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January 9, 2010
USC commits change plans
SAN ANTONIO - Kyle Prater said he doesn't know if he's going to sign with USC. But the nation's best wide receiver does know this: He's no longer planning on enrolling in the school and attending classes on Monday.
The news that USC coach Pete Carroll is thinking about leaving the school and taking over as head coach of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks was the hot topic at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday.
USC's two top verbal commitments - Prater and running back Dillon Baxter - made it clear they are now rethinking their plans.
"It hurts," Prater said. "I don't even know what to say. I can't really tell you anything because I don't know anything so I can't tell you. All the coaches at the school are just as clueless as me."
Prater, from Hillside (Ill.) Proviso West, said he has not heard from Carroll since the rumors of his potential departure to Seattle surfaced Friday.
Prater, rated as the second-best prospect in the class by Rivals.com, has been committed since early September. He said he did not know whether the Trojans would be considered if Carroll leaves. And while Notre Dame and Florida are believed to be other possible destinations, Prater said he wants to get back home to discuss the situation with his family before any further decisions are made.
Prater said he only has talked with USC passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach John Morton, but he said the conversation didn't provide much light on the current coaching situation.
"He said he doesn't know anything as well," Prater said. "He doesn't know if his job will be there that securely even if somebody else comes in because they bring in their own staff and depend on who they want."
Other USC commits here at the Army bowl have been just as surprised by the recent developments. Baxter, a five-star all-purpose back also expected to enroll early, said his situation is still uncertain. Baxter said Friday that Florida and Michigan had reached out.
"It was real hard to focus," Baxter said after the game. "I took it pretty bad (Friday). I mean it's been my whole dream to play there and that's why I committed my freshman year and ended out the whole recruiting process.
"I wanted to go live out my whole dream. Now I am wide open. I'll talk to any college. I honestly don't know what to say right now, but I'm wide open."
Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft running back D.J. Morgan, committed to USC since September 2008, said Friday he has to "reset everything now" and that he hopes Carroll doesn't leave. A lot could change, Morgan said, if Carroll goes to the Seahawks.
Kicker Matt Darr said Friday it was still too early to tell what would happen but that Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and Arizona State could be options if USC doesn't work out. Darr also said he needs to speak with his family before he makes any determinations.
Top-rated athlete Robert Woods, from Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra, said he would also take a wait-and-see approach on the Carroll rumors.
There was some good news Saturday for the Trojans as Corona (Calif.) four-star safety Demetrius Wright committed to USC. Wright said he understands that Carroll has to make his own decisions and that the best choice for him was to pledge to the Trojans - even amid the coaching turmoil.