USC Trojans: Maryland Terrapins

Notebook: IMG 7v7 Championship 

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
10:00
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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.

Position U: Linebacker

June, 18, 2014
Jun 18
9:30
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video
Who really deserves to claim the title of “Linebacker U” for the 2000s?


1. Ohio State (222 points)


Move over Penn State. Ohio State is the new “Linebacker U” -- and the Buckeyes claimed the title in a blowout. In many of these positional rankings, only a handful of points separate first and second place. At linebacker, the Buckeyes finished nearly 50 points ahead of second-place Alabama. But when your players stockpile national awards and All-America honors and then many more go on to become NFL draft picks, you put your program in position to rank at the top of this list. Players such as A.J. Hawk, James Laurinaitis and most recently Ryan Shazier have done that in Columbus.

Award winners: A.J. Hawk, Lombardi (2005); James Laurinaitis, Butkus (2007), Nagurski (2008), Lott (2008).
Consensus All-Americans: Matt Wilhelm (2002), A.J. Hawk (2004, 2005), James Laurinaitis (2006, 2007, 2008).
First-team all-conference: Joe Cooper (2000), Matt Wilhelm (2002), A.J. Hawk (2003, 2004, 2005), James Laurinaitis (2006, 2007, 2008), Ross Homan (2010), Brian Rolle (2010), Ryan Shazier (2012, 2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: A.J. Hawk (2006), Bobby Carpenter (2006), Ryan Shazier (2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Cie Grant (Round 3, 2003), Matt Wilhelm (Round 4, 2003), Anthony Schlegel (Round 3, 2006), James Laurinaitis (Round 2, 2009), Thaddeus Gibson (Round 4, 2010), John Simon (Round 4, 2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Courtland Bullard (Round 5, 2002), Rob Reynolds (Round 5, 2004), Larry Grant (Round 7, 2008), Marcus Freeman (Round 5, 2009), Austin Spitler (Round 7, 2010), Brian Rolle (Round 6, 2011), Ross Homan (Round 6, 2011).


T-2. Alabama (174)


The Crimson Tide has claimed two Butkus Awards and has had four consensus All-Americans at linebacker since 2009, when Alabama won the first of its three BCS titles under Nick Saban. Alabama also has had three linebackers picked in the first round (Rolando McClain, Dont’a Hightower and C.J. Mosley) and five linebackers overall drafted during that run of dominance.

Award winners: DeMeco Ryans, Lott (2005); Rolando McClain, Butkus (2009); C.J. Mosley, Butkus (2013).
Consensus All-Americans: DeMeco Ryans (2005), Rolando McClain (2009), Dont’a Hightower (2011), C.J. Mosley (2012, 2013).
First-team all-conference: Saleem Rasheed (2001), Derrick Pope (2003), Cornelius Wortham (2004), DeMeco Ryans (2005), Rolando McClain (2008, 2009), Dont’a Hightower (2011), Courtney Upshaw (2011), C.J. Mosley (2012, 2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Rolando McClain (2010), Dont’a Hightower (2012), C.J. Mosley (2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Saleem Rasheed (Round 3, 2002), DeMeco Ryans (Round 2, 2006), Courtney Upshaw (Round 2, 2012), Nico Johnson (Round 4, 2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Derrick Pope (Round 7, 2004), Cornelius Wortham (Round 7, 2005).


T-2. Oklahoma (174)


Hey, what do you know? Oklahoma is near the top of the rankings at another position. At linebacker, the Sooners’ position is largely because of the early-2000s run when Rocky Calmus and Teddy Lehman cleaned up on the awards and All-America circuit. It also helps that Oklahoma has had 12 linebackers drafted since 2001.

Award winners: Rocky Calmus, Butkus (2001); Teddy Lehman, Bednarik (2003), Butkus (2003).
Consensus All-Americans: Rocky Calmus (2000, 2001), Teddy Lehman (2002, 2003), Curtis Lofton (2007).
First-team all-conference: Rocky Calmus (2000, 2001), Jimmy Wilkerson (2001), Teddy Lehman (2002, 2003), Dan Cody (2003), Lance Mitchell (2004), Rufus Alexander (2005, 2006), Curtis Lofton (2007), Travis Lewis (2009).
NFL first-round draft picks: None.
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Torrance Marshall (Round 3, 2001), Rocky Calmus (Round 3, 2002), Teddy Lehman (Round 2, 2004), Dan Cody (Round 2, 2005), Clint Ingram (Round 3, 2006), Curtis Lofton (Round 2, 2008), Keenan Clayton (Round 4, 2010).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Lance Mitchell (Round 5, 2005), Rufus Alexander (Round 6, 2007), Nic Harris (Round 5, 2009), Travis Lewis (Round 7, 2012), Corey Nelson (Round 7, 2014).


T-4. USC (140)


It should come as no surprise that the greater portion of USC’s linebacker point total came during its mid-2000s run, when it was an annual BCS title contender. Standout linebackers such as Rey Maualuga -- the 2008 Bednarik Award winner, consensus All-American and three-time All-Pac-10 selection -- Keith Rivers, Matt Grootegoed and Brian Cushing helped the Trojans become the nation’s most dominant program during that period.

Award winners: Rey Maualuga, Bednarik (2008).
Consensus All-Americans: Matt Grootegoed (2004), Rey Maualuga (2008).
First-team all-conference: Matt Grootegoed (2002, 2004), Lofa Tatupu (2004), Rey Maualuga (2006, 2007, 2008), Keith Rivers (2006, 2007), Brian Cushing (2008).
NFL first-round draft picks: Keith Rivers (2008), Brian Cushing (2009), Clay Matthews (2009), Nick Perry (2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Markus Steele (Round 4, 2001), Lofa Tatupu (Round 2, 2005), Kaluka Maiava (Round 4, 2009), Rey Maualuga (Round 2, 2009).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Zeke Moreno (Round 5, 2001), Oscar Lua (Round 7, 2007), Dallas Sartz (Round 5, 2007), Thomas Williams (Round 5, 2008), Malcolm Smith (Round 7, 2011), Devon Kennard (Round 5, 2014).


T-4. Miami (140)


When your program has 12 players from one position drafted and four of them go in the first round, chances are you’ll rank toward the top of the board. That’s the case with Miami, which had Dan Morgan (who won three national awards and was a consensus All-American in 2000), Jonathan Vilma, D.J. Williams and Jon Beason all become first-round picks after standout careers in Coral Gables.

Award winners: Dan Morgan, Bednarik (2000), Nagurski (2000), Butkus (2000).
Consensus All-Americans: Dan Morgan (2000).
First-team all-conference: Dan Morgan (2000), Jonathan Vilma (2001, 2002, 2003), D.J. Williams (2003), Sean Spence (2011), Denzel Perryman (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Dan Morgan (2001), Jonathan Vilma (2004), D.J. Williams (2004), Jon Beason (2007).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Rocky McIntosh (Round 2, 2006), Leon Williams (Round 4, 2006), Tavares Gooden (Round 3, 2008), Darryl Sharpton (Round 4, 2010), Colin McCarthy (Round 4, 2011), Sean Spence (Round 3, 2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Darrell McClover (Round 7, 2004), Spencer Adkins (Round 6, 2009).


6. Penn State (134)


The old “Linebacker U” still makes our top 10. In fact, Penn State still has plenty to brag about at the position where it has long been known for producing stars. The Nittany Lions earned four national awards and three All-America designations between Paul Posluszny and Dan Connor, plus they had nine players drafted since 2001.

Award winners: Paul Posluszny, Butkus (2005), Bednarik (2005, 2006); Dan Connor, Bednarik (2007).
Consensus All-Americans: Paul Posluszny (2005, 2006), Dan Connor (2007).
First-team all-conference: Paul Posluszny (2005, 2006), Dan Connor (2007), NaVorro Bowman (2008, 2009), Gerald Hodges (2011), Michael Mauti (2012).
NFL first-round draft picks: None.
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Paul Posluszny (Round 2, 2007), Dan Connor (Round 3, 2008), Sean Lee (Round 2, 2010), NaVorro Bowman (Round 3, 2010), Gerald Hodges (Round 4, 2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Tim Shaw (Round 5, 2007), Josh Hull (Round 7, 2010), Nathan Stupar (Round 7, 2012), Michael Mauti (Round 7, 2013).


7. Georgia (110)


Two-time All-American Jarvis Jones and fellow 2013 first-round pick Alec Ogletree might get most of the glory, but this group is chock full of talent. Justin Houston is making his mark as a pass-rusher in the NFL and there are a bunch of old war horses such as Will Witherspoon, Kendrell Bell and Tony Gilbert who hung around the league for several years.

Award winners: None.
Consensus All-Americans: Jarvis Jones (2011, 2012).
First-team all-conference: Boss Bailey (2002), Odell Thurman (2003, 2004), Rennie Curran (2008, 2009), Jarvis Jones (2011, 2012), Ramik Wilson (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Jarvis Jones (2013), Alec Ogletree (2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Kendrell Bell (Round 2, 2001), Will Witherspoon (Round 3, 2002), Boss Bailey (Round 2, 2003), Odell Thurman (Round 2, 2005), Rennie Curran (Round 3, 2010), Justin Houston (Round 3, 2011), Akeem Dent (Round 3, 2011).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Tony Gilbert (Round 6, 2003).


8. Texas (108)


Texas snuck into the top 10 on the back of Derrick Johnson, who won both the Nagurski and Butkus awards in 2004 and was a consensus All-American in 2003 and 2004 before becoming a 2005 first-round draft pick. The current Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl linebacker accounted for 62 of the Longhorns’ 108 points in the linebacker rankings.

Award winners: Derrick Johnson, Nagurski (2004), Butkus (2004).
Consensus All-Americans: Derrick Johnson (2003, 2004).
First-team all-conference: Cory Redding (2001), Derrick Johnson (2002, 2003, 2004), Aaron Harris (2005), Sergio Kindle (2008), Emmanuel Acho (2011).
NFL first-round draft picks: Derrick Johnson (2005).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Roddrick Muckelroy (Round 4, 2010), Sergio Kindle (Round 2, 2010), Sam Acho (Round 4, 2011), Keenan Robinson (Round 4, 2012), Alex Okafor (Round 4, 2013).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Emmanuel Acho (Round 6, 2012).


9. Boston College (104): Luke Kuechly is responsible for most of the points here. The four-time award winner in 2011, was twice named a consensus All-American, earned all-conference honors three times and became a first-round draft pick. That's a grand total of 84 points for the Carolina Panthers star. The Eagles also have an active string of first-team all-conference linebackers that started with Mark Herzlich in 2008.

Award winners: Luke Kuechly, Nagurski (2011), Lombardi (2011), Lott (2011), Butkus (2011).
Consensus All-Americans: Luke Kuechly (2010, 2011).
First-team all-conference: Mark Herzlich (2008), Luke Kuechly (2009, 2010, 2011), Nick Clancy (2012), Kevin Pierre-Louis (2013).
NFL first-round draft picks: Luke Kuechly (2012).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Kevin Pierre-Louis (Round 4, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: None.


T-10. Maryland (100)

E.J. Henderson accounts for more than half of Maryland’s points thanks in large part to his two national awards and two consensus All-America designations. Henderson is among three Terrapins linebackers who made the All-ACC first team twice (along with D’Qwell Jackson and Alex Wujciak), while Shawne Merriman is the only Terp during the 2000s to be selected in the first round of the draft.

Award winners: E.J. Henderson, Bednarik (2002), Butkus (2002).
Consensus All-Americans: E.J. Henderson (2001, 2002).
First-team all-conference: E.J. Henderson (2001, 2002), D’Qwell Jackson (2004, 2005), Erin Henderson (2007), Alex Wujciak (2009, 2010).
NFL first-round draft picks: Shawne Merriman (Round 1, 2005).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: E.J. Henderson (Round 2, 2003), Leon Joe (Round 4, 2004), D’Qwell Jackson (Round 2, 2006)
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Moise Fokou (Round 7, 2009).


T-10. Notre Dame (100)


There are times when a single player’s excellence is the difference between a school's spot falling near the top of the rankings and its sitting further down the list. Such is the case with Manti Te’o, who accounted for 82 points in his incredible 2012 season alone (seven national awards, a consensus All-America selection and then becoming a second-round NFL pick). Notre Dame is penalized in these team rankings by not earning points for all-conference honorees, so its spot in this top 10 speaks to how impressive Te’o’s 2012 season truly was.

Award winners: Manti Te’o, Maxwell (2012), Camp (2012), Nagurski (2021), Lombardi (2012), Bednarik (2012), Lott (2012), Butkus (2012).
Consensus All-Americans: Manti Te’o (2012).
First-team all-conference: Not applicable.
NFL first-round draft picks: None.
NFL draft picks, Rounds 2-4: Rocky Boiman (Round 4, 2002), Courtney Watson (Round 2, 2004), Manti Te’o (Round 2, 2013), Prince Shembo (Round 4, 2014).
NFL draft picks, Rounds 5-7: Anthony Denman (Round 7, 2001), Tyreo Harrison (Round 6, 2002), Darius Fleming (Round 5, 2012).

REST OF “LINEBACKER U” RANKINGS
98 – Florida State; 92 – UCLA; 72 – Florida, Stanford; 66 – Iowa, TCU, Wisconsin; 64 – Nebraska; 62 – Michigan State, Oregon State, Tennessee; 60 – LSU, Pittsburgh; 58 – Virginia Tech; 56 – West Virginia; 48 – NC State; 46 – Michigan, Ole Miss, Purdue; 44 – BYU, California, Kansas State; 42 – North Carolina; 40 – Illinois; 38 – Clemson, Iowa State, Texas A&M; 36 – Arizona, Auburn, Syracuse; 34 – Arizona State, Utah, Wake Forest; 32 – Missouri, South Carolina, Virginia; 30 – Arkansas, Georgia Tech; 28 – Kentucky; 26 – Northwestern, Vanderbilt; 24 – Colorado, Oregon; 20 – Washington; 18 – Oklahoma State, Rutgers; 16 – Mississippi State; 14 – Kansas, Louisville; 12 – Baylor; 10 – Washington State; 6 – Duke; 4 – Texas Tech; 2 – Minnesota; 0 – Indiana

UA Game jersey tour: Jalen Tabor

November, 1, 2013
11/01/13
10:50
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Senior cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy) was presented his honorary game jersey at his school on Thursday, during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game. The event was part of the three-month tour.

Tabor, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh-annual Under Armour All-America Game presented by American Family Insurance, a nationally televised competition spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors. The 2014 Under Armour All-America Game is set for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.

“Thank all of y’all for coming out,” Tabor said. “It’s truly a blessing for me. I want to thank my parents, coach [Aazar Abdul-]Rahim, all the coaches … this is just a very special moment. I want to thank God. I want to thank all my teammates, y’all come in every day and fight with me.”

Abdul-Rahim says his star player's work ethic sets him apart.

“What makes Jalen special is one, he has God given ability," the coach explained. "He’s got great ball skills. And the main thing and most important thing is his work ethic. He’s a tireless worker. He’s been a consistent worker on and off the field. From weight training to individual DB work to work on his own.”

Tabor is always looking to test himself, and selecting the UA Game was the best way for him to do that.

"I decided to accept the invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game because I definitely wanted to play against the best kids from around the country, to test my skills, and to let the whole world know who I am," Tabor said. "In the game, it’s definitely playing against all the best kids. Every snap, you have to be on your 'A' game. Definitely to test myself, that’s going to be the best thing I’m looking for in the game is to see where I’m at. It's definitely a blessing to be invited to this game.

"You got Julio Jones, A.J. Green and guys who are top-10 receivers in the NFL, and that’s what I want to be one day … a top-10 corner in the NFL. I can't wait to go to Florida and see everyone, and to be on national television each day of the week. I’m looking forward to showing the whole country who I am and what I can do on the football field."

The 6-foot, 188-pound Tabor is the No. 15-ranked prospect overall, and the No. 5 corner in the class. He is considering Maryland, Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Florida State and possibly USC.

Coveted OLB names a top five 

March, 14, 2013
3/14/13
6:05
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Outside linebacker Jacob Pugh (Tallahassee, Fla./Godby) isn’t exactly sure of how many offers he has. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound junior has not counted them. Once he had received over 30 offers to the top programs in the nation, there really seemed no point in doing so. Pugh is more concerned about the five that he has on top.


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With more than two dozen offers, Jonathan Hilliman (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter’s Prep) has the attention of schools all over the country. He knows some point over these next few months he will have to begin whittling his list down.


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Early playing time, fantastic facilities and long-standing traditions are nice. Paul Harris prefers relationships.

The receiver from Upper Marlboro (Md.) Douglass has cited his relationships with Tennessee's coaches as the primary reason he committed to the Vols in July. Harris is all too aware that those relationships may soon be in jeopardy.

With a 4-6 record (0-6 in the SEC), Tennessee's football program could soon face a transition if third-year head coach Derek Dooley is not retained. From afar, Harris has seen the issues facing the program. They prompted him to ask some tough questions of his lead recruiter, receivers coach Darin Hinshaw.

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If Wilton Speight is as patient in the pocket as he is in recruiting, he'll be just fine.

The ESPN Watch List quarterback prospect from Richmond (Va.) Collegiate still doesn't have his first scholarship offer despite several recruiters telling him he's toward the top of their recruiting board. And Speight just takes it in stride.

"I'm remaining patient and trusting that if I keep doing what I am doing things will fall into place nicely," the 6-foot-5, 220-pound junior said.

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Max Garcia visits USC 

April, 6, 2012
4/06/12
12:32
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LOS ANGELES -- Maryland offensive line transfer Max Garcia (6-foot-4, 310 pounds) was on USC's campus yesterday and stopped by USC practice.

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High four-star athlete Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Good Counsel), ranked No. 13 in the ESPNU 150, stuck to his plan and did not sign Wednesday.

Diggs took official visits to California (Dec. 2), Auburn (Jan. 13), Florida (Jan. 20) and Ohio State (Jan. 27). Other programs including USC, Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech could still be in the mix.

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Florida State will entertain ESPNU 150 prospects Nelson Agholor, Ronald Darby and Leonard Williams this weekend.

Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep), the nation's 41st-ranked prospect, has said that the Seminoles are part of his top group of schools with Notre Dame, Florida, USC and Oklahoma.

This is his fourth official visit, with the final one expected to be USC.

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Analysis: Ronald Darby's options 

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
9:16
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Clearly Notre Dame can't be pleased with Ronald Darby's new position.

Once a commitment to the Fighting Irish, the four-star athlete from Oxon Hill (Md.) Potomac decommitted from Notre Dame earlier this week, but that doesn't mean the divorce is final. For now, it's more like a separation.

“I'm still considering them,” Darby said of the Fighting Irish just before he participated in a school track meet on Thursday evening.

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Elite WR Diggs remains open 

January, 10, 2012
1/10/12
5:40
PM PT
Stefon Diggs
William Wilkerson/ESPN.comStefon Diggs is considering USC, Cal, Florida, Auburn, Ohio State and Maryland.
With signing day less than a month away you would think top wide receiver Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) would be closing in on making his decision. Diggs, however, says he’s nowhere near ready to make a college choice.

“I don’t have a leader or top five or anything like that,” Diggs said Tuesday night. “I’m wide open, and I’m planning on waiting until after signing day to make my final decision.”

Diggs, ranked the No.10 player in the country by the ESPNU 150, will visit Auburn this weekend but said he’s not sure what his plans will be in the future.

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U.S. Army AA Bowl film review 

January, 7, 2012
1/07/12
4:41
PM PT
Kevon Seymour (Pasadena, Calif./Muir) -- The biggest highlight on the day for Seymour was his verbal commitment to USC. The speedy two-way athlete found his way to the ball to help make a couple of tackles and was flagged for pass interference, which led to an East touchdown.

Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif./Monrovia) -- The big defensive tackle just knocked the air out of the Trojans coaching staff. McCarthy looked to be leaning towards USC, but announced that he will be taking his talents to California. But all is not lost for the Trojans, because they’ll have one more shot at McCarthy when he takes his official visit to USC in the next couple of weeks. McCarthy started the game at defensive tackle, and was moved to defensive end on the next series and would rotate at both positions throughout the game. He didn’t make any big-time plays and at times seemed to have trouble getting off blocks, but he did do enough to disrupt some reads by the running backs and was stout at the point of attack.

Max Tuerk (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita) -- The only USC commit on the offensive line, some see Tuerk battling for the left tackle job next fall, but he played right guard for the West the whole game. Tuerk looked comfortable at times lining up inside at guard and if he doesn’t get a starting role this season, he could very easily be competing for the utility man job on the line. Tuerk at time had trouble blocking up on the second level, but did make up for it at times with his physical play.

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It was a big day for the Pac-12, as programs throughout the conference received a good look at some future players during the West’s 24-12 victory over the East in the Army All-American Bowl.

For the USC Trojans, the big news came in the form of a verbal commitment from cornerback Kevon Seymour (Pasadena, Calif./Muir). The Trojans had been in a battle with Oregon, California, Washington and UCLA for the talented two-way athlete, but USC solidified its lead over the past few weeks and landed a player with the size and speed capable of making an impact early in his USC career. Seymour was in on a few tackles during the game and was flagged for pass interference on a deep ball.

The Trojans received a big blow when it came to the defensive line, however. Defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia, Calif./Monrovia) committed to the California Golden Bears -- one of three California commits on the day -- putting USC in a very difficult position to land arguably the top defensive lineman in the state. McCarthy will officially visit USC in the coming weeks and the Trojans will still have a chance to sign him, but California has to be considered the heavy favorite at this point. USC will also face an uphill battle for defensive end Tyriq McCord (Tampa, Fla./Jefferson), who committed to Miami during the game. McCord is scheduled to visit USC on Jan. 20, but pulling him away from home could be difficult.

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Nearly a dozen USC recruiting targets will take the field Saturday afternoon for the 2012 Army All-American Bowl (10 a.m. PT, NBC). WeAreSC offers a primer for USC fans wanting to check out the potential future Trojans.

East

No. 1 - WR Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Good Counsel)

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