LOS ANGELES — The sign is plastered on every door of Heritage Hall: This week is a recruiting dead period.
Upon leaving Tennessee for Tinseltown, USC’s newest recruiting coordinator, Ed Orgeron, who has been on the job for all of a day, acknowledged he had been in contact with Tennessee mid-term enrollees and offered them advice.
With limited contact allowed between schools and high school prospects, there was question as to whether Orgeron, who arrived on USC’s campus on Tuesday, had committed an NCAA violation.
“In my knowledge, I followed the NCAA rules correctly and did what was best for the recruitment of the family and the young men,” Orgeron said. “In my knowledge, I did not knowingly break a rule.”
When asked if he advised prospects from de-committing from Tennessee in favor of USC, Orgeron wouldn’t say.
“I’m not going to get into that,” Orgeron said. “I was posed questions by parents. They said, ‘What are the options and what are the rules?’ I told them their options and the rules.”
“There were some young men that were really wondering, ‘Coach, what are my options?'”
One of their options, if they did not attend class Wednesday, was transferring to another school without having to sit out the 2010 season. That is the angle Orgeron reportedly took with Brandon Willis, a defensive lineman who was going to enroll at Tennessee on Tuesday.
The New York Times reported Orgeron called Willis on Tuesday and offered him a scholarship to USC. It was in direct conflict with what Orgeron reiterated several times Wednesday — that he only called recruits after their families had called him and that he didn’t initiate the contact.