USC Trojans: Football Recruiting

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- It was a full day of on-field work as the linemen put on pads and the skill players were divided into teams for the start of 7-on-7 pool play.

Here's a rundown of some of the USC recruits in action:

  • WR Christian Kirk: I would say Kirk was as good as any player I saw today who wasn't named Calvin Ridley. Kirk had multiple touchdowns during the day from the slot, including a pair down the middle where he simply split the defense and outran everybody to the end zone. The common speculation among the recruiting media is that this one is a USC-Texas A&M recruiting battle, and whoever lands Kirk is getting a good one.
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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The first day of The Opening was highlighted by a commitment for the Trojans from Isaiah Langley (Pleasanton, California/Foothill), the No. 7-rated athlete in the ESPN 300 rankings. Langley (6-foot, 164 pounds) is a versatile receiver/corner who will focus on the defensive side of the ball for the Trojans. With good height and long arms to go along with solid coverage skills, Langley is the latest example of USC coach Steve Sarkisian's efforts to upgrade the cornerback spot.

"I'm a lockdown corner," Langley said. "I can bring some kind of physicality, but for the most part I'm a coverage guy."


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LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. -- Nineteen of the nation's top quarterbacks landed in northwest Oregon on Saturday afternoon, a day before the annual Elite 11 quarterback competition begins. While eyes will be focused on several storylines during the event -- including having the top six dual-threat quarterbacks in the country on hand -- attention on Saturday turned to the few uncommitted quarterbacks in attendance, including Sam Darnold, Torrance Gibson and Deondre Francois.


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Five things for USC fans to watch for at The Opening:

[+] EnlargeRicky Town
Tom Hauck for Student SportsUSC commit Ricky Town is looking to erase any doubts that he belongs among the elite QBs in his class.
1. Quarterbacks: There will be a lot of eyes on both Ricky Town and Sam Darnold at this event, but for very different reasons. Town is the USC verbal, the one who Steve Sarkisian focused on right away when he got the job, but Town’s star has fallen a little bit in the recruiting world this spring. That may not mean anything in the long run but perception is important at an event like this and you know that Town would love nothing more than to come out and put on a performance that removes any doubt that he belongs among the elite quarterbacks in the country. Darnold recently received a USC offer after a spring that saw him go from unranked player (missed most of junior year due to injury) to one of the hottest names on the camp circuit. There would be no better way to justify the recent hype than a strong showing in this setting.

2. Outside linebackers: The big names on the USC wish list will be there, from John Houston Jr. to Osa Masina and Porter Gustin. All three have offers, although it's unclear which position Gustin will eventually play at the college level. Houston and Masina both seem tailor-made for the outside linebacker spot with tall, lean frames and long arms. It will be a great chance to see them in action together and, to top it off, Ben Humphreys will also be in attendance and he’s attracted a lot of attention from SC coaches so far, but no offer yet.

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The Opening presented by Nike Football will take place July 7-10 at Nike World Headquarters in Oregon, with 162 of the nation's top high school football prospects set to compete. With four days of dynamic training, coaching and competition among the best of the best, The Opening is the perfect chance for recruits in the Class of 2015 to make big jumps and shine on the national stage.

Here are five prospects with the most to gain at the prestigious event:


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LOS ANGELES -- USC's Rising Stars Camp reached its conclusion on Thursday afternoon, and the biggest news to trickle out of the two-day event revolved around a trio of prospects who earned scholarship offers as a result of impressive performances. They are Class of 2015 recruits Dominic Davis (Mission Hills, Calif./Bishop Alemany) and Tristan Payton (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast), as well as Mique Juarez (Torrance, Calif./North Torrance) out of the Class of 2016.


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LOS ANGELES -- A loaded field of prospects converged on the USC campus on Wednesday for the first day of the Rising Stars Camp -- a fact that had to please first-year Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian and staff.


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Trojans pick up big juco WR 

June, 24, 2014
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The USC Trojans have dipped into the junior college ranks for their latest commitment as Long Beach City College wide receiver De’Quan Hampton gave a verbal commit on Sunday.

Long Beach City College coach Brent Peabody believes the Trojans should be pleased.


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Notebook: IMG 7v7 Championship 

June, 23, 2014
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BRADENTON, Fla. -- The IMG 7v7 National Championship held at IMG Academy over the weekend featured some of the top 7-on-7 teams from all over the country and even a few teams from Canada. The event, which included 12 prospects ranked in the top 50 of the ESPN 300, showcased some of the best talent you will find in a single tournament. Led by Alabama verbal commits Calvin Ridley and Shawn Burgess-Becker, the Florida Fire from South Florida defeated Tampa’s Unsigned Preps 20-18 in the championship game to take home the title.

Quarterbacks shine

There were several high-profile quarterbacks in attendance, and they lived up to the hype for the most part. Deondre Francois, who recently transferred to IMG Academy, made numerous impressive throws. The 6-foot-2, 188-pound signal-caller has a top three of Oregon, Auburn and Florida State and is planning to make his decision at the end of July.


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Pac-12 recruiting roundup

June, 23, 2014
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Things might slow down a bit in the coming weeks on the recruiting trail. Coaches are probably getting in their last-minute calls before the dead period goes into effect at the end of this month.

For now, here is where the Pac-12 schools stand in the recruiting game.

As always, you can view the ESPN 300 here and the current class rankings here.

Arizona

2015 commits: 14
ESPN 300 commits: 1
ESPN 300 players: Keenan Walker, OT, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Arizona State

2015 commits: 8
ESPN 300 commits: 1
ESPN 300 players: Brady White, QB-PP, Newhall, California.

California

2015 commits: 5
ESPN 300 commits: 0

Colorado

2015 commits: 4
ESPN 300 commits: 0

Oregon

2015 commits: 6
ESPN 300 commits: 2
ESPN 300 players: Taj Griffin, RB, Powder Springs, Georgia; Zach Okun, OG, Newbury Park, California.

Oregon State

2015 commits: 4
ESPN 300 commits: 0

Stanford

2015 commits: 4
ESPN 300 commits: 2
ESPN 300 players: Arrington Farrar, S, College Park Georgia.; Brian Chaffin, OC, Charlotte, North Carolina.

UCLA

2015 commits: 6
ESPN 300 commits: 3
ESPN 300 players: Josh Rosen, QB-PP, Bellflower, California; Alize Jones, TE-Y, Las Vegas; Tevita Halalilo, OG, Moreno Valley, California.

USC

2015 commits: 8
ESPN 300 commits: 4
ESPN 300 players: Chuma Edoga, OT, Powder Springs, Georgia; Ricky Town, QB-PP, Ventura, California; Jacob Daniel, DT, Fresno, California; Cameron Smith, ILB, Granite Bay, California; Noah Jefferson, DT, Las Vegas.

Utah

2015 commits: 8
ESPN 300 commits: 0

Washington

2015 commits: 5
ESPN 300 commits: 1
ESPN 300 players: Jake Browning, QB-PP, Folsom, California.

Washington State

2015 commits: 6
ESPN 300 commits: 2
ESPN 300 players: Thomas Toki, DT, Mountain View, California; Austin Joyner, RB, Marysville, Washington.
College coaches and recruits are always quick to proclaim their school as the best at developing certain positions. Whether it’s DBU or Linebacker U, recruits have a definite perception of which school stands out at their position.

Prospects from across the country were polled on which school has been the best at developing each position over the past 10 years. Did your school make the list?


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The battle for ESPN 300 receiver Ryan Newsome, at least among out-of-state suitors, just got a whole lot more riveting.

The coast-to-coast recruitment of one of the fastest receivers in the country already carried plenty of intrigue heading into the week, but that only grew after Newsome, of Aledo, Texas, wrapped up visits to the Los Angeles schools on Tuesday. The speedster arrived in town on Sunday, then checked out UCLA and USC on back-to-back days.

And by the sound of it, yet another recruiting battle could be brewing in Southern California.


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Top Pac-12 recruiters 

June, 9, 2014
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The Pac-12 recruiter rankings feature a mix of established vets from Oregon and Oregon State who have won numerous recruiting battles but haven’t grabbed the national headlines they’ve deserved and fast-rising assistants at USC and UCLA who can recruit well both in the West and on the national stage.(


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CORONA, Calif. -- Five USC representatives, including head coach Steve Sarkisian and recruiting coordinator Peter Sirmon, dropped by Prime Time Polynesian’s “The Kumite” linemen camp on Sunday to check out the high-intensity competition and get a glimpse at some potential prospects.

The staff’s involvement came as no surprise given that USC incoming freshmen Viane Talamaivao, Damien Mama, Toa Lobendahn and John “Juju” Smith were some of the college-bound prospects to compete in last year’s event, raising the anticipation level for this year's version.


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GARDENA, Calif. -- The thrill hasn’t gotten old for Chuck Kimbell.

When former USC wide receiver Marqise Lee walked across the Radio City Music Hall stage last month after being selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the NFL draft, his high school position coach cracked a wide smile from across the country, knowing yet another of his pupils had accomplished a lifelong goal.

Kimbell hardly had any time to bask in the moment, though. Just six picks after Lee came off the board, the Seattle Seahawks took former Colorado receiver Paul Richardson, another graduate of Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra, where Kimbell has coached for a dozen years.

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