USC defeated Cal, 48-14, last weekend and it was an eye-opening experience for Palmdale, Calif., defensive end Steve Dillon, who was at the game and said the Trojans have moved up in a big way for his services.
Cal and UCLA had been co-leaders but then USC offered in recent weeks and the pounding the Trojans delivered last weekend was a clear message to Dillon that they might be the team he wants to play for.
Dillon, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound three-star prospect, said USC is moving up fast but he still plans to take some visits before making a commitment.
"That game was pretty great," Dillon said. "I wasn't expecting that game to be as much of a blowout as it was. I thought Cal would give them more of a look, hold them down a little bit more. I thought they might even win that game but it shocked me.
"It was a big deal for me. Say I went to Cal and then we come to play USC. I don't want to get on that bus knowing we're probably going to get beat. That was pretty amazing how they blew them out of the water but every team has bad performances."
Dillon has scheduled an official visit to Utah in early January and said he wants to check out the Utes because he has such a good relationship with assistant head coach and defensive line coach John Pease.
"They're a good program and I get along with coach Pease," Dillon said. "He and I are really tight. I just want to go down there and see what they're really about because I can't really tell what they're about over the phone."
Rated as the No. 46 strong-side defensive end nationally, Dillon also plans to visit Cal and Washington and possibly Oregon State although no dates have been set for any of those trips.
After watching USC dominate the Golden Bears last weekend the Trojans are now the team to beat. Dillon will take his visits but USC has made up ground on all of its Pac-10 foes in Dillon's recruitment.
"I'm still going to take my visits but USC did move up in a major way for me," Dillon said. "I still want to see other places before I make any final decisions."