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Thursday, November 7, 2013
Local ATH lands late offer, flips to USC

By Blair Angulo

Growing up near the USC campus, unheralded athlete Ajene Harris (Los Angeles/Crenshaw) had always dreamed of storming out of the Coliseum tunnel, so when he landed a scholarship offer from the Trojans on Thursday, he had to pinch himself.

Harris then had to sit down and reassess his commitment to San Diego State.

Before the day was over, though, he had switched to the Trojans, becoming the ninth member of USC's 2014 recruiting class. The 5-foot-10, 176-pound prospect plays quarterback for Los Angeles City Section powerhouse Crenshaw, but he is being recruited as an athlete. San Diego State was the only other school to offer.

"It felt real good," Harris said. "They have been recruiting me for the longest, but this came out of nowhere. Coach Tee Martin is real cool. We talk on the phone about once a week, and we have built a very good relationship. He tells me I'm a great player, and he can't wait to see me in that cardinal and gold."

Harris, who Martin and interim head coach Ed Orgeron saw in person when Crenshaw took on Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, would prefer to play slot receiver in college, but he knows he might be needed at cornerback. He is open to any possibility and just happy to fulfill the first step of a lifelong aspiration.

"I've always wanted to be a Trojan," Harris said. "It's been my dream to go to USC since I was little. I feel great now that I have this and can just focus on the rest of the season. I've been hoping this would happen, and now that it has, I'm really excited. I can't wait to be a Trojan."

Harris became the fourth recruit to commit to USC since Orgeron took over for Lane Kiffin and the second from the city section, as the Trojans have shown a willingness to pursue lesser-known prospects.