USC Trojans: Tahaan Goodman

Our look at position groups in the Pac-12 continues with the safeties.

Arizona: The Wildcats have a lot of experience at safety with a combined 78 starts between Jourdon Grandon, Tra'Mayne Bondurant and Jared Tevis. All three of their backups on the AdvoCare V100 Bowl depth chart -- Anthony Lopez, William Parks and Jamar Allah -- also return.

Arizona State: Damarious Randall returns as one of the more talented safeties in the conference after a season in which he finished tied for third on the team with 71 tackles. Marcus Ball is a strong candidate to eventually earn the job next to Randall, but he's still working his way back from a clavicle injury that cost him the 2013 season. Laiu Moeakiola, who appeared in 10 games last year as a reserve, James Johnson, Jayme Otomewo and Ezekiel Bishop are other names to watch.

California: Cal started five different players at safety last year and four of them -- Michael Lowe, Cameron Walker, Avery Sebastian and Damariay Drew -- will be back. Sebastian began the year in the starting lineup and had an interception and 10 tackles before suffering a season-ending Achilles tear in the first half of the season opener. Look for him to regain his starting job next to Lowe.

Colorado: The Buffs need to replace SS Parker Orms, who had 26 career starts and 10 last season, but FS Jered Bell will return. All three of the players competing to replace Orms -- Marques Mosley, Terrel Smith and Tedric Thompson -- have started at least three games. Smith redshirted last season after he underwent shoulder surgery and has 19 career starts.

Oregon: The Ducks lose both Brian Jackson and Avery Patterson from a secondary that has consistently been among the nation's best. Fifth-year senior Erick Dargan, Patterson's high school teammate, looks to slide into his first full-time starting role after three years of meaningful contributions on both special teams and reserve duty. Opposite him, Issac Dixon is the presumed favorite with Tyree Robinson and Reggie Daniels also in the mix.

Oregon State: The Beavers have both Ryan Murphy and Tyrequek Zimmerman back for their third year as starters, which should help soften the blow of losing CB Rashaad Reynolds. A few others to watch are sophomore Cyril Noland-Lewis, Justin Strong, Brandon Arnold, Zack Robinson and walk-on Micah Audiss, who was No. 2 behind Zimmerman in the season-ending depth chart.

Stanford: Ed Reynolds' early departure for the NFL creates the one real unknown spot for the Cardinal. Two former offensive players -- QB Dallas Lloyd and WR Kodi Whitfield -- are in the competition for the vacant spot, as is Kyle Olugbode. Zach Hoffpauir will join the competition once baseball season is over. The winner will play next to Jordan Richards, a senior who has started the past two seasons and played regularly as a freshman.

UCLA: Starters Randall Goforth and Anthony Jefferson are both back after being named all-Pac-12 honorable mention last season. Two names to watch are Tahaan Goodman and Tyler Foreman, both of whom arrived as part of the Class of 2013.

USC: Su'a Cravens and Josh Shaw are back, but the Trojans will have to replace Dion Bailey, who left early for the NFL after converting to safety from linebacker last year. Shaw could wind up back at corner, which would open the door for Leon McQuay III. Gerald Bowman got a medical redshirt after appearing in three games last year and should provide depth.

Utah: Veteran Eric Rowe is set to begin his fourth year as a starter in the Utes' secondary, but he'll play next to a new player with Michael Walker out of eligibility. Charles Henderson was Walker's primary backup last season, but look for junior-college transfer Tevin Carter -- a former Cal Bear -- to challenge him for the starting job.

Washington: The Huskies are looking to fill both starting spots and will likely do so with young players. Sophomores Brandon Beaver, Kevin King and Trevor Walker all saw spot duty last year and the program signed an impressive crop of high school safeties, including Bellevue's Bishard “Budda” Baker.

Washington State: Replacing Deone Bucannon means replacing one of the school's all-time greats at his position. Isaac Dotson looks like the favorite to take that spot, but will be pushed by David Bucannon, Darius Lemora and true freshman Markell Sanders, who arrived for spring practice.

WeAreSC signing day blog

February, 6, 2013
5:15 p.m. -- Former USC commit Eddie Vanderdoes signed with Notre Dame.

4:11 p.m. -- USC sent out a press release announcing its recruiting class. "We could only sign a limited number of players because of our sanctions, so we went after the best of the best," coach Lane Kiffin said in a statement.

Kiffin will hold a press conference on campus at 5 p.m. PT. It will be streamed live official athletic website,

4:00 p.m. -- "In the summertime I committed to USC, and there's a reason why I committed," said Nico Falah, who announced for the Trojans. "It was back and forth and hard to decide, but I went with the greater picture."

Falah also said that UCLA made a late run for him this morning, but he prayed about the decision and signed with USC.

1:08 p.m. -- Indications are that USC might be done for the day. There's the possibility that the coaching staff tucks away the five available scholarships and uses them for the 2014 class, which would become a 20-member class.

12:46 p.m. -- USC has officially announced the signings of Nico Falah, Steven Mitchell, Ty Isaac, Michael Hutchings, Khaliel Rodgers and Quinton Powell.

12:34 p.m. -- ESPN 150 prospect Steven Mitchell, the only receiver in the class, has also signed. No official word from USC yet, though. No surprise on this one. Read all about Mitchell's drama-free recruitment here Insider.

12:29 p.m. -- It's important to note that USC has yet to announce any of its signees, though Khaliel Rodgers and Michael Hutchings have confirmed they have signed and sent in their national letters of intent.

12:16 p.m. -- Washington has announced that it received a signed national letter of intent from cornerback Jermaine Kelly, ending any chance USC had to swoop in late for the local standout. The Trojans offered on Tuesday hoping to soften the blow dealt by the loss of Jalen Ramsey, but it was too late. Kelly fell in love with Seattle and decided to leave the area. USC has had a bad two days.

12:11 p.m. -- It's no surprise now, but Jason Hatcher has officially signed with Kentucky. He walked into his announcement ceremony wearing a blue tie and carrying a blue Kentucky hat. Bigelow is the lone defensive lineman who remains from a group that included Hatcher, Fitts, Prevot and Eddie Vanderdoes.

11:11 a.m. -- We've received word that cornerback Jermaine Kelly, who was offered by USC less than 24 hours before signing day, is expected to announce his college choice in 30 minutes.

Kelly (Los Angeles/Salesian) is committed to Washington and was previously committed to UCLA, but it wouldn't be surprising if he signed with childhood favorite USC. It would be big for the Trojans given the loss of No. 4 CB Jalen Ramsey to Florida State.

11:00 a.m. -- No. 14 DT Keith Bryant had a USC hat on the table at his announcement ceremony but committed to Florida State. It appears Bigelow will be the only incoming defensive lineman for the Trojans.

9:33 a.m. -- Eddie Vanderdoes has cleared the air about his situation, writing on his Twitter account: "I'll put my life on it that I have NOT signed one paper yet."

9:15 a.m. -- ESPN 150 linebacker Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland) committed to USC, ending a drought of sorts for the Trojans. Fitts, Thomas, Ramsey and Prevot had committed elsewhere, so this is an important pick up for USC.

"Every time I heard about (the decommitments) I shrugged it off," Powell said. "I just thought about myself. I wanted to commit based on my opinion of the school."

8:41 a.m. -- Prevot announced he is signing with Oregon. Another blow to USC, heightened by the fact that they lost out to another Pac-12 school... With DE Kylie Fitts (Redlands, Calif./Redlands East Valley) signing with UCLA and Jason Hatcher (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) expected to sign with Kentucky, the Trojans are down to early enrollee Kenny Bigelow in this class.

8:28 a.m. -- Four-star DE Torrodney Prevot (Houston, Texas/Alief Taylor) has three hats on the table at his announcement ceremony: USC, Oregon and Texas A&M...

8:00 a.m. -- No. 4-rated CB Jalen Ramsey (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy) officially flipped from USC to Florida State in a signing ceremony at his school. It's a big loss for USC, which had held onto his commitment since the summer. Ultimately, the firing of defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders appears to have made the difference. Ramsey felt very comfortable with new Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who recruited him while he was at Alabama.

[+] EnlargeKhaliel Rodgers
Courtesy of Khaliel RodgersKhaliel Rodgers makes it official with the Trojans.
7:16 a.m. -- UCLA coach Jim Mora announced the school received a signed national letter of intent from four-star safety Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga), ending any speculation that the close friend of USC early enrollee Chris Hawkins might potentially flip. Not catastrophic since the Trojans are set at safety with No. 1 Su'a Cravens and No. 3 Leon McQuay III.

6:15 a.m. -- No. 1-rated OLB Matthew Thomas (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington) committed to Florida State, citing a comfort level with the coaches and it being a family decision. According to sources, USC made a late run Tuesday night but ran out of time.

4:55 a.m. -- ESPN 300 OG Khaliel Rodgers has signed his paperwork and is making it official with the Trojans.

4:15 a.m. -- Signing day is finally here. Follow along for the latest news as USC looks to put the finishing touches on its 2013 recruiting class.

USC high school all-star game guide 

December, 27, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- With all 16 verbal commitments selected to compete in the upcoming all-star games, the USC Trojans will have great representation under the national spotlight. There will also be particular interest in a handful of in-game announcements, namely that of recent official visitor Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), a top safety target who intends to enroll early. Here’s a guide to all USC recruits in next week’s All-American games:

Under Armour All-American Game

When: Jan. 4, 2 p.m. PT

Visits don't sway USC commit Hawkins 

December, 21, 2012
The top cornerback at the 2012 Cal-State Game in Visalia, Calif., has been as advertised during the South team's practices this week.

ESPN 150 CB Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) has been a USC commit since April, but that hasn't stopped him from taking other visits and talking to other schools.

While there have been visits taken and rumors floating around for months, the No. 11 CB in the nation is still solid with the Trojans. Previous visits to Cal, Notre Dame and Washington did nothing to dissuade Hawkins from sticking with his dream school.

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What if ... USC had more scholarships? 

December, 7, 2012
There have been many hypothetical questions surrounding the USC Trojans. What if senior center Khaled Holmes had been healthy for the Stanford game? What if Matt Barkley had spiked the ball in the last-minute drive at Arizona? What if USC made an adjustment or two against the vaunted Oregon offense?

In the end, there were too many questionable moments this season for a team that couldn't afford any. Now, with the Trojans preparing for the Sun Bowl, recruiting fans have found themselves asking another question.

What if USC had more scholarships to give out?

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Chris Hawkins reflects on HS career 

November, 27, 2012
Jalen Ramsey, Chris Hawkins, Sua CravensBlair Angulo/WeAreSC.comFuture Trojans (from left) Jalen Ramsey, Chris Hawkins and Su'a Cravens got together this weekend as Ramsey watched Cravens prevail over Hawkins in a CIF playoff game.
The walk back to the visitors locker room was a somber one for Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) on Friday night following a season-ending loss to fellow USC commit Su’a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta). The four-star cornerback buried his face in the shoulder of an assistant coach and hugged a few teammates before disappearing into a crowd gathered outside the exit.

Hawkins emerged from the locker room 10 minutes later decked out in his Trojans gear. He posed for photos with Cravens and fellow corner commit Jalen Ramsey (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy). Hawkins smiled, but it was difficult for him to do so.

“Knowing that my high school career is over is real tough,” Hawkins said. “I love playing football. I know it’s not over. I know I’m going to USC and I’ve got some all-star games left, but it’s just tough knowing I won’t be with my team anymore.”

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Weekend Rewind: USC 

November, 19, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The USC Trojans lost their fourth game of the season on Saturday, and even though it came at the hands of crosstown rival UCLA, the general reaction among the Trojans' commits was all too familiar.

“It just makes me want to come in as fast as possible to help out,” four-star running back commit Justin Davis said Sunday.

It’s a sentiment shared by the members of a tight-knit recruiting class. Yes, USC is having an underwhelming campaign, but it appears that only drastic changes to the coaching staff between now and national signing day would have an effect.

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Recruiting Mailbag (Nov. 9) 

November, 9, 2012
WeAreSC recruiting reporter Blair Angulo answers reader questions in his mailbag every Friday.

Ed (N.M.): Interesting tweet you had on [Texas commit] A'Shawn Robinson. I know the talk about possible candidates for the open recruiting slot were three great safeties. Given the problems with defense this year, if A'Shawn is a legitimate chance, do you seeing a top DT being a bigger need than a safety? Thanks.

[+] EnlargeRamsey
Dave HookerJalen Ramsey is still considered solid to USC.
If that defensive tackle is top-rated Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County), then I think the decision is an obvious one. But after losing a commitment from free safety Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo), the void next to strong safety commit Su’a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) in the Trojans’ secondary is perhaps more pressing. If USC can land another highly coveted safety -- either No. 3-rated Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), No. 4-rated Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) or No. 8-rated Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) -- then you’d assume Ed Orgeron would settle for highly coveted defensive tackles Kenny Bigelow (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) and Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer).

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USC recruiting several elite safeties 

November, 6, 2012
It didn’t take the USC Trojans long to react to the news that safety Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) had decided to decommit on Sunday.

[+] EnlargeTahaan Goodman
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comTahaan Goodman is one of three top 10 safeties the Trojans are recruiting in the wake of Max Redfield's decommitment.
The Trojans reached out on Monday and confirmed an official visit with safety Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) for the weekend of Dec. 7. It’s no coincidence that all of the USC commits who plan to enroll early for the spring semester will be visiting that weekend, considering McQuay is also looking to enroll early at his school of choice. McQuay has already visited Vanderbilt and Oregon with plans to visit Michigan this weekend.

McQuay and USC have long shown interest in each other, so it’s not like the confirmation of a visit came out of nowhere. Even after the Trojans had received a verbal commitment from Redfield over the summer -- which seemingly filled their need at safety when combined with an earlier verbal from Su’a Cravens (Murietta, Calif./Vista Murietta) -- they had continued to stay in touch not only with McQuay but with other safeties such as Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) and Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos De Niza).

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Chris Hawkins all in with Trojans 

November, 5, 2012
While a mid-October visit to Notre Dame had an enormous impact on four-star athlete Max Redfield, ultimately leading to his decommitment from USC, it didn’t have nearly the same lasting effect on cornerback Chris Hawkins (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga).

Hawkins admitted that, yes, the trip to South Bend, Ind., was nice, but a return to the Coliseum for the Colorado game made him feel right at home. The four-star cornerback prospect was one of a handful of USC commits to attend the Trojans’ 62-51 loss to Oregon on Saturday, and Hawkins once again got that special feeling.

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Weekend Rewind: USC 

November, 5, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The decision that had been brewing for weeks became official Sunday night when four-star athlete Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) decommitted from USC.

Redfield broke the news on his Facebook page a day after attending the Trojans' 62-51 loss to Oregon at Memorial Coliseum but, really, had been wavering on his commitment since taking an official visit to Notre Dame on Oct. 12. With the No. 2-rated athlete re-opening his recruitment, USC's top-ranked class was dealt its first blow. Redfield is scheduled to visit Washington on Nov. 9 and has been in contact with Oregon and LSU with intent to set up trips. His official visit to USC is scheduled for Jan. 18, and the Trojans, though no longer the front-runners, are still a viable option.

With Redfield off the books, four-star safeties Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) and Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) appear to be the likely candidates to fill the void.

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McQuay, Goodman could replace Redfield 

November, 4, 2012
The USC recruiting class had held steady for 99 days. It had filled to capacity some six months before National Signing Day, well before the start of the college football season.

Four-star athlete Max Redfield (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo) was one of eight recruits to decide on USC in July alone. On July 18 he became a coveted final piece for a class that already included program building blocks such as No. 2-rated defensive tackle Kenny Bigelow (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy), top-rated safety Su'a Cravens (Murrieta, Calif./Vista Murrieta) and No. 2-rated pocket passer Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline).

On Sunday night, Redfield -- who had downgraded his stance on the Trojans to "soft" following an official visit to Notre Dame on Oct. 12 -- officially decommitted from USC.

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Four-star S Tahaan Goodman stays patient 

November, 3, 2012
RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. -- Four-star safety Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga) walked off the field Friday night following a 31-6 victory against Alta Loma (Calif.) and immediately removed his helmet, revealing a black skull cap with the familiar blue UCLA script logo plastered on the front.

[+] EnlargeTahaan Goodman
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comTahaan Goodman is planning a visit to LSU, but it might come after the season.
But as reporters approached, the nation’s No. 8-rated safety prospect quickly took off the cap -- sacrificing warmth in fear of misinterpretation -- and smiled. It was a classic "nothing to see here, folks" moment.

Goodman had planned to take an official visit to LSU for the Tigers’ highly anticipated battle against Alabama, but said he would instead reschedule. It pained him to postpone the trip, but being able to attend USC’s crucial game against Pac-12 Conference leader Oregon at the Coliseum was a consolation of sorts.

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WeAreSC recruiting mailbag -- Oct. 19 

October, 19, 2012
WeAreSC recruiting reporter Blair Angulo answers reader questions in his mailbag every Friday. Have a USC recruiting question of your own? Submit it here.

Motovich (Torrance, Calif.): With Chris Hawkins not a sure thing, which of the current DB commits and potential recruits could play CB easily? We have a lot of athlete/DB commits or prospects that are more safety-types.

If the Trojans were to lose Hawkins -- which I doubt they will -- they could make a run at Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos de Niza) to fill the void. Willis is listed at safety now, but the common belief is that he’ll play corner in college. At this point, losing a commitment would presumably free up a spot for either Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) or Tahaan Goodman (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga).

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Mailbag: Will USC commits flip? 

October, 5, 2012
WeAreSC recruiting reporter Blair Angulo answers reader questions in his mailbag every Friday. Have a USC recruiting question of your own? Submit it here.

Lance (Yorba Linda, Calif.): Why would Oregon allow (Max) Redfield to visit but not Chris Hawkins or (Nico) Falah?
WeAreSC: By reaching out to Mission Viejo (Calif.) coach Bob Johnson this week, Oregon made it clear it will go after recruits -- committed or not. Redfield has always expressed an interest in taking all of his official visits, so it’s not at all surprising that Oregon would offer to host him for a big rivalry weekend. Redfield, though, will not be taking a trip to Eugene this weekend.

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