It's quite uncommon for true freshmen to rise to the occasion from the start, but Marqise Lee, Marcus Martin and Leonard Williams all made an immediate impact for USC upon arriving on campus. The Class of 2014 has a few prospects capable of doing the same for the Trojans next year. Here's a glance at 10 potential instant-impact recruits based on a combination of talent and positional need:
1. CB Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra)
5-feet-10, 170 pounds
It’s no secret that USC lacks depth at cornerback and, with the possible departure of Marqise Lee, the Trojans might need a game breaker on special teams as well. Jackson is athletic enough to do it all, reminding many of Los Angeles City Section legend De’Anthony Thomas.
2. ATH Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central)
The Trojans will need another playmaker if and when Lee leaves for the NFL, and Quick has the speed and shiftiness to be an impact receiver in USC’s offense. If offense doesn’t work out, he’s shown the skill set to make an impact at cornerback.
3. ATH John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly)
One week, Smith favors receiver. The next, he wants to be a safety at the next level. USC would take him wherever Smith chooses, though with freshmen Su’a Cravens and Leon McQuay III on the roster, the more pressing need in 2014 appears to be at receiver.
4. ATH Speedy Noil (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr)
The nickname says it all: Noil has some serious wheels. Coaches often talk about speed being the attribute that can’t be taught. For that reason, Noil doesn’t figure to face too much of an adjustment to the faster pace in college.
5. OT Jordan Poland (La Jolla, Calif./Country Day School)
Poland, who became the first commit in the 2014 class last summer, has already used up his four years of high school eligibility, but will remain enrolled through this fall as he wraps up his senior academic year. He intends to enroll early and arrive at USC in time for the spring semester, which plays to his advantage.
6. DT Michael Wyche (Chesapeake, Va./East Los Angeles College)
Wyche, who committed this spring, intends to enroll early and arrive on campus in time for spring ball, which would undoubtedly boost his chances of contributing quickly. As a juco prospect, he’s older and more mature physically – two traits that should help him at the next level.
7. DT Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central)
Alabama, Arizona State, Miami (Fla.) and UCLA also made Smallwood’s top five this week, but based on relative depth, USC offers the best possibility for early playing time. The Trojans signed only one defensive lineman in the 2013 class and Smallwood, who committed at USC junior day, has the physical tools to at least compete for a spot next fall.
8. CB Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito)
Stocky and well built, Pickett wouldn’t have much trouble fitting in on a college football team. Add the fact that the Trojans are in dire need of cornerbacks and Pickett could be an immediate contributor because of his physicality.
9. ATH Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco)
The Trojans have a real shot at flipping the longtime Arizona State commit now that they’ve offered. He plays safety at Bosco but USC likes him at corner, where they have a real need in this recruiting class. Wadood burst onto the scene with a strong sophomore season at Lakewood (Calif.) and could potentially do the same at the next level.
10. OG Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra)
Lobendahn, who committed last year, has started studying USC’s offensive playbook already and plans to enroll early, so he’s ahead of the curve in that regard. Technique-wise, there might not be a more polished lineman on the West Coast.