Wednesday, July 9, 2014
The Opening Wednesday recap
By Garry Paskwietz
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- It was a full day of on-field work as the linemen put on pads and the skill players were divided into teams for the start of 7-on-7 pool play.
Here's a rundown of some of the USC recruits in action:
- WR Christian Kirk: I would say Kirk was as good as any player I saw today who wasn't named Calvin Ridley. Kirk had multiple touchdowns during the day from the slot, including a pair down the middle where he simply split the defense and outran everybody to the end zone. The common speculation among the recruiting media is that this one is a USC-Texas A&M recruiting battle, and whoever lands Kirk is getting a good one.
- OL Fred Ulu-Perry Jr.: Ulu-Perry got looks at both guard and center today, impressing at both spots. There was one rep I saw where my view was blocked at the start so I couldn't see who was lining up on offense; all I saw when the ball was snapped was a powerful punch move that froze the defender, I let out a "whoa" at the physical contact, and then saw that it was Ulu-Perry. I was not surprised at all, as Ulu-Perry has been solid throughout this event.
- DB Iman Marshall: There's no doubt “Biggie” is a confident player on the field, which is critical for any corner. Of course, there is still the question of him potentially outgrowing the position, but that is a discussion for another day. Right now Marshall is a physical corner who had no trouble pushing the envelope against the wide receivers. He got called once or twice for it, but I liked how he went up to the refs to discuss the flags and then shook their hands once he heard them out.
- DeChaun Holiday: Another very impressive corner with size, he's even taller than Biggie and might eventually move to safety as well, but I saw him make a pair of pass breakups that were as solid as any you’d see from a corner.
- DB Isaiah Langley: The newest Trojans verbal played a lot of slot corner today and I was impressed with his coverage. Langley is very smooth and didn't get fooled by many routes. He had one interception that ended up being called back because of a holding penalty on another player.
- QB Ricky Town: Town started off the day with an early 3rd-and-18 conversion against Marshall, but his best performance came in the second half of the final game. There are three quarterbacks on each team, so Town didn't play in the first half as his team fell behind by two scores. He played the whole second half and led two scoring drives right away but on the third drive he threw a good ball that bounced off the hands of his receiver and was returned for a pick-six. Town got the ball back with a minute left and tried to go deep, but the ball was a little underthrown and was intercepted. What I really liked about Town today was his quick and decisive decision-making as he went through his progressions -- you can tell he's been well coached in that area.
- QB Sam Darnold: There was no time wasted for Darnold as he had a nice touchdown pass in the opening game and later had an impressive second-half performance to bring his team back. Darnold has some game and it's easy to see why the USC coaches offered him; he's a tall guy with a good arm who seems in control at all times on the field. One coach at the camp said Darnold reminded him of Matt Leinart with his quiet competitiveness. That's a pretty high standard in Trojans land, but it speaks to one of the strengths of Darnold’s game.
- WR Trent Irwin: There is no offer yet from USC for Irwin and, unless something changes, he will end up choosing between Arizona State and Stanford, but he deserves mention in this recap for his performance today. This included a double move for a touchdown against Marshall that was as pretty as any you will see. Of course, he caught the pass from high school teammate Brady White, so you know that's a timing pattern they have worked on thousands of times through the years, but that doesn't take away from the play. Whoever gets Irwin is simply getting a receiver who knows how to play the game.