- Erik McKinney, ESPN Staff Writer
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.
As expected, the West offensive line performed very well and was highlighted by three USC targets. Left tackle Zach Banner (Lakewood, Wash./Lakes) was beaten to the outside for a sack, but played very well throughout the game. There is still some room for growth in terms of technique, but he possesses the size and physical ability for a big man that can’t be taught. On the right side, the tandem of Max Tuerk (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita) and Kyle Murphy (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) was dominant at times. There is nothing more that needs to be said for these two players. They are ready to get into a college program and compete for playing time. Tuerk is committed to USC, while the Trojans will be in for a fight with Oregon, California and Stanford for Murphy.
Trojans fans also got a good look at Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Good Counsel), who shined in several roles for the East team. Diggs has interest in USC, as well as California, Ohio State, Florida, Auburn and Maryland. He is a true offensive playmaker, able to line up anywhere on the field and hit the big play at any time.
Across town, UCLA had to be happy with the performance of cornerback Ishmael Adams. He was one of the top performers for the West defense, registering an interception and what should have been a forced fumble, in addition to several pass breakups.
Washington looks to be getting a good one in quarterback Cyler Miles (Denver, Colo./Mullen), who was named co-MVP of the game after throwing just one incomplete pass to go with two touchdowns, one rushing.
Stanford landed arguably the top commitment during the game, receiving a verbal from running back Barry Sanders Jr. (Oklahoma City, Okla./Heritage Hall). Sanders proved he is going to be a good one going forward, scoring a touchdown and showing that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
But the biggest Pac-12 winner was California. The Golden Bears grabbed three commitments during the game -- McCarthy, wide receiver Jordan Payton (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) and safety Shaq Thompson (Sacramento, Calif./Grant). Thompson was one of the top performers in the game, making plays all over the field and showing a physical ability unmatched by just about every safety in the country. California also looks to be in good shape with defensive linemen Aziz Shittu (Atwater, Calif./Buhach Colony) and Arik Armstead (Elk Grove, Calif./Pleasant Grove), which would give them easily the top defensive line class in the conference.