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Monday, November 4, 2013
Notebook: Rosen notices excitement at USC

By Blair Angulo

Josh Rosen
ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Josh Rosen has noticed a renewed spark in the USC program since Ed Orgeron was named the interim coach, which has renewed his interest in the Trojans.
ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) found himself in unfamiliar territory Friday night during a victory against Santa Ana Mater Dei.

For the first time since he could remember, the top-rated signal-caller in the 2015 class was on the field during the fourth quarter.

St. John Bosco, widely considered the top high school football team in Southern California, led comfortably but could not risk a letdown with a Trinity League title up for grabs. Rosen and a bevy of highly regarded recruits clinched their second consecutive league crown.

“We put up 75 against Los Angeles Crenshaw and cleaned out Fresno Clovis North,” Rosen said. “This is the first game I’ve played a fourth quarter in. It’s great to keep rolling. If we click on all cylinders, no one can stop us. The further we get into the season, the more we learn to face adversity. If we’re to accomplish our ultimate goal of winning a state championship, then we’re going to face plenty of adversity down the road.”

Amid the championship chase lies recruiting, yet Rosen intends to steer clear of anything serious until the offseason.

“I’m not really worried about recruiting right now,” Rosen said. “I just go to games to go to games and check in with the coaching staffs. I’m not really looking to make any moves or do anything big during the season. All I want to do is win a championship. I don’t want to be looked at as the most underachieving team in high school football.”

Rosen made it to the Rose Bowl on Saturday for UCLA’s game against Colorado and has been to a number of USC games at the Coliseum this season. The recent commitment of good friend and favorite target Shay Fields Jr. to the Trojans could also become a factor down the road, but the next coaching hire figures to be the most important selling point for USC.

“If I go there, I’ll jump in any offense they put me in,” Rosen said. “The one thing I’ve noticed is the passion they’re playing with now. Everyone is so excited to rally around Coach (Ed) Orgeron. I went into the locker room after the Arizona game and everyone was so happy and thrilled. They’re finally winning some games and it’s great to see a team play nearly to their potential.”

Damien Mama
Damien Mama is set to take his third official visit this weekend, as the ESPN 300 lineman will head to Alabama.
USC target leaving town this week

ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) is scheduled to take his third official visit this upcoming weekend when he travels to Alabama for the LSU game. Mama has already visited Notre Dame and Wisconsin and continues to mull potential trips to BYU and LSU, but the USC coaches should feel good about where they stand with the 6-foot-4, 360-pound lineman.

“It’s cool seeing Coach Orgeron in his new position,” Mama said. “He was the first coach I got to know to know from the USC staff. Building a relationship with him has been great -- I could even call it tight-knit at this point. During a practice he brought me in to defensive huddle. He told me he didn’t like offensive linemen, so that was funny. He’s been awesome.”

Mama got a close look at the Trojans in a road environment while on his visit to South Bend, Ind., and said results are important but not the biggest factor.

“That whole perspective has changed since the recruiting process started,” Mama said. “I don’t really have favorites anymore. But if you would have asked me when I first started this recruiting process, I would have said, ‘SC offered so, yeah, I’m going there.’ Getting these offers has changed my whole perception on things, though.”

WeAreSC recruiting roundup

• The itinerary appeared to be filling up for USC offensive guard commit Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra), as the ESPN 300 prospect set visits to Florida and Wisconsin recently. Lobendahn also booked a Texas A&M trip for Nov. 9, but those might no longer happen, his father Vince said in a text message. “He might take those visits, but he is feeling like pulling out and only doing an SC visit,” Vince said. “He is proud of what USC is doing and wants to focus on getting his classes completed to graduate early.” Lobendahn expects to visit the Trojans for their big recruiting weekend on Dec. 13.

• Nebraska coaches had hoped to lure USC defensive end commit Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) into taking an official visit over the weekend for the Northwestern game, but that didn’t happen as schedule conflicts made it impossible. Dorton, though, said he still intends to visit the Cornhuskers at some point.

• USC outside linebacker commit Uchenna Nwosu (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) added a scholarship offer from Boise State to his list on Friday and said he intends to visit the Broncos. Nwosu had also hoped to visit Oregon State, which was recruiting him heavily before he committed to the Trojans, but that is no longer the plan as the Beavers backed off once the 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect made his decision.

• Top Trojans target and California athlete commit Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) scheduled an official visit to Utah for this upcoming weekend when the Utes host Arizona State, the school where his cousin, Rashad, is a sophomore defensive back. It was a significant development given that he originally planned to make a trip to Berkeley for the USC game. Wadood will also officially visit UCLA on Nov. 22 when the Bruins host the Sun Devils.

• Defensive end Jacob Tuioti-Mariner and cornerback Chandler Hawkins are a pair of St. John Bosco prospects to keep tabs on. According to a source, Orgeron and assistant coach Tee Martin have identified both as potential targets, and offers sometime down the road would not come as a surprise. Hawkins, who is committed to Air Force, said he would have to reassess his situation if a local school came calling. Tuioti-Mariner has offers from Arizona, Fresno State and Wisconsin.

• USC defensive line commit Austin Maloata (Corona, Calif./Centennial) had two sacks Friday in a big victory over rival Corona (Calif.) Santiago, helping contain 2015 dual-threat quarterback Blake Barnett. Running back target Tre Watson, who is committed to Cal, rushed for 312 yards and four touchdowns on 33 carries.

• Another out-of-state target came off the board Friday when ESPN 300 cornerback Nick Watkins (Dallas, Texas/Bishop Dunne) committed to Notre Dame. Watkins, rated No. 11 at his position, holds an offer from USC.