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Insider

USC targets at NLA Elite 7-on-7 Las Vegas

3/26/2012

LAS VEGAS -- The New Level Athletics Elite 7-on-7 tournament lived up to its advanced billing this weekend, as some of the West Coast’s top skill players showed why they are some of the most highly recruited prospect in the country.

The event offered a chance to see some of USC’s top targets, as well as several recruits who could play their way into the Trojans plans as the recruiting season progresses.

Topping the list of attendees was Su’a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta). Likely an outside linebacker at the next level, Cravens starred at safety and wide receiver this weekend, putting together an outstanding two days complete with touchdowns and interceptions. Cravens recently announced he would like to schedule official visits to Michigan, Nebraska and Ohio State, but also said the USC staff has been on him in a big way. They would like him to come down for a spring practice or two, and while Cravens doesn’t have any immediate plans to attend a practice, he did say he would likely be in attendance for USC’s spring game.

Another standout holding a USC offer was cornerback Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos De Niza). Willis is listed as a safety, but those close to him feel he is a pure cornerback at the next level and it’s easy to see why. Willis has tremendous size and the speed to match. He was intensively physical in press coverage this weekend and shut down his side of the field for long stretches. The Trojans have made Willis a priority, but he is in no rush to seriously jump into recruiting at this point.

“I love that coaching staff,” Willis said of USC. “We talk about all kinds of things besides football.”

The third player in attendance with a USC offer was cornerback Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga), who turned in another solid showing. After nearly pulling the trigger on a commitment, Hawkins still says he will open himself back up to the process as schools from around the country jump into the mix. But if the USC staff continues to pursue him hard, it’s tough to see him signing anywhere else.

The number of standout safeties at the event bordered on absurd. In addition to Cravens, Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga), Hatari Byrd (Fresno, Calif./Central) and Tyler Foreman (Encino, Calif./Crespi) all made big plays and could wind up receiving long looks from the Trojans. All three were in attendance at USC’s junior day, and Foreman doesn’t hesitate to call USC his dream school. He will camp with USC this summer, but both Goodman and Byrd said they would be very interested if the Trojans began to show more attention.

After hosting national standout Ty Isaac (Joliet, Ill./Joliet Catholic) on campus this weekend, the Trojans will host a local tailback this week, as Zachary Green (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) will take in a practice.

Green said his uncle is very close with USC running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu and added that recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron is very high on him. Green has been to USC practice before, but as part of a large group. This will be his first time as a specifically invited guest, and he is very excited to make the trip.