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Friday, August 2, 2013
WeAreSC recruiting mailbag

By Blair Angulo

WeAreSC recruiting reporter Blair Angulo answers reader questions in his mailbag every week. Have a USC recruiting question of your own? Submit it via Twitter @WeAreSCstaff or @bangulo.

Ermon Lane
Ermon Lane is one of several top-level skill players the Trojans are heavily pursuing.
@Retired728: What’s happening in recruiting on skill-position players?

WeAreSC: There hasn’t been much noise at the skill positions in this cycle, with four-star outside linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) being the lone commit at this point. But don’t mistake the silence for inactivity -- USC is after some highly coveted prospects. No. 1-rated athlete Speedy Noil (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr) and No. 2-rated receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead Senior) are two top targets for assistant coach Tee Martin, while Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central) and John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) are some in-state priorities. If the Trojans win this fall, things should fall into place on the recruiting front.

@_FightOn1: What are our options in recruiting a TE?

WeAreSC: Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) appears to be the closest the Trojans are to a commitment from a tight end, but the 6-foot-4, 230-pound prospect is still weighing his options and plans to visit some schools before making the call. He has strong interest in USC, though, and I think it’s a close recruiting battle with rival UCLA.

Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) appears to have cooled on the Trojans since placing them in his top two with Alabama early in the process. Luatua, perhaps more than any other recruit in the 2014 class, had a great relationship with former assistant coach Kennedy Polamalu, but expanded his top list since his firing. USC has also offered Mark Andrews (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) and Dalton Schultz (South Jordan, Utah/Bingham). Juco prospect Jean Sifrin (Torrance, Calif./El Camino College) and Ryan Izzo (Sparta, N.J./Pope John XXIII) are also names to keep tabs on moving forward.

@TTolman: What percent of the commits for 2014 realistically will stick? How much depends on how well the season goes?

WeAreSC: Out of the seven verbal commits, only defensive end Austin Maloata (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central) have indicated they plan to look around this fall. Smallwood actually released a top five earlier this summer, while Maloata, a transfer from Samoa, hopes to see more places.

Otherwise, it’s safe to assume USC can count on signatures from the five other commits. Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra), Jordan Poland (La Jolla, Calif./Country Day School) and Jordan Austin (Claremont, Calif./Claremont) intend to enroll early, while juco defensive tackle Michael Wyche (Chesapeake, Va./East Los Angeles College) couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of USC’s class. Calhoun said he wouldn’t have decided to early if he weren’t convinced.

With that in mind, it’s always important to perform on the field. A strong season for the Trojans would only help in this department, with a disappointing 2012 campaign serving as an example.