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Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Tales From The Road: USC

By Blair Angulo

Every Wednesday, the WeAreSC staff will take a quick-hit look at some of the top recruits and storylines facing USC recruiting for the week.

This week’s targets: Assistant coach Mike Summers watched top defensive end target Connor Humphreys (Portland, Ore./Central Catholic) work out on Monday morning before checking in with Class of 2014 fullback A.J. Hotchkins (Tigard, Ore./Tigard) for the first time. “He told my coach they were very interested,” Hotchkins said. Lake Mary (Fla.) coach Scott Perry said assistant coach Ed Orgeron dropped by to see 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive tackle Adam Torres, whose offer list includes Florida State, Miami (Fla.) and Mississippi State. A stop at Brooksville (Fla.) Nature Coast Technical School for 2014 defensive end Rohan Blackwood was also on the itinerary, according to coach Charles Liggett’s Twitter account.

Area of interest: Southern California-based recruits have reaped the rewards of USC’s suddenly more aggressive approach. While some highly regarded Class of 2014 recruits have yet to land scholarship offers from USC, six local 2015 prospects have already bagged offers from the Trojans: receiver Cordell Broadus (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar), defensive end Rasheem Green (Gardena, Calif./Serra), receiver Desean Holmes (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany), linebacker John Houston Jr. (Gardena, Calif./Serra), cornerback Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and safety Marvell Tell (Encino, Calif./Crespi). With assistant coach Tee Martin leading the charge in Los Angeles, it’s clear that the Trojans will be more proactive with the area’s elite underclassmen.

Word on the street: From @kingrmo, via Twitter: “JuJu” (Smith) comments of SC not recruiting him as hard leaves me speechless since he’s one of the West’s elite prospects in 2014.

That reaction is warranted. Smith, a receiver/safety from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, is up there with five-star cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) as perhaps the top prospect on the West Coast. Martin has established a strong relationship with Smith and other local recruits since taking over the duties of former assistant Kennedy Polamalu, but Smith’s recent comments suggest Martin still has some ground to make up. With more than eight months remaining until national signing day, it’s not time to panic. USC should be in the thick of the race for Smith, who picked up an offer from Alabama this week.

What to watch: The upcoming Nike Football Training Camp in Oakland should draw plenty of Bay Area-based talent, including linebackers D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) and Michael Lazarus (Berkeley, Calif./Berkeley), running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) and cornerback Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito). The quartet has expressed high interest in the Trojans, with Calhoun -- whose sister plays on the USC women’s basketball team -- indicating that they are in his top two along with UCLA. The Elite 11 West Regional at the 49ers’ training facility on Friday will also feature a lot of highly regarded quarterbacks, including Keller Chryst (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto), USC’s top target at the position.