February 19, 2009

Kennard's close call

Devon Kennard wasn't always a Trojan. Contrary to popular belief, the nation's No. 1 defensive end prospect for 2009 entered the recruiting process with an open mind.

By January, Kennard had narrowed his list of college options to USC, Texas and Cal.

Returning from an official visit to Texas Dec. 22, Kennard was prepared to end the recruiting process. With coaches from USC and Texas flying in to Phoenix for one last in-home visit, news from Pete Carroll changed his plans.

"Coach Carroll told me that Nick Holt was going to Washington," said Kennard. "They were all supposed to come to my house the next day, so it was definitely surprising."

Holt, who had recruited Kennard since his sophomore year at Desert Vista High School, left USC minus a defensive coordinator and defensive line coach.

With a commitment pending, news of USC's sudden coaching vacancies gave way to thoughts of divine intervention.

"I felt like maybe God was telling me something," said Kennard. "Obviously, I always liked USC, but when that happened, I thought God was either telling me, 'Stay the heck away from there or things need to change at USC in order for it to be the right school for you'. That was the first thing I thought when coach Holt left."

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