USC Trojans: Michael Wyche

A recent string of commitments heading into the dead period has left USC with only five remaining slots in its 2014 recruiting class. The Trojans have 19 total spots to use, as long as four of them are mid-year enrollees.

Here's a position-by-position look at how USC could allocate those empty spots, with a projection of how many players at each position the Trojans will try to sign:

Offensive line: 6

The Trojans hold five commitments on the offensive line, two of those from mid-year enrollees who already have signed financial aid agreements. They might not be done, though, as a big fish is still out there and possibly leaning toward signing with his childhood favorite. If the coaching staff decides a scholarship would be more important at another position, the Trojans might have to part ways with a prospect from this bunch.


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Notebook: Juco DT visits Trojans 

October, 28, 2013
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The USC Trojans lost junior college defensive tackle Michael Wyche (Chesapeake, Va./East Los Angeles College) last week when he decided to switch his commitment to Miami (Fla.), but they quickly moved in on another highly regarded lineman.


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Early Offer: Banner day for Miami 

October, 23, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Wednesday's offerings: Tuesday was a big day for Miami, as the Canes were able to finally put the lingering questions about NCAA sanctions to bed and also land a commitment from highly regard junior college defensive tackle Michael Wyche; recruiting fans will get a chance on Thursday to see why Marlon Humphrey is one of the nation's best prospects.

Hurricanes put questions in rear-view mirror
Miami has had to answer questions from recruits for nearly four years about what might happen when the NCAA finally handed down penalties from the Nevin Shapiro scandal. Those questions were finally answered on Tuesday, as Miami will not face any additional bowl bans and lose three scholarships annually over the next three years. The news was huge for the Canes’ recruiting efforts moving forward. It allows UM to put the entire matter to rest, and Al Golden and Co. no longer have to sit in the living room of recruits and talk about “what ifs.” The Canes are also through having to deflect negative recruiting that has gone on for years by other schools. As expected, Miami recruits were absolutely giddy when discovering the news, including four-star receiver commit Braxton Berrios, who said Miami is “full speed ahead now.”

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Juco DT Wyche drops USC for Miami 

October, 22, 2013
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The recruiting woes continued for USC on Tuesday when junior college defensive tackle Michael Wyche (Chesapeake, Va./East Los Angeles College) decommitted from the Trojans and flipped to Miami, in large part to return to the East Coast next year.


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Notebook: WeAreSC recruiting roundup 

September, 30, 2013
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It took USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron less than a minute and a half to utter the word “recruits” during his news conference Sunday following the firing of Lane Kiffin. Given how important recruiting will be for the Trojans the next two years, nobody would have been surprised if Orgeron blurted that word even more quickly.

[+] EnlargeEd Orgeron
Cal Sport Media via AP ImagesEd Orgeron will try to build some recruiting momentum as USC's interim head coach.
Known as one of the nation’s top recruiters, Orgeron figures to play an integral role leading up to national signing day in February. In fact, the energetic, 52-year-old coach had already contacted some top targets Sunday morning.

“We’ve already spoken to our recruits about the value of USC and what’s going on at USC,” Orgeron told reporters Sunday. “Recruiting has been one of our strengths here and it will continue to be one of our strengths. We expect to have a great recruiting class and continue to bring some of the best recruits across the country to USC.”

Orgeron’s pitch, despite his interim status and uncertainty surrounding the coaching situation, will be simple. He will touch on the education, prestige, opportunity and past glory.

“There’s a lot of great things about USC still here,” Orgeron said. “Nothing has changed about USC.”

In this week’s WeAreSC recruiting notebook, we touch on the impact Kiffin’s dismissal could have on USC recruiting and more:

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If the collective reaction from prospects who woke up Sunday to news of USC firing coach Lane Kiffin is any indication, the school’s recruiting efforts will likely benefit from the midseason dismissal.

In fact, ESPN 300 defensive end Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), who committed to the Trojans in late August, believes the firing might be exactly what USC needs.


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Best Pac-12 classes by position 

September, 10, 2013
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Arizona’s haul of 24 verbal commitments is nine more than any other Pac-12 team, while only one BCS program has fewer than USC’s seven -- Minnesota, with six. Oregon, UCLA, Utah and Washington have all yet to reach double digits. But this week, we take a look at which program has put together the best class at each position at this point in the recruiting process.

Quarterback
Strongest class: Stanford

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USC loses ESPN 300 DT Smallwood 

September, 7, 2013
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The USC Trojans were upset by Washington State on Saturday night, and to make matters worse, they lost an ESPN 300 recruit, as four-star defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central) said he has decommitted.


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Recruiting for the 2014 class bumped up another notch this past Sunday, when college coaches could begin making their one phone call per week to high school seniors. Today, we take a look at what position group those Pac-12 coaches might consider their most important position to add talent with this class.


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ESPN 300 DE Dorton commits to USC

August, 23, 2013
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BELLFLOWER, Calif. -- Four-star defensive end Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) became the fifth ESPN 300 prospect to join USC's recruiting class on Friday afternoon when he verbally committed to the Trojans in an announcement ceremony at his school.

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Dorton, ranked No. 212 overall in the ESPN 300, is rated the nation's No. 20 defensive end.

Dorton, one of the area's top defensive prospects, had known for some time that USC was the place for him, but a handful of recent visits to campus solidified his inkling.

"Coach [Ed] Orgeron and I have a relationship in the making," Dorton said. "We talk very often. He's a great coach and great guy. I like the way he coaches. We'll see where that goes when I head up there more and continue to keep in touch with him. I know they only signed one defensive lineman last year, so there's a chance I can come in and play right away. The coaches have talked to me about that and I've seen it for myself at practices. I know about it."

Orgeron brought in only one defensive lineman in the 2013 class, four-star defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow. Dorton becomes USC's eighth commitment and fourth defensive lineman in the current cycle, joining ESPN 300 defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central), defensive end Austin Maloata (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and juco prospect Michael Wyche (Chesapeake, Va./East Los Angeles College).

"I’ve never been to a game at the Coliseum, so I'm excited for that," Dorton said. "I’ll be at a few games this year. I know I’ll be there at the UCLA-USC game, for sure, and definitely the Stanford game. I’ll also be at a few small games, but the big games I’ll be there for sure."

Dorton, whose offer list includes Arizona State, Boise State, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, UCLA and Washington, landed the coveted USC offer in early May. The Trojans are also in pursuit of teammate Damien Mama, an ESPN 300 offensive guard, and have offered ESPN 300 athlete Jaleel Wadood and 2015 quarterback Josh Rosen, the No. 1-rated pocket passer in his class. USC signed four-star offensive tackle Nico Falah from St. John Bosco in the 2013 class.

For Dorton, making a decision before the start of his senior season was important.

"Everything that I wanted to improve on, I did this summer," Dorton said. "Now the main goal is winning that state title. I can focus solely on getting a ring."


The Pac-12 saw an ESPN 300 running back alter an official visit and could be adding an ESPN 300 defensive end on Friday. Also, several recruiting battles could be on tap once official visits get underway, and Oregon State has its sights set on hopefully landing a two-towers addition at receiver.


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The USC Trojans took the field Saturday for the opening day of fall camp practices.

“It was nice to get out here and have organized practices,” said quarterback Cody Kessler. “The summer workouts are great and all, but it’s good to finally be able to be out here with the whole team and the coaches. I thought we had a really good focus today, which was good to see.”

It was a no-pads practice for the Trojans, who will not put on full pads until practice No. 6, which will take place Thursday in a scrimmage in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“It will be a very physical camp once pads get put on,” said coach Lane Kiffin.

There will be a lot of attention paid to the quarterbacks, and Kiffin praised both Kessler and Max Wittek for their work Saturday. Kiffin said there is a long way to go before a starter is named.

Among the primary things Kiffin will be looking for is to see who manages the game better and who takes care of the football. For what it’s worth, Kessler took the first-team reps in the final team drill of the day.

Wittek made an early completion deep to Victor Blackwell, and Kessler hit Nelson Agholor over the middle on a deep ball and then later hooked up with Marqise Lee on a nice reception. Another receiver who had a good first day was freshman Darreus Rogers, who caught almost everything thrown his way.

On the defensive side of the ball, safety Gerald Bowman stood out as a playmaker as he had a one-handed interception and broke up a pass.

Running back rotation

USC running back Tre Madden
Courtesy of Joe AndrasTre Madden "looked great" in the first practice, said USC head coach Lane Kiffin.
All the tailbacks were in action, which was important since several are coming back from injuries. Silas Redd and D.J. Morgan were limited, but the other four all stood out in some way.

Tre [Madden] looked great and he got a lot of work,” Kiffin said. “Justin [Davis] looked better than he did at the end of last spring. Ty [Isaac] had one fumble, but other than that he looked good. There’s a lot of talent in that group.”

Buck Allen ran well in a team drill and looked sharp.

Markowitz update

Abe Markowitz was on the field taking reps as a reserve center. Kiffin confirmed that Markowitz has received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA and has returned to the team as a walk-on. Markowitz gives the Trojans an additional versatile player on the line, as he can also play either guard spot.

Special teams in action

There was a lot of special teams work early in the practice with Andre Heidari attempting several field goals. There were also kickoff return and punt return drills, with the return men alternating among a group of Marqise Lee, Nelson Agholor, D.J. Morgan, Victor Blackwell and Anthony Brown.

More highlight plays

Jabari Ruffin came on a pass rush and leaped high in the air to knock down a Max Browne pass attempt. ... J.R. Tavai was on a blitz and absolutely bowled over Justin Davis trying to make a block in the backfield. ... There were a couple nice plays by walk-ons: Tailback Taylor Ross had a long run and wide receiver Robby Kolanz leaped between two defenders to make a nice grab.

Recruits in attendance

DL Michael Wyche (Monterey Park, Calif./East Los Angeles College), LB D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito), OL Jordan Austin (Claremont, Calif./Claremont) and class of 2016 WR Brandon Burton (Gardena, Calif./Serra).

Quotebook

“I’m at 198 pounds right now; I was at 208 last year. It’s easier to move around at this weight, but I was cramping up a little today because I haven’t bent this much in a long time. I like that this defensive scheme holds the secondary accountable because everybody in the back end is in man-to-man coverage. In high school, when I played free safety I was just roaming around, relying on my talent. Now I understand how to read offenses, I know my keys and how to read the quarterback.” – safety Dion Bailey

“I worked on my decision-making the most in the offseason. Making the right decision is what will win games. The Sun Bowl game gives me the drive to show something different; I’m very much looking forward to that. As far as the quarterback competition, we all know the reality of the situation. Someone will be named the starter and we all know that. We all spend so much time together and we’re friends, but we don’t talk about who will win the job. (Wittek was asked if he would consider transferring if he didn’t win the job) I will cross that bridge if it comes to that.” – quarterback Max Wittek

“I worked a lot this offseason on making sure I give my receivers a chance to make plays, to not overthrow them. We’ve got the kind of receivers that, if you give them a chance, they will do a lot of good things. It comes down to trust as a quarterback, trust in your guys to go get the ball. I also worked on being a field general, being a leader. It’s things like being the first guy in the meeting room, being there in the mornings when guys want to throw, just doing the right thing by example.” – quarterback Cody Kessler
Things were much quieter for USC recruiting this July than they were in the same month last year, when the Trojans landed verbal commitments from eight highly touted prospects to bring their total to a whopping 18 before the start of the high school season. USC ended up signing only six defensive players in the last recruiting cycle, but the Trojans appear to be in better shape this time around. Here’s a breakdown of where the Trojans stand in their defensive recruiting heading into August:

Defensive end

Targets: Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Connor Humphreys (Portland, Ore./Central Catholic), Qualen Cunningham (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton), Jaylen Johnson (Corona, Calif./Centennial), Dewayne Hendrix (O’Fallon, Ill./O’Fallon Township), Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge), Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), Dante Sawyer (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett)

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videoThis year’s edition of The Opening in Beaverton, Oregon featured an absolutely phenomenal collection of prospects with off-the-charts talent -- a number of which currently sit high atop the wish list of the USC coaching staff. Keeping in mind the current areas of need in the Trojans’ upcoming recruiting class, here are seven targets who shined at the event, showing that they have the raw talent, as well as the physical tools to potentially make an immediate impact at USC.

1. CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra)
5-foot-10, 182 pounds
ESPN 300 ranking: 5



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WeAreSC recruiting mailbag 

June, 28, 2013
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WeAreSC recruiting reporter Blair Angulo answers reader questions in his mailbag every week. Have a USC recruiting question of your own? Submit it via Twitter @WeAreSCstaff or @bangulo.

David Bessin, via @DavidBeTrojan: Will the current lineman commits be able to compete against the stronger lines USC will face? Notably Stanford.


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