Now that the on-field action has stopped for USC, we turn our focus to off-field developments. Specifically, recruiting. With the sanctions appeal still pending, USC must ration their reduced scholarships wisely. In early December, USC made its wisest–and easiest–scholarship offer to five-star wide receiver George Farmer out of Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, California. A local product, Farmer played one season of football with current Trojans star receiver Robert Woods. For those of you who don’t follow recruiting, here is what some scouting websites say about Farmer:
- “Extremely explosive runner that is hard to bring down because he is very strong and fast.” – Rivals.com
- “The ideal combination of size and speed, Farmer is one of the top athletes in the country.” – Scout.com
- “George Farmer is not only a physically imposing presence on offense, but we are not so sure he wouldn’t make for a great safety prospect as well.” – ESPN Insider
Reading/hearing descriptions is one thing, but seeing the kid play and witnessing his abilities is another. To truly appreciate what Farmer will bring to USC, watch the highlight video below. It’s about ten minutes long and does not have any sound, so I understand if you don’t want to sit through the entire clip. But from one Trojan to (hopefully) another, trust me, it’s worth it.
What impressed me from this video were: 1) Farmer’s size/strength, 2) Farmer’s speed and explosiveness, and 3) Farmer’s play-making abilities on special teams.
If you watch the video, Farmer simply looks harder, better, faster, and stronger than all the other kids on the field. Granted, it’s high school football and the size/speed discrepancies between athletes at that level are larger than they are at the college level. But Farmer, at 6’2″ and 192 pounds, is built like current Cowboys stud Dez Bryant was built coming out of high school and, with proper weight training, has the chance to be a monster. Even more impressive than his breakaway runs is his defensive tenacity. He played safety for his team and in the clip you can see him really lay into defenders. What that tells me is that Farmer is not afraid to be physical; as a receiver, he will go over the middle to catch tough passes (which he does in the clip) and as a defender he will make the big hit. You can’t teach that type of courage/attitude.
Farmer’s speed is second to none. It looks like he’s playing in another gear. The thing that got me about his speed was the quick hitch/screen plays that Serra ran for him. It just so happens that USC runs a lot of those plays as well. The Trojans like to get the ball in the hands of their receivers quick–right off the snap–and let them make a play on the outside. Farmer showed the ability to take these passes and turn them up field for huge gains.
Finally, his punt returning is exceptional and will be a welcomed addition to the newly-revamped Trojans special teams. Now that USC officially has a special teams coach, we really value that third aspect of the game. Last season, we saw Robert Woods take a kickoff back for a touchdown and truly become a threat to opposing teams in that regard. Our punt return game looked like it would suffer a minor setback with the loss of senior Ronald Johnson, but Farmer immediately fills that void (and I bet you he will be a better returner than Johnson was). Even if Farmer takes some time to develop as an elite receiver, at least he can contribute as a punt returner or in other ways on special teams.
Watch, enjoy, and get excited for this guy to suit up in the Cardinal & Gold next season!