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USC had found a spot among O'Fallon, Ill., defensive end Dewayne Hendrix's favorites after a summer visit, but it had fallen off the pace in recent weeks. The firing of Lane Kiffin, however, has Hendrix looking west again.
"At first, it was just Tennessee and Florida that I was looking hard at, but now that (Kiffin) got fired I am really going to look at (USC) harder," Hendrix said. "I see it as a positive because when I went to the school I liked everything, but I would have liked to have talked to him more."
Hendrix visited USC in August, attending one of the Trojans' practices. Although he did not speak with Kiffin much during that visit, he connected with defensive line coach Ed Orgeron.
"I like the defensive line coach a lot," Hendrix said. "I don't think (Orgeron's status) would affect the way I feel about them. I'd still like them a lot."
With USC moving back up Hendrix's list, the four-star defensive end has a top five of Florida, Tennessee, USC, Missouri and Indiana. A couple more schools sit just outside of that group, and he plans to take all of his official visits.
"Missouri and Indiana are in my top five," Hendrix said. "I am going to try to get Missouri and South Carolina (official visits) set up, because I want to see Jadeveon Clowney. Those will probably be January (visits)."
Hendrix has official visits scheduled with Tennessee and Florida, and the trip to Knoxville is coming up next weekend.
"I am going to Tennessee for the Georgia game," he said. "I am hoping it will be a good game, and I want to re-see what I have already seen, kind of take my time and let my family see it to."
Hendrix plans to drive to Knoxville shortly after his game on Friday night. He will be joined on that visit by his mother, brother and uncle.
Josh Helmholdt is the Midwest Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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