What if ... USC had more scholarships?

There have been many hypothetical questions surrounding the USC Trojans. What if senior center Khaled Holmes had been healthy for the Stanford game? What if Matt Barkley had spiked the ball in the last-minute drive at Arizona? What if USC made an adjustment or two against the vaunted Oregon offense?

In the end, there were too many questionable moments this season for a team that couldn't afford any. Now, with the Trojans preparing for the Sun Bowl, recruiting fans have found themselves asking another question.

What if USC had more scholarships to give out?

The Trojans have 16 verbal commitments and, despite the NCAA-mandated limitations, tout the No. 2-rated recruiting class with two months to go until national signing day.

If USC had more available spots in its current class, adding depth on the defensive line would be the primary objective. No. 2-rated defensive end Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) might be the biggest fish out there, with five-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County) close behind. Four-star defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson (Fort Worth, Texas/Arlington Heights), a longtime Texas commit who said USC was his favorite school growing up, is another possibility.

With the addition of scholarships, there would be room for four-star safeties Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) and Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos de Niza). The Trojans staff could make another run at Oregon commits Tyree and Tyrell Robinson of San Diego (Calif.) Lincoln. Luring highly coveted linebackers Matthew Thomas (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington) and Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) would be a realistic possibility.

Then there are the recruits without USC offers who appear to have been victims of the scholarship limitations, such as four-star running back Terrell Newby II (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade), juco receiver Jaelen Strong (Philadelphia, Pa./Pierce College), three-star tight end Thomas Duarte (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), three-star offensive tackle Sean Harlow (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) and fast-rising linebacker Keishawn Bierria (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne).

The scenarios would be endless if the Trojans had more scholarships to give out, making USC fans wish it wasn’t just a hypothetical.