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Insider

USC targets, commits check in at all-star games

The first all-star game may still be a few days away, but USC targets and commits have been making news since checking in for the various games.

At the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl practices, USC commit Scott Starr (Norco, Calif./Norco) has received rave reviews for his performance, which is no surprise to Trojans fans. Starr has reportedly been a constant presence around the ball and made sure to bring his physical, attacking style of play with him to Arizona.

USC targets Tee Shepard (Fresno, Calif./Washington Union) and Deontay Greenberry (Fresno, Calif./Washington Union) have made some noise during their time at that game as well. Greenberry has shined on both sides of the ball, displaying his ability to make an impact at wide receiver, cornerback or safety at the next level.

Shepard brought plenty of attention to himself when he said he will no longer enroll early at Notre Dame and will choose a school -- either USC or Notre Dame -- out of a hat. It’s hard to imagine that he is serious about the hat proposal, as he is a bit of a jokester. But this development should be taken as a very positive sign for the Trojans. USC coaches have been working hard on Shepard, getting him to take an official visit several weeks ago and persuading him to take a long look at USC. The Trojans would love to add the state’s top cornerback to this class, and Shepard’s delayed decision date could be another crack in his commitment to the Fighting Irish.

Also at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, linebacker Deaysean Rippy (Mckees Rocks, Penn./Sto-Rox) reportedly said he will hit the West Coast twice in January, as he will choose from USC, UCLA and Arizona for his final two visits.

At the Under Armour All-America Game, several big-time USC prospects checked in.

Defensive end Mario Edwards (Denton, Tex./Billy Ryan) was being targeted by the Trojans, but it doesn’t appear he will visit USC, as he is scheduled to trip to Florida State on Jan. 14 and LSU on Jan. 20.

Defensive lineman Leonard Williams (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland) will visit USC on Jan. 20, although the Trojans are in an uphill battle for the big lineman. Williams listed Florida and Auburn as his top two schools, with Florida State also in the mix. A great visit to USC could change things, but right now it looks difficult to pull him away from those SEC schools.

USC wide receiver target Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep) released a top-five list, featuring Florida State, Florida, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC. Agholor will visit Florida State on Jan. 13 and USC on Jan. 20, and said a commitment could come at any time after those visits.

It was a fortuitous bit of scheduling for the Trojans, as USC tight end commit Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick (Rocklin, Calif./Whitney) will room with USC offensive tackle target Andrus Peat (Tempe, Ariz./Corona Del Sol) for the week.

Cope-Fitzpatrick has said before that he doesn’t go out of his way to recruit for the Trojans, as he doesn’t like when fellow recruits push their school on him. But he is a willing participant in conversations about recruiting and potential schools, so it’s likely USC will come up at some point in discussions between the two. Peat confirmed that he is down to Stanford, USC, Nebraska and Florida State, and said of USC, “They have great tradition and great academics as well. Their left tackle just left for the NFL. There could be a good opportunity if I came in early.”

Stanford and Nebraska could be tough to beat here, but the USC coaches have done a tremendous job of staying in it until the end for one of the country’s top tackles. As for Cope-Fitzpatrick, he said he will officially visit Colorado on Jan. 13 and USC on Jan. 20, as well as a possible official visit to UCLA on Jan. 6. He said he is 98-to-99-percent committed to USC, which holds true to what he has said since committing. Basically, he sees himself signing with the Trojans, but doesn’t want to cut himself off from the recruiting process entirely in case a big-time opportunity for a better fit crops up someplace else.