM

    @woe… I’m not a Kiffin fan… but more than anything, Kiffin and Nuss run different offensive schemes…

    Nuss is definite ProStyle… which is Town’s forte and reason he committed.

    Kiffin runs a ‘mostly’ ProStyle… but his lack of consistency… then firing… would make most 5 stars think twice.

  7. penguinbrawler says: Jan 26, 2014 11:44 AM

    He’s a 5 star QB prospect. Have you seen Alabama’s stable of QB’s yet? Number 3 pro-style QB from the class of 2014, Coker, Sims, and a few other young guys.
    It’s a loaded team, and this guy clearly doesn’t want to ride the bench for 2 of his 4 years. That’s the most likely reason for pulling his name out of contention. He goes to USC, and he’ll most likely make starter.
    I’m sure the fact that it’s closer to home also played into it.
    We all love to knock Kiffin, but I don’t believe he’s the reason for the transfer.

  8. mrlaloosh says: Jan 26, 2014 11:46 AM

    Los Angeles or Tuscaloosa? Fight On! Or Roll Tide! Either way he made the right choice. Tough to choose. Family probably the decider. Bama at top of its game and USC will get back on top with Sarkesian.

  9. louhudson23 says: Jan 26, 2014 11:47 AM

    Obviously ,Alabama would have liked to have kept this player.But he, as the # 2 rated QB ,he apparently got his feelings hurt that Alabama HC also visited the #1 rated QB while out on the Coast visiting Town. It appears Coker will have the lead on the job in ’14 and 15 ,although QB Sims would disagree and is prepared to fight for the job,with Cornwell as a RS ,continuing to work and get healthier. The idea that Alabama has taken any hits,much less big ones,is laughable,not even they can sign every player. …They pulled the cream of the crop again this year and virtually any team wishes they had such problems as a 2015 commit de-committing…. And don’t fall over in a faint if he ends up back there anyway.There is plenty of time between now and then for a teenager to change his mind….should he decide to come and compete for a job……..Do not worry about the Tide,nor get too excited about their demise,the cupboard is fully re-stocked….

  10. woebegong says: Jan 26, 2014 11:52 AM

    I am just wondering, if it didn’t have anything to do with Kiffin, why he didn’t commit to USC while Kiffin was the HC there. Surely, he wasn’t flying under the radar and not considered worthy of a slot while Kiffin was there.

  11. wolfman55h says: Jan 26, 2014 11:53 AM

    This kid was probably heading to saban land until he found out two things. One that saban was stupid enough to hire lane kiffin and two he visited tuscaloosa and saw the town closes at 9:30 pm. BAMA should know better than to go to Cali for talent. Stay in the stix where u belong inbreeds. GEAUX TIGERS

  12. globeflyer says: Jan 26, 2014 12:58 PM

    First, Wolfman, you might want to go get some help for 2014 before you start flappin’ your lips about “the stix”. Second, you of all “inbreeds” should know that Saban drives HIS ship and Lane Kiffin knew that when he went to Bama. All you’ll hear from Kiffin is the results of his play-calling, CNS will handle the rest. Town will be fine, no matter his choice. The last 6 years has demonstrated to recruits, is if you’re not a “high-on-the-foodchain” competitor, Alabama might not be the best place for you.

  13. woebegong says: Jan 26, 2014 1:22 PM

    I believe I said Alabama would be just fine, without the kid. What I am trying to do is give my take on why the kid changed and I truly believe it has something to do directly with Lame Kitten.
    Also, like I said, Coach Saban doesn’t need the QB to win the games, he needs him to manage the games. He has a stable of running back that can do the winning and controlling the game for him. AJ was a perfect example of what Coach Saban wants from his QB. I hope this young man can make it in the NFL, because he has true leadership qualities, and is the ultimate team player.

  14. rolltide510 says: Jan 26, 2014 1:34 PM

    Anybody that thinks the reason a SoCal QB decided to play for USC vs. move to a small town in Alabama he’d never even been to has anything to do with Lane Kiffin is beyond saving.

  15. sportsguy3434 says: Jan 26, 2014 1:41 PM

    If Saban did visit the other recruit, then I wonder if Saban questioned his true commitment.

    Either way, it is probably burning in Kiffins craw that he flipped to USC. Saban probably didn’t like it too much either.

  16. Romulus says: Jan 26, 2014 2:28 PM

    Tuscaloosa is great you love crack

  17. sportsfan69 says: Jan 26, 2014 2:30 PM

    Where’s Urban Meyer? Until Ohio State gets a real QB, they’ll never be more than a ten top team ranked.

  18. Professor Fate says: Jan 26, 2014 2:39 PM

    It’s possible USC under Kiffin didn’t rate Town highly enough to make Town believe they really wanted him. This is the same Kiffin who had Javorius (Buck) Allen way down on the depth chart. Once Kiffin was gone Allen got a chance to contribute and blossomed into an excellent player.

    Kiffin might be a good recruiter, but he seems to come up short when evaluating and utilizing that talent. Multiple Trojans excelled once Kiffin was gone. Kiffin can recruit them, but he seems to need others to identify them first.

  19. studdmuffins says: Jan 26, 2014 2:47 PM

    This is part of the Lane Kiffin effect. Bad, seems like almost desperate hire. Bama has peaked and is now headed for the valley!!!

  20. kwjsb says: Jan 26, 2014 2:48 PM

    Blondes in Bikini’s recruit a lot better when the bikini’s are year round….

  21. imakcds says: Jan 26, 2014 2:51 PM

    you all can say what you want, believe what you want, but I believe, adamantly, that Kiffin was the reason for the kid’s decision.
    I think the kid’s a pretty smart guy for recognizing the FACTS, and I also think that Saban fell for the Snake Oil sales pitch that Kiffin is famous for.
    EVERYWHERE Kiffin goes, he leaves with his tail between his legs, and the door slams behind him, slammed shut, with a great good riddance.
    You Alabama fans have no idea how great a cloud was lifted away from Trojan Faithful the day Kiffin got fired.
    Don’t say you weren’t warned.

  22. pjorgejp says: Jan 26, 2014 3:04 PM

    Reblogged this on pjorgejp and commented:
    Kiffin better wear a helmet when Bama visits the Volunteers. He sucked there.

  23. pjorgejp says: Jan 26, 2014 3:05 PM

    Kiffin better wear a helmet when Bama visits the Volunteers. He sucked there.

  24. omeimontis says: Jan 26, 2014 3:22 PM

    Many top college players don’t want to spend 4 years in the NCAA. Having to sit a couple of years is definitely not good for something who wants to enter the draft before his class graduates.

  25. jlsmart11 says: Jan 26, 2014 3:29 PM

    This has nothing to do with Kiffin. I do not like the Kiffin hire for OC, but at least it wasn’t for HC. If you read Town’s texts, he did like most all de-commits. He claims that after visiting USC, he felt like it was where he belonged. He said the same thing about Alabama when he chose them. Due to lack of journalism, we don’t know if his family helped influence the chose to play closer to home, the decision of other QBs looking to transfer to Alabama, an offer from USC that he couldn’t turn down, or what. It could be all of them. This kid is looking to start and start soon, rather riding the pine. If he chose to go to Alabama and Alabama chose to plays any number of their QBs in their current corral or any of the transfers coming in, he would be riding the pine. He’ll face the same at USC and will have to compete for his job. Just like at all schools. Alabama isn’t worried. If you don’t want to be there and don’t want to compete, they don’t need you.

  26. imakcds says: Jan 26, 2014 7:09 PM

    You stated that this has ‘nothing to do with Kiffin’.
    How would you know that? Unless you actually know the prospect, how can you make that statement??

  27. normtide says: Jan 26, 2014 8:34 PM

    If it came down to Nuss, than would he not have committed to Michigan? Nuss was a good coordinator, but I want sad to see him go. With Bama’s talent, he should have gotten more from it.

    This young man still has a year before his signing day. Let this play out.

  28. Deb says: Jan 27, 2014 1:06 PM

    He decommitted because Kiffin is a downgrade from Nussmeier? That’s silly. Can anyone name me a single coordinator who worked with Bear Bryant?

    Nick Saban is Alabama football right now. No one else matters. I wasn’t thrilled with McElwain or Nussmeier. If Nick’s not thrilled with Kiffin, he’ll be leaving soon as well.

    We’ve got a four-way competition to replace A.J. at quarterback. Town won’t be missed. I wish him well in his endeavors.

  29. teambringitstrong says: Jan 27, 2014 2:55 PM

    LOL. sorry Tide but you will soon find out what we had to live with for years in South L.A.

  30. normtide says: Jan 27, 2014 6:41 PM

    Great article about 5 star qb’s over the last several years.

    http://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/2014/five-star-quarterbacks-last-decade/

  31. 8to80texansblog says: Jan 29, 2014 9:59 AM

    @normtide….

    A lot of those guys were busts…. but a couple of them won Heismans and quite a few are playing on Sundays, or are at least on NFL rosters.

    Stars just measure a players potential. Without the right offensive system and personal motivation they mean nothing.

    Johnny Football was a 3 star….

  32. waynefontes says: Jan 30, 2014 3:07 AM

    normtide says:
    Jan 27, 2014 6:41 PM
    Great article about 5 star qb’s over the last several years.

    http://www.saturdaydownsouth.com/2014/five-star-quarterbacks-last-decade/
    —————————————————-

    That was a very interesting read. Also interesting to see who is considered a “bust” and who “lived up to the hype”.

    I’m impartial to Virginia Tech, but Tyrod Taylor most definitely did not live up to the hype.

    As far as stars and ratings go, I’ll quote someone else who said this about one of my all time favorite football players who wasn’t highly regarded but won a national title as a captain of his team in college and made numerous Pro Bowls as an NFL player.

    “I’d rather have a 3-star recruit that is a leader than a 5-star that isn’t.”

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