What does it take for USC to recruit in Georgia?

USC coach Steve Sarkisian (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

USC coach Steve Sarkisian (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

How special does a Georgia kid have to be to get recruited by USC?

USC is the flagship school in California, which is one of the nation’s top three states in manufacturing college football talent.

This past year, USC made a rare recruiting appearance in Georgia to catch one of the state’s biggest fish, Chuma Edoga. The 5-star offensive lineman from McEachern High School signed with USC over UGA, Stanford and Tennessee, among others.

“The thing for us is that we obviously have a talent-rich state; we’re fortunate,” USC coach Steve Sarkisian told the AJC. “You look at our roster and you look at the history of USC football. The majority of great players that we’ve had here, they’re from the state of California. That being said, there have been quite a few players from out of state that have come to SC and have gone on to do great things, whether it’s on the football field, the classroom or life after football.

“The biggest criteria we look for (with an out-of-state kid) is ‘Does he project to be a first-round draft pick three or four years from now?’ If we think he has a chance to be a first-round pick, we’ll make investment, and we’ll make the time. If not, that kid who is probably not a first-round pick, he’s probably somewhere in the state of California and we need to find him.

“So that’s how highly we think of Chuma. We think that he has the chance to be a first-round pick. We need to develop him. He needs to develop mentally, physically and emotionally. But the projection is that’s what we think he can be three or four years from now.”

OL Chuma Edoga (AJC)

OL Chuma Edoga (AJC)

Despite being a 5-star recruit, Edoga ended most of the drama early by committing to USC during the spring of his junior year. UGA never stopped recruiting Edoga, convincing him to take an official visit for the Auburn game. Edoga briefly considered flipping to the Bulldogs, but he ultimately decided to stick with his original choice of USC.

Edoga, who also got last-minute flirtations from Michigan, enrolled early in classes with the Trojans in January. Another big factor in Edoga’s decision was that his aunt and uncle live in the Los Angeles area.

“Obviously, I think the world of Chuma and his mother, Elizabeth,” Sarkisian said. “They are really good people. We hit it off really well. To me, at least for us (at USC), recruiting is a people industry. It’s about developing relationships.

“As great as facilities are, as great as degrees as, as great as campuses and cities are and the beauty of all of that … I think at the end of the day, it comes down to having really good relationships with people that you can trust and that you can count on. That’s probably the biggest thing to me that stuck out. We developed a good relationship with Chuma and his mother. Ultimately, she felt comfortable with him being here, and he wanted to be here. And the end result is, he’s on our campus now and he’s doing great.”

Edoga is the first player from Georgia to sign with the USC since former Henry County High School wide receiver Markeith Ambles in 2010. Former Buford High School defensive back Ryan Dillard joined the Trojans as a walk-on in 2012, and he was awarded a football scholarship last year.

In a study by Scout.com’s Jamie Newberg, Texas produced the most D1 recruits from 2007-2014, averaging 377 per year. The rest of the top five consisted of Florida (333), California (247.6), Georgia (169.3) and Ohio (155.1).

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