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USC lays claim to recruiting title

Southern California was on the unpleasant side of a late rally in the Rose Bowl by Texas, but the Trojans put together a last minute push Wednesday to claim the mythical national recruiting championship.

Coach Pete Carroll signed six of the nation's top 30 players and 13 of the top 100 to overtake Florida for the No. 1 ranked recruiting class during Signing Day.

Florida's 27-man class ranks second followed by Texas, Georgia and Notre Dame. Penn State, LSU, Oklahoma, Auburn and Alabama round out the top 10 in a combination of rankings by, and

After losing Heisman Trophy winners Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush, the Trojans reloaded with players like 5-foot-11, 219- pound linebacker Allen Bradford from Colton, Calif., 5-11, 180-pound athlete C.J. Gable from Sylmar, Calif., and 6-3, 193-pound wide receiver Vidal Hazelton from Chatham, Va.

"USC has a phenomenal class," said Bob Lichtenfels of "Florida signed six more kids but USC might have the better overall class when you get down to the bare numbers."

Florida did sign Percy Harvin, a 6-1, 188-pound wideout from Virginia Beach, Va., who is regarded as the nation's top prospect. Harvin selected the Gators over Florida State, Miami, Michigan and USC.

Florida also landed five-star talent in 6-6, 348-pound offensive lineman Carl Johnson, 6-4, 235-pound linebacker Brandon Spikes from Shelby, N.C., and 6-3, 217-pound quarterback Tim Tebow from Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

"They filled all of their needs," said Jamie Newberg, a national scout for "They got great players at every position, there's balance from top to bottom and there's lots of speed and athleticism."

Pittsburgh and Mississippi enjoyed unexpectedly good hauls.

Pittsburgh pulled in a top 20 class filled with four-star players like Churchville tailback Kevin Collier, who is one of five of the top 100 players in the nation signed by coach Dave Wannstedt.

Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron drew snickers when he offered over 300 prospects scholarships during the summer, but he signed 29 players and landed in the top 20. Defensive tackle Jerrell Powe from Chatham, Va., and quarterback Brent Schaeffer from Visalia, Calif., are two of the top 25 players in the country headed for Ole Miss.

"It's tough to argue with what Orgeron did when he signed this kind of class," Lichtenfels said.

West Virginia didn't have many scholarships to offer, but Lichtenfels said the Mountaineers' 15-man class, which ranked in the top 60, was disappointing considering they were coming off the Sugar Bowl upset over Georgia. The dagger was when 6-0, 187-pound athlete Brandon Heath, who previously committed, signed with Louisville.

Tennessee, which finished in the top five in 2005, fell out of the top 20 this year, while Iowa dipped into the 40s after a top-15 finish last year.

Syracuse signed 22 players, including Riverside's Mike Williams, and ranks in the top 50.


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