Print and Go Back ESPN.com: USC Trojans [Print without images]

Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Notebook: Plattenburg makes noise

By Blair Angulo


OAKLAND, Calif. -- Silence fell over the hundreds of athletes as they took a knee near the north end zone at Laney College. With the six-hour Nike Football Training Camp behind them, they nervously looked around in anticipation.

“And the defensive back MVP goes to…”

Would it be the favorite, five-star cornerback and ESPN 150 member Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra)? Would it be Stanford safety commit Brandon Simmons (Arlington, Texas/Timberview)? Or would Northern California based four-star prospect Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) defend his turf?

It was neither.

Instead, fast-rising John Plattenburg (Corona, Calif./Centennial) heard his name, followed by applause.

“I thought it was going to be one of the mainstream guys, honestly,” Plattenburg said. “People still don’t know about me, but I came in hoping to do what I do best -- that’s technique and doing things with confidence, something I didn’t have last year. Now I’m coming in with confidence, speed and physicality. It’s an unstoppable combination.”

With double-digit scholarship offers in tow, Plattenburg was a known prospect heading into camp, but his lockdown performance turned heads. UCLA offered him on Monday, becoming the 14th school to join his list.

USC, Plattenburg said, could be close to doing the same.

“Right now, I know they need some help in the secondary from what I saw at the spring game,” he said. “A lot of guys have been dinged up, but that’s what happens when you practice hard, and when you practice hard, you become a great team. The academics there are spot on what I’m looking for. My mom went to USC, so she tells me about the education. She already has the cardinal and gold connection.”

The Trojans have offered both Jackson and Pickett, and also extended one to safety Bishard “Budda” Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue), the top-rated player in Washington. Plattenburg said he expects to continue hearing from assistant coach James Cregg as USC assesses local cornerbacks Denzel Fisher (Compton, Calif./Centennial), Naijiel Hale (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) and Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), among others.

“I haven’t really heard anything from the USC coaches since our college showcase, but I’m waiting,” the 5-foot-10 Plattenburg said. “I haven’t counted out anybody, even if they haven’t offered. It’d be prestigious for me to get that USC offer.”

Lineman excited about Trojans’ interest

Though the lineman group that took the field Sunday might have been the weakest in recent years, Oakland NFTC offensive line MVP Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch) certainly turned in a performance that would have been impressive even in a talent-heavy setting. Delp parlayed his dominant performance in one-on-one drills into an invitation to The Opening, and could now draw many more visits from college coaches, including Cregg.

“He’s gotten an eye test when he comes by my school,” Delp said. “About a month ago, coach Cregg came by our practice and filmed me to see how I run and how I do drills. Hopefully I’m good enough to be a Trojan.”

The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Delp has scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, Oregon State, San Jose State, Utah, Washington and Washington State, but admittedly grew up a Trojans fan.

“It’s an exciting to know I’m on the Trojan radar,” he said. “With or without an offer, I’m just excited to know I’m on their radar. I’ll be going to their linemen camp on June 8, so hopefully I can do well there.”

Delp, though, might find it difficult to crack the top of USC's board at offensive guard. The Trojans hold a verbal commitment from Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra), have offered ESPN 150 member Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and have shown interest in another, Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial).

Assistant checks in with intriguing receiver prospect

Despite signing only one receiver, Steven Mitchell, in the 2013 recruiting class, USC has offered just three West region receivers in the current cycle: Jalen Brown (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe), Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central) and John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly).

That number might go up soon depending on how prospects perform at the skills camp June 9.

Alex Van Dyke (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks) is one of those receivers thought to be on the verge of landing a Trojans offer, coach Ryan Gomes said.

“Coach Clay Helton was one of the many coaches to visit us last week, and he told me he’s going to stand on the table for Alex to get an offer,” Gomes said. “Tee [Martin] absolutely loves him, too. Coach Helton has evaluated him for a couple of years now and, after seeing his tape about a hundred times, he’s convinced that AVD is the top possession-type wideout on the West Coast.”

Gomes said Helton also checked out Duke offensive line commit Kameron Schroeder and 2015 receiver L.J. Reed.

Van Dyke has 19 scholarship offers, including ones from Cal, Northwestern, Oregon State, Purdue and UCLA.