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Monday, February 17, 2014
Recruiting notebook: Kirk, Petite visit USC

By Blair Angulo

A top objective for the USC Trojans in the 2015 recruiting class undoubtedly is to build a strong group of receivers around quarterback commit Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure), the No. 2-rated pocket passer in the ESPN Junior 300.

Head coach Steve Sarkisian took a productive step in that direction Saturday, hosting ESPN 300 receiver Christian Kirk (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro) on an unofficial visit. Kirk, the No. 4 receiver in the class and top-ranked player in Arizona, dropped by campus with his family and met with the new coaching staff for the first time.

“The visit went very well,” Kirk said. “What stood out to me was the history of the program and just how dominant the football program has been.”

Signing Kirk, who has intentions to graduate early and enroll at his school of choice in time for next spring, would be a major coup for the Trojans.

Christian Kirk
ESPN Junior 300 WR Christian Kirk visited USC and UCLA this week, speaking highly of the Trojans.
USC signed three athletes in the 2014 class whom appear to be heading into college as receivers: ESPN 300 prospects Juju Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and Rahshead Johnson (Long Beach, Calif./Cabrillo), and local standout Ajene Harris (Los Angeles/Crenshaw). Assistant coach Tee Martin brought in only one receiver in the 2013 class: four-star prospect Steven Mitchell (Pasadena, Calif./Bishop Alemany). The need is there for USC in 2015, especially with the depth issues and Town aboard to attract pass-catchers.

Kirk, who also checked out UCLA over the weekend, said the Trojans made a big impression, though they didn’t necessarily move much given their standing on his list.

“They have always been up there,” said Kirk, who had 2,756 receiving yards and scored 57 total touchdowns this season.

The weekend ended on another high, as Kirk landed an offer from Alabama on Sunday afternoon. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound athlete also has plans to make an unofficial visit to Ohio State later this month and Oregon in early March.

Potential tight end target raves about trip

USC signed the No. 1 tight end in the 2014 class -- four-star prospect Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) -- but the position already looks like a pivotal one in the 2015 cycle, too.

On Saturday, the Trojans hosted a potential target in tight end Tyler Petite (Moraga, Calif./Campolindo), a fast-rising recruit whose offer list includes Arizona State, Cal, Colorado and Northwestern.

“The coaches told me they weren’t ready to offer right now, but they will be coming out to my school in the spring and told me to keep in touch,” Petite said. “Coach [Marques] Tuiasosopo was really impressed with my film and likes me as a player. If we keep talking like we are, an offer could come soon. That’s just my take on it. For me, it would be a huge offer. I love California. Touring the school was big for me because I got to see where I could be going. It’s a really great campus and I loved the environment.”

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound athlete also met Sarkisian for the first time.

“I got a chance to speak with Coach Sark, though it wasn’t for too long,” Petite said. “We shook hands and he told me he was excited about my film and that I would fit in well. It was good to know the head coach thought I was a good player and thought I would do well in his type of offense.”

Petite said he sat down with Tuiasosopo to break down film. He was informed that the Trojans intend to sign two tight ends in the 2015 class.

“When it comes to the depth chart, I’m not too worried even if there were more tight ends,” Petite said. “I’m confident in my work ethic, and I believe I would have a fair shot in winning a job no matter who is there. But, especially with only one guy coming in, having some others graduating and this being a new coach with a new offense, I would have a good shot right away.”

Petite also has plans to visit Colorado next weekend and Northwestern sometime in the spring. Cal has also expressed high interest and Petite said the nearby school would likely get a visit. A return trip to USC is another possibility.

“The coaches there seem real cool,” Petite said. “I might be going down again this year to see everyone again.”

WeAreSC recruiting roundup

" The Trojans recently hosted running back Bolu Olorunfunmi (Clovis, Calif./Clovis North), who holds scholarship offers from Fresno State, Nevada and Northwestern. Though the 5-foot-11, 205-pound prospect didn’t leave campus with a USC offer, he was optimistic about what the future could bring. “The highlight of the visit was talking about where the program is heading,” Olorunfunmi said. “There was physical proof, with their state-of-the-art facilities being an example. They did talk to me about a potential offer. They told me they’re coming down in a couple weeks to see me during practice, get me on tape and go from there.”

" USC went on an offering spree of sorts last week, reaching out to ESPN 300 prospects George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake), Osa Masina (Salt Lake City, Utah/Brighton) and Calvin Ridley (Coconut Creek, Fla./Monarch). Campbell is No. 2 overall in the ESPN Junior 300; Masina is No. 1 in the state of Utah; Ridley is No. 3 among receivers.