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Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Recruiting notes: Humphreys lands offer

By Blair Angulo

Defensive end Connor Humphreys (Portland, Ore./Central Catholic) answered the phone on Monday morning without grand expectations. After all, USC assistant coach Mike Summers was on the other end and Humphreys was well aware of the Trojans’ reluctance to offer West Coast prospects without first having completed an in-person evaluation.

Humphreys didn’t anticipate a big development, but he got one.

“It’s a huge offer for me,” Humphreys said. “They originally wanted to get me down to campus before they offered, so for them to call and offer me before I visited shows how much they want me. Also, they said they’re only going to sign one or two defensive linemen, so it just adds to how big of an accomplishment it is to get this offer.”

The 6-foot-3, 257-pound athlete plans to unofficially visit USC the weekend of April 13 for the spring game, where he hopes to gather more information about academics as well as the football program.

“This offer is definitely up there at the top just because how big of an offer it is and how prestigious the USC program is,” Humphreys said. “I know they produce great athletes. The only thing I really know about USC is what I’ve watched in their games. I love watching USC and how they play – it’s a great program. Coach (Lane) Kiffin knows what he’s doing. I haven’t had a conversation about where I fit in with coach (Ed) Orgeron, but I definitely want to when I get down there. That’s going to be one of the main questions I ask him -- does he see me redshirting? Where does he think I stand in the depth chart?”

USC is the latest Pac-12 school to join the race for Humphreys, who also has offers from Arizona State, Boise State, Cal, Oregon State, Portland State, UCLA and Wyoming. He believes a Big Ten school might be next.

“I talk to Nebraska once a week,” Humphreys said. “But schools kind of just randomly pop in and we talk. Schools don’t really express a lot of interest right now, except the ones that have offered.”

USC has not offered any other defensive end from the West Coast.

Though Humphreys would prefer to make an early commitment, he has not entirely set a timetable for a decision.

“I want to take a couple of my official visits, but I know those don’t start until Sept. 1,” Humphreys said. “So I may take one or two officials in September and commit in October or November. Or I may do a lot of visits in the summer and commit before my senior season starts in September.”

Humphreys will also stop by UCLA on his trip to Los Angeles later this month, and intends to compete in the June 9 Nike Football Training Camp in Eugene, Ore. He has his sights set on earning an invitation to the summer’s big event near his hometown.

“Hopefully I can do well there and get invited to The Opening,” Humphreys said. “That’s one of my main goals.”

The USC scholarship offer arrived on April Fool’s Day, so Humphreys initially didn’t know what to think. But once it all sank in and he realized what had happened, the defensive end was giddy.

“When I get down there,” Humphreys said, “I have a lot to see.”

USC defensive tackle commit visits UCLA: Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central), who committed at USC junior day in February just moments after receiving an offer from Orgeron, dropped by the UCLA campus on Monday along with another top Trojans target and high school teammate, Michiah Quick.

Smallwood remained committed to USC after returning home, but the Bruins made yet another impression on the 6-foot, 274-pound nose tackle.

“It was nice,” Smallwood said. “We walked around the campus and got a tour of the dorms. I had been there before, but it was nice again.”

Smallwood, who has offers from Boise State, Cal, Houston, Miami (Fla.), Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon State, San Jose State and UCLA, described his commitment to the Trojans simply as “cool,” which he said means it’s just another term for “not false.” Still, the rising prospect is listening to other schools.

“I’m still open to certain schools,” he said. “I’m still solid to USC, but as far as listening to other coaches, yes, I am. At UCLA we sat down and talked for like three hours. I talked to coach Jim Mora and (defensive coordinator) Lou Spanos. They asked me how strong my commitment is and I told them it’s cool. It’s cool.”

Smallwood and Quick, an ESPN Watch List member, plan to attend the May 19 NFTC in Oakland.

Local defensive back hopeful, but content: Class of 2013 signees Nico Falah (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Steven Mitchell (Pasadena, Calif./Bishop Alemany), as well as offensive line commit Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) and intriguing cornerback Naijiel Hale (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) were among the attendees at USC’s scrimmage at the Memorial Coliseum over the weekend.

ESPN Watch List athlete Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), an Arizona State commit, was also in attendance despite not having had much contact with USC in recent months.

“I like what they’re doing up there,” Wadood said. “I like the defensive backs coach. I was getting a good feel out there. Everything is good. They haven’t contacted me, but I’ve been getting letters.”

USC has been active at St. John Bosco the last year, signing Falah in February, offering offensive guard Damien Mama in early March, and pursuing Hale and defensive end Malik Dorton. Wadood, who recently landed offers from Oregon and Vanderbilt, would want to receive the same attention from the hometown Trojans, but isn’t worried if it doesn’t develop.

“I hope for it, of course, but it’s one of those things that if it happens, it happens,” Wadood said. “If it doesn’t, then it’s no big deal.”