- Blair Angulo, Reporter, WeAreSC.com
LOS ANGELES -- USC coaches hit the recruiting trail for the first time this spring since the post-signing day staff shakeup, using the evaluation period to reset their boards and assess prospects from all corners of the country.
Here’s an overview of the evaluation period as it relates to offensive recruits:
The staff wasted no time to find out what the Class of 2015 has to offer, checking on Kevin Dillman (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), Sherrion Jones (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde) and Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) on the first day of the evaluation period. Ed Orgeron, who was at La Mirada for its 5 a.m. workout on the first day, later made a stop at Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian to see 2014 signal-caller Brandon Dawkins, among others. Though interest has heightened in recent weeks, an offer has not yet been extended to Dawkins as the Trojans wait on top target Keller Chryst (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) to make his choice. Tommie Robinson saw ESPN 150 member Kyle Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) early in the period, but USC was never seriously involved with the Texas A&M commit.
Robinson told ESPN 150 member Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) he was USC’s No. 1 priority at the position and proved it by seeing him the first day of the period. Mixon later visited campus along with good friends and fellow Northern California-based recruits D.J. Calhoun and Adarius Pickett of El Cerrito (Calif.). The Trojans also sent out another in-state offe to four-star prospect Royce Freeman (Imperial, Calif./Imperial) in early May. Before that, assistant coach Clay Helton attended the Canyon Country (Calif.) Canyon passing tournament, where target Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale) competed. After signing Justin Davis and Ty Isaac in the 2013 class, running back isn’t the most pressing need in this cycle, but the Trojans would surely like to land at least one of their in-state targets.
ESPN 150 athletes John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central) are undoubtedly the top targets, but Erik Brown (Fontana, Calif./Summit) emerged as another candidate. Offers went out to Class of 2015 standouts Cordell Broadus (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar) and Desean Holmes (Mission Hills, Calif./Bishop Alemany), while 2016 athlete Brandon Burton (Gardena, Calif./Serra) also bagged an offer from the Trojans. Saeed Blacknall (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan), Jalen Brown (Phoenix/Mountain Pointe), Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian) and Alex Van Dyke (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks) also drew visits.
The Trojans checked in with local priority Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), and extended offers to Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) and Dalton Schultz (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham) in an effort to secure some options. USC, which didn’t sign a tight end in the 2013 recruiting class, also looked toward the Midwest for talent, with assistant coach Mike Ekeler making a run at Ian Bunting (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) before he committed to Michigan and offering under-the-radar pass-catcher Ryan Izzo (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII). Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) also worked out in front of Robinson.
The decommitment of ESPN 150 offensive tackle Casey Tucker (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton) created a ripple effect that helped Andrew Mike (Tucson, Ariz./Sabino), Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and Kaleb McGary (Fife, Wash./Fife) add USC offers. The Trojans appear to have entered the picture too late for Talamaivao, who committed to Alabama. ESPN 150 offensive guard Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) surfaced as perhaps the No. 1 priority in the area, while Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch) could be a possibility moving forward.
1dKevin Gemmell and Erik McKinney