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Thursday, June 28, 2012
USC Rising Stars Camp overview

By Garry Paskwietz

Here’s a position-by-position look at the top performers from the 2012 USC Rising Stars Camp:

Quarterback: Johnny Stanton (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita) led the way for the class of 2013 group as the leader of the state champion Eagles team took his shot at performing in front of the USC coaches. The Trojans already have one quarterback commit in this class but a guy like Stanton could either be a multi-position option or could also be a second QB for the class if the coaches decide to go that route after the recent departure of Jesse Scroggins.

The underclass group had several talented players. The best of the bunch was Kyle Allen from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Desert Mountain, a 2014 prospect who already holds offers from schools such as Oklahoma State, UCLA and in-state programs Arizona and Arizona State. Another 2014 recruit in attendance was Keller Chryst from Palo Alto (Calif.) Palo Alto. The class of 2015 was represented well by Brady White from Newhall (Calif.) Hart.

Wide Receiver: This was a very good group led by a pair of USC verbal commits in Eldridge Massington (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite) and Steven Mitchell (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany). It was the first trip to the USC campus for Massington, who gave his commitment to the Trojans before taking a visit. By all accounts he had a great time and performed extremely well at the camp, as did Mitchell.

They weren’t the only talented players at the spot either as Jayron Kearse (Fort Myers, Fla./South Fort Myers) made the trip out west, and the recent decommit from Miami (Fla.) has indicated a serious interest in the Trojans. Samajie Grant (Ontario, Calif./Colony) was also there, as was class of 2015 prospect Trenton Irwin (Newhall, Calif./Hart) who has impressed onlookers at virtually every camp this spring with his natural instincts for the position. Irwin is definitely going to be one to watch in the coming years.

Tight End: The player who made the biggest splash was Thomas Duarte from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei. Duarte is a versatile athlete who can flex out wide or line up inside and that skill set could end up getting him a longer look from the Trojans staff.

Offensive Line: This was probably the sleeper group of the camp. Nico Falah (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) is the only California offensive lineman with a USC offer and he showed why with a solid performance. A couple out-of-state tackles also did well in Richy Klepal (Tampa, Fla./Plant) and Na’Ty Rodgers (Owings Mills, Md./McDonough). Klepal set the USC camp record in the medicine ball throw and he’s from the same high school as former star Trojans receiver Mike Williams. There was also an impressive display from class of 2014 tackle Viane Talamaivo from Corona (Calif.) Centennial, who was the o-line MVP of the recent LA Nike Camp.

Kylie Fitts
USC defensive end commit Kylie Fitts was part of an impressive array of defensive linemen at USC's Rising Stars Camp.
Defensive Line: This was a position group that had everybody buzzing. One camp observer described it as “like looking at a bunch of NFL guys.” USC commits Kenny Bigelow (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) and Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley) led the way and both performed up to expectations. Bigelow was a force in the middle and Fitts showed well on the outside. Other standouts included Dee Liner (Muscle Shoals, Ala./Muscle Shoals) who is currently a commit to Auburn, and Keith Bryant (Delray Beach, Fla./Atlantic Community) who is pledged to Miami. The top uncommitted players included Joe Mathis from Upland (Calif.) Upland, Kenneth Clark from Rialto (Calif.) Carter and Torrodney Prevot (Houston/Taylor). Arizona State commit Dimarya Mixon (Mesquite, Texas/West Mesquite), a high school teammate of Massington, was also in attendance.

Linebacker: One of the top storylines heading into the camp was the presence of Michael Hutchings from Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, as it was known that Hutchings planned on making his college announcement shortly after the camp on July 1. Hutchings took part in the Wednesday session and by all accounts things went very well in being coached by the USC staff. There were two notable class of 2014 linebackers as well in Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and Zach Brown (San Diego, Calif./Patrick Henry).

Defensive Back: There was plenty of star power in the secondary with headliners such as USC verbals Su’a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) and Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga). Cravens was paired at safety at the Tuesday session of the camp with another top player on the Trojans wish list in Max Redfield from Mission Viejo (Calif.) Mission Viejo. It’s hard to imagine a better duo at the safety spot, especially when the USC coaches tell the players they could be the next Ronnie Lott/Dennis Smith combination. Hawkins had a stellar performance with multiple interceptions during his Wednesday camp session.

Jalen Ramsey from Brentwood (Tenn.) Brentwood Academy is another corner with an SC offer and he remains a legit option to join the Trojans. Tyler Foreman (Encino, Calif./Crespi) is a safety with good size and a solid list of offers but USC is not on that list yet. One underclassman who stood out was cornerback Jonathan Lockett from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei.