<
>
Insider

USC commits' teams contend for top spot

9/3/2012

Three USC commits are on teams with a shot at the top spot in the ESPN power rankings. Defensive end Jason Hatcher (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) and linebacker Michael Hutchings (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) are both in the top 10, while safety Su’a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) has an opportunity to climb before the season is over.

Here’s a closer look at the three teams:

Louisville (Ky.) Trinity (2-0)

Contributors: WR James Quick, CB Ryan White (Vanderbilt), QB Travis Wright

Biggest obstacle to going undefeated: The top-ranked team in Kentucky has already beaten two of the top teams in Tennessee -- Jalen Ramsey-led Brentwood Academy in the opener and Nashville Montgomery Bell last week -- so Trinity's biggest remaining obstacle is defending its home turf when two of the best teams from Ohio travel to Louisville.

Top games: vs. Cincinnati (Ohio) St. Xavier on Sept. 14; vs. Cincinnati (Ohio) Archbishop Moeller on Oct. 27.

Key storyline: After a challenging start to the season, Trinity's biggest obstacle is avoiding the letdown. Coach Bob Beatty always faces tremendous expectations and, with Hatcher leading a strong defensive front, this season is no different.

Concord (Calif.) De La Salle (1-0)

Contributors: DE Austin Hooper, LB Victor Egu, LB D.J. Moffitt

Biggest obstacle to going undefeated: With such a talented defense, the Spartans should make a return trip to the Home Depot Center in Carson for the annual CIF State Open Division bowl game. A meeting there against the best Southern California has to offer would be the biggest hurdle between De La Salle and yet another undefeated season.

Top games: vs. Denver (Colo.) Mullen on Sept. 7; vs. Stockton (Calif.) St. Mary's on Sept. 14;

Key storyline: De La Salle has won each of its state bowl games since Hutchings arrived on campus three years ago, and the linebacker looks to go out on top as one of the program's most decorated players.

Murrieta (Calif.) Vista Murrieta (1-0)

Contributors: QB Nick Stevens (Colorado State), CB Treshon Broughton, LB Bryce Smith, OL Donnell Toliver

Biggest obstacle to going undefeated: Coach Coley Candaele won't have to wait long to see how his team stacks up against one of the better squads in the CIF Southern Section Inland Division when USC commit Kylie Fitts comes to town later this month.

Top games: vs. Redlands (Calif.) East Valley on Sept. 14; vs. Temecula Chaparral on Nov. 2.

Key storyline: If Cravens and Stevens get help on the offensive side, there won't be many teams that can hang with the Broncos. But if the offense struggles as it did early in the opener against Highlands Ranch (Colo.) ThunderRidge last week, an early exit from the Inland Division playoffs is possible.