A Banner weekend

LOS ANGELES -- This past weekend, the USC coaches hosted their second of three big recruiting weekends to close the 2012 recruiting cycle. And while there were no verbal commitments for the second consecutive weekend, it would be difficult to label it as anything other than a success.

The talent on hand started up front, as three offensive linemen -- Kyle Murphy (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente), Zach Banner (Lakewood, Wash./Lakes) and Hiva Lutui (Euless, Tex./Trinity) were on campus. Heading into the weekend, it was a safe assumption that Stanford held the advantage for Murphy. He had long been a Cardinal lean and was coming off a very positive visit to Stanford. But the Trojans made up some ground during the visit, and it now appears this could be a real race to signing day between the two programs.

As one of the biggest players in the 2012 class, Banner leaves an impression everywhere he goes, but the bigger story from the weekend is the impression USC left on him. Banner had taken two unofficial visits to USC in the past, so this wasn't his first experience with the school. But official visits offer another level of insight, and Banner came away impressed.