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Recruiting wars just another part of ND-USC rivalry

Notre Dame v USC

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 29: Nelson Agholor #15 of the USC Trojans celebrates his touchdown with George Farmer #8 to take a 35-0 lead over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 29, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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Saturday will be a very big day in South Bend. Not just for the historic intersectional rivalry taking place on the field, but for the battles taking place off of it.

Notre Dame will welcome a slew of highly sought after recruits to campus, many with interest from both teams on the field. And as the Trojan football program looks to be in transition yet again, there’s a great opportunity for Notre Dame to make a significant move in an ever-present recruiting battle that’s just another part of the Notre Dame-USC rivalry.

We’ll spend some time tomorrow confirming some of the most important visitors. But it isn’t hard to see the connectivity between these two programs—all you have to do is look at their respective depth charts.

Both rosters feature players that were recruited hard by both programs. And with some of the game’s elite playmakers likely swinging the balance of Saturday night’s game, it’s incredible to think how different this rivalry could look with a handful of jerseys switched.

Juju Smith-Schuster was the big recruit that got away from Notre Dame, with Mike Denbrock very nearly getting the talented wide receiver to leave Southern California and come to South Bend. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley was the top prospect at the top-Pac 12 feeder school in Nevada. The anchor of the Irish offensive line had more familiarity with USC than any other program, though it didn’t help the Trojans in the end.

Down the line, you’ll find players recruited hard by each coaching staff. In Irish wide receiver Amir Carlisle, you’ll even find one who has played for both programs.

While it’s far from an exact breakdown, per’s recruiting offers, here are the players from both team’s two-deep that had an opportunity to play for both programs.

Steven Mitchell*, WR
Adoree Jackson*, WR/CB
JuJu Smith-Schuster*, WR
Zach Banner*, OL
Damien Mama*, OL
Justin Davis*, RB
Ronald Jones*, RB
Su’a Cravens*, OLB
Porter Gustin*, DE
Michael Hutchings*, MLB
Osa Masina*, LB/TE
Iman Marshall*, CB
Chris Hawkins*, S
Leon McQuay, S
Ykili Ross, S


Amir Carlisle, WR
Ronnie Stanley*, OT
Tyler Luatua, TE
Alizé Jones*, TE
Equanimeous St. Brown, WR
Jaylon Smith*, LB
KeiVarae Russell*, CB
Cole Luke*, CB
CJ Sanders, WR
Max Redfield*, S

*Top 100 recruit