USC Trojans: Football Recruiting

USC Trojans recruiting notebook 

October, 13, 2014
Oct 13
10:49
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Sidelined since the end of the 2013 season after injuring his knee and undergoing surgery, ESPN 300 defensive tackle and USC commit Jacob Daniel made his highly anticipated return to action this past Friday night, helping his Fresno (Calif.) Clovis North team take down Fresno (Calif.) Clovis West 32-0.

Moving well and showing no obvious lingering effects from his injury, the 6-foot-4, 320-pound Daniel made his presence felt right from the get-go when he recorded a sack on his very first series.

[+] EnlargeJacob Daniel
Johnny Curren/ESPNUSC defensive line commit Jacob Daniel made his season debut last Friday and says he's "100 percent Trojan."
“It just felt good to see all of my hard work come together,” said Daniel, who was presented with his U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey one day prior to his 2014 debut. “I’ve worked so hard coming back from surgery, and it just felt good for all of that to pay off and to actually have a pretty productive night.”

Daniel, who committed to the Trojans in May, had an opportunity to travel down to Los Angeles Oct. 4 to see USC take on Arizona State. And while Steve Sarkisian’s squad ultimately came out on the losing end in that contest, the unofficial visit still left a positive impression on him.

When the USC Trojans scrimmaged in the Coliseum last week, there was a notable sideline visitor in highly ranked cornerback Iman “Biggie” Marshall.


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Nearly 90 recruits -- including 10 ESPN 300 prospects -- made commitments to the Pac-12 since the start of June, as the conference recruiting race heated up alongside the weather this summer. Not surpisingly, even with the boon over the past two and a half months, the Pac-12 still lags behind other conferences when it comes to sheer commitment numbers. Many Pac-12 programs have become content to wait until the season, or after the season, to put an emphasis on official visits and commitments. At this point, 35 programs hold commitments from 16 or more recruits, and only one of those -- Arizona -- resides in the Pac-12.


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ESPN 300 wide receiver Tristan Payton gave a verbal commitment on Friday to the USC Trojans.



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USC scored a big get following Day 2 of fall camp on Tuesday as Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola Class of 2015 defensive end Christian Rector verbally committed to the Trojans.


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Steve Sarkisian added some intrigue to the future of USC's quarterback recruiting last week with a pair of offers to Class of 2016 prospects Shea Patterson and K.J. Costello.

 It may seem a little early to be jockeying for position with players who haven’t started their junior years of high school yet, but that’s not the case in the current world of quarterback recruiting. This process seems to move up every year.

Sarkisian had already extended one offer earlier in this spring to Malik Henry, the No. 2-ranked player in the ESPN Junior 300. Henry, a terrific athlete at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, has received interest from schools such as UCLA, Texas, Tennessee, Notre Dame and Florida State.


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The tailback recruiting picture got a little clearer for the USC Trojans on Monday night with the verbal commitment from Aca'Cedric Ware.

USC coach Steve Sarkisian had stated at the beginning of the recruiting cycle for the Class of 2015 that he would be looking to take two tailbacks, and that was before the transfer of Ty Isaac at the end of spring ball. With only one underclass scholarship tailback on the roster (Justin Davis), there was a definite need at the spot and it figured the Trojans would have their pick of players to choose from.


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The Trojans scored a big get on Monday night when Cedar Hill (Texas) Class of 2015 running back Aca'Cedric Ware committed to USC. The Trojans, who likely need two tailbacks in this class, just lost out on Mission Hills (Calif.) Bishop Alemany's Dominic Davis to Washington State last weekl. There simply aren’t a lot of prospects at the position on USC’s radar, so Ware’s commitment is significant.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound ball carrier attended the Rising Stars camp earlier this summer, and he obviously impressed enough for the Trojans staff to continue in their pursuit of him. Ware rushed for 1,289 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2013, and he averaged 9.27 yards per carry. He chose USC over Iowa, Notre Dame and Ohio State, and he becomes the 13th commitment for Trojans from the Class of 2015.

Steve Sarkisian and the USC Trojans received a verbal commitment on Saturday from ESPN Junior 300 athlete Daelin Hayes.


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Mission Hills (California) Bishop Alemany wide receiver Desean Holmes gave the USC Trojans a commitment on Monday.


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HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- The Battle of the Beach passing tournament was held Saturday at Huntington Beach Edison High School with a loaded field that included plenty of USC recruits.

One of the bigger highlights was the opportunity to watch two of the top 2016 quarterbacks in Malik Henry and K.J. Costello. Henry has a USC offer and was recently named the No. 2 prospect in the 2016 ESPN Junior 300, while Costello checked in at No. 61 on that list. The two had a chance to match up in the quarterfinals at the event, with Costello leading his Santa Margarita team to a victory over Henry and Westlake.


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The Opening Wednesday recap 

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
10:52
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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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WeAreSC The Opening notebook 

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
11:08
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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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