- Blair Angulo, Reporter, WeAreSC.com
USC entered the picture for ESPN 300 athlete Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) fairly late, given that the four-star prospect had to wait a while longer for a scholarship offer than other top locals.
Yet, following their in-season resurgence, the Trojans appear to be in great shape for the two-way standout as the end of the 2014 recruiting cycle nears. Wadood, who had five receptions for 141 yards and three touchdowns Friday in a second-round victory against Las Flores (Calif.) Tesoro, said he intends to take his fifth and final official visit to USC on Jan. 24. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound athlete decommitted from Cal last week and officially visited UCLA over the weekend.
Wadood also attended USC’s upset of Stanford at the Coliseum two weeks ago, and that experience played a role in his decision to reopen his recruitment.
“It showed they aren’t the pushover USC that everyone thought they were,” Wadood said. “They have turned the program around. There’s some great stuff going on at USC under coach Ed Orgeron.”
Washington is set to receive a visit from Wadood as well -- likely for the Jan. 17 weekend -- but this has shaped up as another local recruiting battle between USC and UCLA. Wadood is extremely close with his father, Haamid, and has all but scratched initial plans to leave the area for college. The Trojans might benefit from a lack of depth at defensive back. Whereas the Bruins seem to be loading up in the secondary with verbal commitments from ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito), three-star prospects Denzel Fisher (Compton, Calif./Centennial), John Plattenburg (Houston/Lamar) and Ron Robinson (Corona, Calif./Santiago), USC has none and signed only one cornerback in 2013. A source close to the situation said the logjam could negatively affect UCLA’s chances with Wadood.
Though USC is recruiting Wadood as a cornerback, he said he has no preference for the next level. Other factors will be far more important.
“The feel and comfort with the coaching staff,” Wadood said. “How the academics are, whether it’s somewhere I can see myself. And playing time, too.”
Having previously committed to Arizona State and Cal, the dynamic playmaker hopes his next choice will be final.
“I’m trying to take my time,” Wadood said. “This will be the third time I commit, so I’m trying to make sure it’s the right one. I’ll consider every factor and make a decision sometime in mid-January, closer to signing day after I take all of my trips.”
WeAreSC recruiting roundup
USC defensive line commit Austin Maloata (Corona, Calif./Centennial) took his first official visit to Washington State over the weekend, but returned home still a member of the Trojans’ recruiting class. With cousin and teammate Viane Talamaivao now committed to USC, it would be surprising if Maloata ended up anywhere else.
A massive out-of-state target came off the board Saturday when ESPN 300 defensive tackle Joshua Frazier (Springdale, Ark./Har-Ber) committed to Alabama. Frazier previously said he would likely take an official trip to Los Angeles, so if he ends up doing so, the Trojans will have some work to do to pull him away from the South. “Arkansas, I'm sorry but I've decided Alabama,” Frazier wrote on his Twitter account. “I hope u will still support me when I go rep Arkansas in Alabama. Nothing against the hog fans A&M fans Auburn fans and USC fans. I just feel I can get the best coaching and all the resources available to help me be successful at Alabama.”