USC Trojans: Shay Fields Jr.

What might have been for USC 

February, 4, 2014
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USC’s upcoming recruiting haul will be the final group restricted by the NCAA penalties handed down in 2010. Limited to signing 15 athletes per class beginning in 2012 while also being forced to maintain a roster of no more than 75 scholarship players, the Trojans were docked a total of 30 total scholarships through next season.

The effects of the penalties have been felt even more than most imagined as, when coupled with injuries, the Trojans have had to deal with major depth issues. Not only that, but many of the quality players USC would have landed under normal circumstances now line up for Trojans opponents, making the team’s job on the field that much more challenging.

With that in mind, here are 10 recruits from each of the past three recruiting classes who could have been at USC.

Notebook: ESPN 300 ATH Smith trims list 

January, 20, 2014
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TUSTIN, Calif. -- A decision might still be two weeks away, but the picture is getting clearer for ESPN 300 athlete John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly).


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USC builds momentum during dead period 

January, 16, 2014
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The month-long dead period was part fruitful and part complicated for USC recruiting, offering a prelude to what could be a wild finish for new head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff.

Four verbal commitments highlighted the period -- which ran from Dec. 16 to Jan. 15 -- but some members of the Trojans’ class were met with uncertainty as the coaches scrambled to find additional targets. A commitment from dual-threat quarterback Jalen Greene (Gardena, Calif./Serra) was the first domino to fall, as Sarkisian nabbed his top target at a position of need, and plenty of activity followed despite the prohibition of face-to-face contact.


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Five USC recruiting priorities 

January, 10, 2014
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As the final stretch of recruiting begins for the 2014 class, USC is limited in the amount of scholarships left to give.

The Trojans currently have 17 verbal commitments for 19 available slots, although there is speculation that there could be decommitments from current verbals coming, which would open up additional spots. Those decommitments could come from players who sense that they are not a priority for the new staff, or who think they have better opportunities elsewhere.

While it remains to be seen exactly how many slots will be left to fill, here are five remaining priorities based on recruiting needs:


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USC's recruiting resolutions for 2014 

December, 31, 2013
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A new year usually brings new aspirations. But in the recruiting world, hanging up a new calendar signifies the final stretch. It’s the beginning of the end.

[+] EnlargeAdoree Jackson
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comNo. 7 overall Adoree Jackson would be a big get for USC's coaching staff.
With national signing day just six weeks away, we take a quick glance at potential New Year’s resolutions for USC recruiting:

1. Sign an elite prospect

USC fans want both Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) to become Trojans, but either one would do, really. Whereas the 2013 class had the likes of Su’a Cravens and Max Browne as headliners, the current group lacks similar star power. ESPN 300 members Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) are no slouches, but Jackson and Smith would certainly take the class to the next level. New head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff would like nothing more than to finish strong heading into spring practice and the ever-important 2015 recruiting cycle.


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USC recruits to watch at all-star games 

December, 26, 2013
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With the all-star games approaching fast, here's a look at four USC recruits to keep tabs on at each event:

Under Armour All-America Game, Thurs., Jan. 2, 1 p.m. PT, ESPN

CB Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra): The five-star athlete announced on his Twitter account that he plans to name his top schools following the game. USC, which recently landed a commitment from good friend and high school teammate Jalen Greene (Gardena, Calif./Serra), would appear to be in good position to among those named. Jackson attended the Las Vegas Bowl and, though he has shown a liking for out-of-state schools, would not surprise anyone by becoming the latest Serra star to sign with the Trojans.


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Notebook: USC commits win state 

December, 23, 2013
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CARSON, Calif. -- USC receiver commit Shay Fields (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) looked up to the StubHub Center bleachers Saturday night and shook his head in disbelief.

The three-star prospect had just helped St. John Bosco capture the CIF State Open Division Bowl Game championship against mighty Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, and some of his teammates sat on the front-row ledge celebrating with their friends and family. As fellow USC commit Malik Dorton sat there holding the California-shaped wooden trophy, Fields reflected on the 12-month journey and could do nothing more than shake his head.

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Breaking down USC's '14 class by position 

December, 19, 2013
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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: Talamaivao solid with USC 

December, 16, 2013
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NORWALK, Calif. -- The tears in the eyes of ESPN 300 offensive guard Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) told the story.

A part of Talamaivao was sad because high school career had just come to an end Saturday night. Another part of Talamaivao was thrilled for close friend and possible college teammate Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), who will continue his journey to the state bowl game.

A 70-49 victory by St. John Bosco at Cerritos College left Talamaivao emotional, despite the U.S. Army All-American Bowl next month and a bright future at USC.


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Notebook: Marshall on USC experience 

November, 18, 2013
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When the final second ticked off the clock and USC completed its upset of Stanford on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, ESPN Junior 300 cornerback Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) was so excited that he nearly stormed the field along with thousands of fans.

His father, Tony, was there to hold him back.

“I didn’t think it was safe so I pulled him back along with a couple of other recruits,” Tony said. “We took pictures and just looked out onto the field. It was something we have never seen or experienced before. It was something you see in March Madness. The energy level was crazy; it felt like a championship fight in Las Vegas.”


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USC commits, targets revel in upset win 

November, 17, 2013
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USC interim coach Ed Orgeron had already revitalized the Trojans’ recruiting efforts, sending out several local offers and picking up four commitments in the weeks since taking over for Lane Kiffin.

That momentum grew exponentially Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where a loaded list of top-flight recruits saw USC upset Stanford in front of a crazed crowd that rushed the field in jubilance. Five-star cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), ESPN 300 athlete John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and ESPN 300 tight end Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) were among the top targets in attendance.

The list featured all but one of USC’s nine verbal commits, as longtime pledge Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) couldn’t make the trip but watched intently from home.

“Going into the game, I knew it was going to be a dog fight,” Lobendahn said. “I wanted the Trojans to battle no matter what and they did that. I wasn’t going to lose faith in them no matter what, but I’m so glad we got the W and so happy for Coach O and the team. I’m super mad I couldn’t go celebrate.”

Lobendahn could get the scoop from USC receiver commit Shay Fields Jr. (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), who was in the middle of the celebration.

“The locker room was really crazy,” Fields said. “Everybody was dancing and going crazy in there. The recruits were loving the intensity inside that locker room. Now I’m trying to get everybody (to join me).”

Fields had a number of recruits to choose from, as the Trojans drew the presence of local recruits whom have made pledges elsewhere, including Cal athlete commit Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Miami quarterback commit Brad Kaaya (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade), Cal running back commit Tre Watson (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and UCLA receiver commit Jordan Lasley (Gardena, Calif./Serra).

“It definitely gives me something to think about,” Wadood said. “It was a huge win for SC. I’m still trying to decide if I will take an official visit. My last one will be between Washington and USC.”

Kaaya, a four-star pocket passer who landed an offer from childhood favorite USC shortly after Orgeron took the helm, surprised his mother with tickets for her birthday.

“It was exciting to watch,” Kaaya said. “Funny thing is, the first college football game I ever saw was Stanford-USC at the Coliseum when USC lost. This time, it seemed like the situation switched and USC came out on top.”

For three-star offensive tackle Jordan Austin (Claremont, Calif./Claremont), the game also served as a chance to build a relationship with a future teammate.

“It was pure excitement in the locker room following the well-deserved win,” Austin said. “I hung out with Jordan Poland primarily, but we did not talk much about recruiting. Rather, it was just friend to friend.”

The Class of 2015 was also well represented, with No. 1-rated signal-caller Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), No. 4 cornerback Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and No. 7 wide receiver Cordell Broadus (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar) headlining a group that also included No. 2 outside linebacker John Houston Jr. (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and No. 12 defensive tackle Rasheem Green (Gardena, Calif./Serra).

“It was a great game,” Broadus said. “The atmosphere was very electric.”

The job Orgeron and his staff have done has not been lost on recruits. ESPN 300 defensive end Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) has been open to visiting other schools while being committed to the Trojans, but that would all disappear if Orgeron were to get hired.

“Recruits want the coaches to stay on staff really bad; at least I know I do,” Dorton said. “If those guys stay, I’m definitely coming.”

Three-star outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne), who last month became the first recruiting class member from the Los Angeles City Section, left the Coliseum with a smile on his face.

“It was great. I had a good time and I feel like I made the right choice,” Nwosu said. “After the game, we went in the locker room and it was crazy in there. All the coaches were getting turned up.”

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Notebook: USC commits like turnaround 

November, 11, 2013
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Recruits have taken notice of a resurgent USC football team under interim head coach Ed Orgeron, but none have been happier than those already committed to the Trojans.

The latest eyebrow-raising victory came Saturday when USC throttled Cal behind an inspired effort, and the consensus feeling among commits was one of pride. he Trojans have seemingly salvaged their season heading into the final stretch.

Wins and losses might not be the most important factors for recruits, but the impressive three-game winning streak and accompanying buzz has undoubtedly helped USC’s efforts on the trail.


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Shift in strategy could pay off for USC 

November, 7, 2013
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Interim head coach Ed Orgeron wasted little time to reignite USC's recruiting when he stepped into his role earlier this season.

Orgeron sent out a flurry of offers that Lane Kiffin apparently was hesitant to extend during the final weeks of his tenure.

These weren’t five-star prospects the Trojans were suddenly offering, either. Many weren’t even four-stars.


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Notebook: Rosen notices excitement at USC 

November, 4, 2013
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Josh RosenBlair Angulo/WeAreSCESPN Junior 300 quarterback Josh Rosen has noticed a renewed spark in the USC program since Ed Orgeron was named the interim coach, which has renewed his interest in the Trojans.
ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) found himself in unfamiliar territory Friday night during a victory against Santa Ana Mater Dei.

For the first time since he could remember, the top-rated signal-caller in the 2015 class was on the field during the fourth quarter.


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Video: Shay Fields on commitment

November, 4, 2013
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Three-star receiver Shay Fields Jr. (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) speaks with WeAreSC recruiting reporter Blair Angulo about his commitment to the Trojans, winning the Trinity League and convincing teammates to join him at USC.

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