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Thursday, March 6, 2014
USC targets expected at L.A. NFTC

By Blair Angulo

Preliminary recruiting rankings have been out for months but some of the re-shuffling and separation could begin this upcoming weekend, when many of Southern California’s top prospects descend on Redondo (Calif.) Union High School.

The Nike Football Training Camp tour will make its annual stop in the Los Angeles area on Sunday, and a bevy of USC targets are expected to be among the participants, including quarterback commit Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure). The No. 2-rated pocket passer in the 2015 class will compete against a strong field that also features No. 1-rated passer Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Notre Dame commit Blake Barnett (Corona, Calif./Santiago).

Christian Kirk
Christian Kirk headlines a talented group of wide receivers set to participate in the Los Angeles NFTC on Sunday.
Town and his peers figure to have plenty of reliable options to throw to, as the receiver spot appears to be loaded with top-flight prospects. No. 4 receiver Christian Kirk (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro) is the clear headliner, but ESPN 300 members Cordell Broadus (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman), Jaylinn Hawkins (Buena Park, Calif./Buena Park), Desean Holmes (Pasadena, Calif./Muir), Trent Irwin (Newhall, Calif./Hart) and Equanimeous St. Brown (Anaheim, Calif./Servite) are also among those expected to show their skills.

There is not the same depth at running back. The Trojans intend to take two at the position in 2015, but it’s a bit of a down year on the West Coast. Bolu Olorunfunmi (Clovis, Calif./North), who visited the USC campus recently and said he has garnered significant interest from the staff, leads the group.

USC signed a stellar offensive line group in February, but it is in need of tackles in 2015. Keenan Walker (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral), Roy Hemsley (Los Angeles/Windward School) and Zach Robertson (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) all hold offers from the Trojans and will look to separate themselves at the position.

The Trojans are set to have one representative among the defensive prospects: cornerback commit Taeon Mason (Pasadena, Calif./Muir). He will strive to stand out among a group of defensive backs who should include prized recruits Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), Stanley Norman (Gardena, Calif./Serra), Frank Buncom IV (San Diego, Calif./Saint Augustine) and Dechaun Holiday (San Marcos, Calif./Mission Hills), among many others.

John Houston Jr. (Gardena, Calif./Serra), Kyahva Tezino (Los Angeles/Salesian), Ben Humphreys (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) and 2016 standout Lokeni Toailoa (Rialto, Calif./Carter) might draw the most attention in the linebacker group, while Rasheem Green (Gardena, Calif./Serra), Keisean Lucier-South (Orange, Calif./Lutheran) and Vaimoe Sekona (Encino, Calif./Crespi) are the early favorites for MVP honors on the defensive line.

It will be interesting to monitor the performances of fast-rising prospects such as Lavan Alston (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure), Malik Lovette (Redlands, Calif./East Valley), Ykili Ross (Riverside, Calif./Poly) and others as they aim to prove that they deserve offers from USC.