USC Trojans: Tyler Luatua

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.

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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Pac-12 class rankings analysis 

December, 4, 2013
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There was some good news for the Pac-12 in the updated class rankings released on Wednesday as Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon all moved up. The Wildcats maintained their grip on the top class in the conference and now sit at No. 18 overall. The Sun Devils jumped two places -- from No. 24 to No. 22 -- largely on the strength of a commitment from four-star running back Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdale), and in doing so, leapt Stanford for the No. 2 spot in the Pac-12. The Cardinal slid two spots, down to No. 25 overall, while Oregon remains the fourth conference team among the top 40, up to places to No. 30 overall. Here's a look at the conference's rankings. Insider

Trending up: In the 2013 class, Arizona State didn't sign and enroll a single four-star high school prospect. With Richard's commitment on Monday, the Sun Devils now have eight in their 2014 class. While Richard is the first commitment since mid-November, Arizona State's on-field performance has recruits buzzing about the future of the Sun Devils and with a win this weekend, coach Todd Graham will have an opportunity to close out this class in a big way.

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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

December, 2, 2013
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Rivalry weekend brought plenty of excitement to the Pac-12, but it didn’t produce much recruiting activity aside from a few official visits. There were plenty of interested eyes across the West region, though, as UCLA knocked off USC for the second consecutive season, Arizona State reclaimed the Territorial Cup, and Oregon and Washington held off their in-state rivals.


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Recruits react to UCLA's win over USC 

December, 1, 2013
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Many of the area’s top recruits were on hand at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where UCLA claimed a second consecutive victory over crosstown rival USC on Saturday night.

The long list included ESPN 300 prospects Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), as well as No. 1-rated tight end Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and four-star linebacker Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra).

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USC recruits to visit Notre Dame 

October, 17, 2013
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A midseason visit to South Bend, Ind., last season convinced Max Redfield,, then a USC commit, that Notre Dame was the place for him. The same trip nearly swayed longtime Trojans fan Chris Hawkins, too, as the Fighting Irish laid out the golden carpet on their way to securing the No. 4-rated recruiting class.

This season, USC will have an opportunity to offset the infamous glow when some mutual targets take their official visits to Notre Dame. A Trojan victory would not only boost recruiting, but also deal a blow to the rival’s efforts.

Top offensive line priority Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), who grew up rooting for USC, will be in attendance after taking his first official visit last weekend to Wisconsin.


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Josh RosenBlair Angulo/ESPNESPN Junior 300 quarterback Josh Rosen is a big target for USC, which has struck out on 2014 quarterback prospects so far.

BELLFLOWER, Calif. -- Before leaving the USC campus on Friday night, interim head coach Ed Orgeron told reporters it was time for the staff to become visible on the Los Angeles recruiting scene. He and assistant coach Tee Martin wasted no time following the evening practice session, heading directly to Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco for an intriguing matchup against Los Angeles Crenshaw.

Upon arrival, Orgeron did everything short of kissing babies.


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Best available: California prospects 

September, 17, 2013
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One of the premier states for consistently producing excellent talent, California is a key recruiting ground for programs throughout the nation and vital to teams in the Pac-12. For 2014, the state is home to 28 ESPN 300 prospects, including a five-star and two other players ranked No. 1 at their respective positions. Of those ESPN 300 prospects, 18 have already made verbal commitments, with four different BCS conferences represented. Great talent is still available in the state, though, and with the Pac-12 coming off a strong weekend when nine member teams won their games, it’s a perfect time to look at the top prospects still available in California.


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WeAreSC recruiting mailbag 

August, 2, 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.

[+] EnlargeErmon Lane
Steve Dipaola/NikeErmon Lane is one of several top-level skill players the Trojans are heavily pursuing.
@Retired728: What’s happening in recruiting on skill-position players?


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USC must fend off SEC appeal 

June, 24, 2013
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CORONA, Calif. -- One SEC power already swooped into Southern California to nab one of the region’s top prospects. ESPN 300 offensive guard Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) surprised many by committing to Alabama last month, and it might not be the last time it happens before national signing day.


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The Opening, presented by Nike, will feature 162 of the best high school football players in the country. The event, which will include linemen, 7-on-7 and SPARQ testing competitions, is set to run from June 30 to July 3 at the Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore.

The following events from The Opening will be televised on ESPNU:

July 1: SPARQ Rating National Championship, 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. ET

July 2: 7-on-7 Pool Play, 9 p.m.-11:30 p.m. ET

July 3: Linemen Challenge Finals and 7-on-7 semifinal and championship games, 9 p.m.-midnight ET

The players will be divided in to six teams -- Alpha Pro, Apocalypse, Field Generals, Land Sharks, Super Bad and Vapor Carbon. Here is a closer look at how the teams match up.

Team: Alpha Pro
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Jordan Palmer, defensive coordinator Hardy Nickerson

The Alpha Pro team will have plenty of targets to spread the ball around. Ermon Lane and Tyler Luatua, the No. 1-ranked receiver and tight end in the country respectively, bring size and playmaking ability to the passing game. ESPN 300 athletes Corey Holmes, Jalen Hurd, John "JuJu" Smith, Ja'Von Harrison, and Derrell Scott are all explosive offensive weapons.

Defensively Alpha Pro is led by Andrew Brown, the No. 1-ranked defensive tackle in the country, ESPN 150 cornerback Damon Webb, defensive end Andrew Williams, Ohio State linebacker commit Dante Booker and LSU cornerback commit Chris Hardeman.

Complete Alpha Pro roster.

Team: Apocalypse
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Adam Tafralis, defensive coordinator Donovin Darius

The first thing that jumps out about team Apocalypse is the talent in the defensive front seven. Team Apocalypse will be led by five-star defensive end Da'Shawn Hand and inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan. Hand, from Woodbridge, Va., is the No. 4-ranked player in the country, while McMillan was recently bumped up to a five-star linebacker. Joining Hand and McMillan along the front seven are ESPN 300 defensive linemen Anthony Moten and Ainuu Taua, and linebackers D.J. Calhoun and Rashaan Evans.

Offensively, team Apocalypse has no shortage of playmakers. ESPN 300 wide receivers Artavis Scott, K.D. Cannon and Michiah Quick will provide explosiveness in the passing game, while athletic running backs Joe Mixon and Royce Freeman will provide athletic and reliable targets out of the backfield.

Complete Apocalypse roster.

Team: Field Generals
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Charlie Frye, defensive coordinator Michael Fletcher

Seven-on-seven events are always geared towards the offense, but with five-star defensive back Adoree' Jackson, No. 3-ranked safety Jamal Adams, and ESPN 300 cornerback Adarius Pickett in the secondary, the Field Generals should more than hold their own. New Ohio State defensive end commit Jalyn Holmes and the No. 6-ranked defensive end in the country, Solomon Thomas, will be two to watch along the defensive line.

Offensively, the Field Generals are led by ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama, ESPN 300 wide receivers Austin Roberts and Thaddeus Snodgrass and explosive Notre Dame running back commit Elijah Hood.

Complete Field Generals roster.

Team: Landsharks
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Craig Nall, defensive coordinator Keith Bulluck

The Landsharks have some big-time talent along each line of scrimmage. Led by five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson, the Landsharks also feature ESPN 300 offensive guard Corey Martinez. ESPN 300 defensive linemen Gerald Willis III and Thomas Holley, as well as ESPN 300 defensive end Chad Thomas, will form a very physical and athletic defensive line.

In the secondary, the Landsharks will have three defensive backs -- Arrion Springs, Chris Lammons and Tony Brown -- that are ranked among the top 85 players in the country. The defense also features ESPN 150 linebacker Nyles Morgan.

Offensively, explosive running backs Dalvin Cook, a Florida commit, and Racean Thomas form a dangerous tandem out of the backfield, and wide receivers Travis Rudolph and Jalen Harvey are solid receiving threats.

Complete Landsharks roster.

Team: Superbad
Coaches: Offensive coordinator Dennis Gile, defensive coordinator Harold Nash Jr.

The Superbad defense line is led by five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter and ESPN 150 defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson. The linebacking corp is stacked with three ESPN 300 members, including Clifton Garrett, Christian Miller and Edwin Freeman. Cornerback Jalen Tabor is the No. 19-ranked player in the country.

Offensively, Superbad has a huge advantage with the No. 1-ranked prospect in the country, running back Leonard Fournette. This team is loaded on offense, with wide receivers Drake Harris, Josh Malone and Speedy Noil all in the mix.

Complete Superbad roster.

Team: Vapor Carbon
Coaches: Offensive coordinator George Whitfield, defensive coordinator Chris Gizzi.

Vapor Carbon will be tough to throw against with defensive backs Quin Blanding, Naijiel Hale and Ed Paris roaming the field. The linebacker group is just as impressive, with Ohio State commit Kyle Berger, Kain Daub and Dillon Bates all leading the way.

The offense for Vapor Carbon could be lethal with running back Joseph Yearby and Nick Chubb in the backfield. Spreading out wide receivers T.V. Williams, Justin Brent and tight end Ian Bunting on the outside could prove to be an awesome combination for this squad.

Team Vapor Carbon has a lot of pieces to make a long run in the 7-on-7 tournament, but then again, every team is stacked in this competition.

Complete Vapor Carbon roster.

ESPN 300 targets: USC 

June, 18, 2013
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With this week's release of the ESPN 300, here's a look at 10 of USC's top targets in the 2014 class, ranked in order of their likelihood to commit to the Trojans.

1. OG Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco)
6-4, 352
ESPN 300 Rank: 67

[+] EnlargeDamien Mama
Tom Hauck for Student SportsOf the ESPN 300 targets USC is pursuing, OL Damien Mama could have the best chance of committing to the Trojans.
Why they want him: Limited scholarship numbers forced USC to sign only one guard prospect, Khaliel Rodgers, in 2013. Mama would add another body to the mix, to go along with commit Toa Lobendahn.

Who else wants him: Alabama, Cal, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Ole Miss have also offered.

Odds they get him: 50 percent


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ESPN 300 analysis: USC Trojans 

June, 17, 2013
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The USC recruiting class might not be high in numbers yet, but the quality appears to be on par with what the coaching staff landed last signing day.


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LOS ANGELES -- USC coaches hit the recruiting trail for the first time this spring since the post-signing day staff shakeup, using the evaluation period to reset their boards and assess prospects from all corners of the country.

Here’s an overview of the evaluation period as it relates to offensive recruits:

Quarterback

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Having had a chance to get a more extensive look at where USC stands in terms of both depth and talent this spring, here's a look at the five most significant positions of need when it comes to the Trojans' recruiting class of 2014.


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