USC Trojans: USC football



HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. -- For Class of 2015 quarterback Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), last month’s Rising Stars Camp served as an opportunity to measure himself against other highly-regarded prospects, including USC commit David Sills (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy) and fellow Southern California-based standout Ricky Town (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure).

Rosen also chatted with quarterbacks coach Clay Helton about the possibility of a scholarship offer, which might arrive soon despite the fact that the Trojans already have Sills in the 2015 recruiting class. In the current recruiting cycle, Helton put all of his chips on No. 1-rated pocket passer Keller Chryst (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto), who committed to Stanford just prior to the Elite 11 finals, and further options appear scarce as the high school football season approaches.

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The offensive line group of ESPN 300 members Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra), Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) might have been difficult to top in Day 2 of The Opening, but the receivers -- namely those targeted by USC -- certainly did their best to upstage the trenchmen.

Led by No. 1-rated athlete and SPARQ national champion Speedy Noil (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr), the batch of receivers turned in impressive performances in the preliminary 7-on-7 competition.

Speedy Noil
Tom Hauck for Student Sports Speedy Noil turned in an impressive performance.in the preliminary 7-on-7 competition.

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USC recruiting: Positions of need 

July, 2, 2013
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A look at the top five positions of need for USC in the 2014 class:

Cornerback

Adoree' Jackson
Erik McKinney/ESPNThe Trojans are hoping to add CB Adoree' Jackson as one of their in-state targets.
The Trojans added only one cornerback prospect in the 2013 class after missing on Jermaine Kelly (Washington) and Jalen Ramsey (Florida State) on national signing day, and the lack of depth at the position appears to be a glaring issue heading into fall camp. Simply put, history cannot repeat itself in this recruiting cycle. With in-state targets such as Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and Adarius Pickett (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) still on the board, USC could potentially haul in a great group of cornerbacks. If the Trojans miss on one or both of those, they might pursue other Southern California-based corners such as Denzel Fisher (Compton, Calif./Centennial), Naijiel Hale (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) and John Plattenburg (Corona, Calif./Centennial).


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The Trojans wrapped up the second week of spring ball with a scrimmage at the Coliseum that featured a strong performance from the defensive front.

“I really thought the front seven on the first-unit defense played well,” USC coach Lane Kiffin said. “Hayes Pullard played great at linebacker while George Uko and Leonard Williams were dominant up front. The defense is really picking things up with the new scheme. I can’t imagine being more pleased.”

Pullard led the way for the defense with six tackles, including one for loss, while Kenny Bigelow added two sacks and Anthony Sarao had four tackles.

The offense was led by Cody Kessler, who continues to split time with Max Browne while Max Wittek is out with a knee injury. Kessler (13-19, 161 yards, one TD) provided the highlight play of the day with a 75-yard touchdown strike to Nelson Agholor while Browne (6-9, 69 yards) added a big play of his own with a 52-yard completion to Darreus Rogers. Buck Allen was the top rusher on the day with 11 carries for 65 yards.

“Kessler played great today,” Kiffin said. “He just continues to make plays. I thought Buck had a good day, too. He’s had a good camp overall.”

Kiffin confirmed that the injury to Wittek – who is expected to return to the field when the team comes back from spring break on March 26 – likely means that the quarterback competition will not be settled by the end of spring.

(Read full post)

Lane Kiffin during his USC Trojans' loss to the Notre Dame Fighting IrishHarry How/Getty ImagesLane Kiffin is liking what he is seeing from his early enrollees in spring practice.

It’s easy to notice the upbeat style of play through the first two days of USC spring ball, and it was evident on Thursday with a team drill that featured some explosive plays from the offense.

The team drill started off strong for the defense, as the offense was backed up near its own goal line on the south end of Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field, and the defense had some stops, led by the interior front with Antwaun Woods, George Uko and Leonard Williams.

After the offense switched to the north end of the field, however, things began to change. Max Wittek hit Nelson Agholor for a short gain, and Agholor showed his burst of speed to outrun the secondary and make it a long gain. With the ball placed again deep in the offense's end, Silas Redd took a handoff and went 85 yards down the left sideline before being driven out at the 10-yard line by Kevon Seymour.

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Video: Cravens as instant-impact frosh

March, 1, 2013
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The Scouts Inc. crew looks at early enrollees who could make an immediate impact in college, headlined by a pair of USC defensive backs.

USC spring schedule released

February, 27, 2013
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The spring practice schedule has been released for USC, and it includes eight sessions that will be open to the public.

The dates for practice are:
March 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 26, 28, 30
April 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13

The start times each Tuesday and Thursday are 4 p.m. on campus, Saturdays at the Coliseum (3/9 at 2 p.m., 3/16 at 9 a.m., 3/30 and 4/6 at 11 a.m. in Coliseum). These are subject to change.

USC practices in recent years have been closed due to NCAA-sanction-related issues, but the Trojans will open up eight practices this spring with a viewing area designated in the Dedeaux Field plaza area for 200 fans per day. Practices on March 5, 7, 9, 14, 26, 28 and April 4, 9 and 11 will be open to the public.

The USC spring game will be held on Saturday, April 13 at 1 p.m. in the Coliseum.

USC’s annual pro day workout for NFL scouts is March 27.

Roundtable: Early signing period? 

February, 14, 2013
2/14/13
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What do you think of an early signing period for football? Would you let recruits out of their letters of intent if the head coach or position coach leaves?

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#WeAreSC: Highlights from Twitter chat

January, 30, 2013
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WeAreSC's Blair Angulo took questions on Twitter on Tuesday night from the @WeAreSCstaff handle. Here's the complete recap.

Top USC Trojans sleepers 

January, 22, 2013
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Even after a less-than-stellar 2012 season, it’s safe to say USC has enjoyed phenomenal success on the football field over the past decade or so. And while a number of factors have gone into that run, one crucial component has been the ability of the coaching staff to put together elite recruiting classes every year.

And while USC has gotten plenty of production from five-star, blue-chip recruits, the Trojans have also unearthed their share of hidden gems.

Here’s a look at five of the top sleepers who produced big for the Trojans:

1. S Troy Polamalu, Douglas (Winston, Ore.), Class of 1999
Hidden away in the small town of Tenmile, Oregon, Polamalu wasn’t heavily recruited coming out of high school despite starring on both sides of the ball for Douglas. Winding up at USC primarily because of his uncle and current Trojans’ running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu, he would go on to earn All-American honors at safety before
landing in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he’s earned seven Pro Bowl berths.

2. LB Clay Matthews III, Agoura (Agoura Hills, Calif.), Class of 2004
The son of former Trojans’ All-American Clay Matthews Jr., Matthews III was physically undersized as a prep player and arrived at USC as an unrecruited walk-on. A tireless worker, he would eventually develop into a monster for the Trojans at linebacker, particularly in his senior season when he posted 56 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss. Now with the Green Bay Packers, he’s established himself as one of the NFL’s most prolific pass rushers.


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ESPN 150 S McQuay commits to USC

January, 4, 2013
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- After four prospects decommitted from the USC Trojans since the beginning of November, the Trojans have finally got some good news as ESPN 150 safety Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) verbally committed to USC tonight during the Under Armour All-America Game.

The 6-foot-2, 183-pound four-star athlete selected the Trojans over Florida State, Oregon, Vanderbilt and Michigan.

As a senior, McQuay totaled 54 tackles and five interceptions on defense. He also added five receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown on offense.

McQuay, the nation’s No. 3 safety and a starter in Friday's UA Game, is expected to enroll early at USC and be eligible to play spring football.

With McQuay's decision, the Trojans have 15 verbal commitments, including 10 who are members of the ESPN 150. Each of the 15 commitments is ranked as a four-star or higher.

Max Redfield reveals final trio 

December, 30, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The verdict is in for Max Redfield. We’ll learn his decision on Friday on ESPN's 5 p.m. ET telecast of the Under Armour All-America Game.


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DE Lawson gets Christmas call from Garner 

December, 30, 2012
12/30/12
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -– Five-star defensive end Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton) has been committed to Auburn since March. After Gene Chizik was let go and replaced by former Tigers offensive coordinator Guz Malzahn earlier this month, schools lined up to try and get Lawson on campus. If he had his way he would oblige as many of his suitors as possible.

“I would like to visit Clemson, Tennessee, FSU, UCLA, USC, UNC and Ole Miss, but realistically the five I visit might be Clemson, Tennessee, Ole Miss, UNC and USC,” Lawson said.


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ESPN 150 S McQuay set to decide Friday 

December, 30, 2012
12/30/12
2:33
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- ESPN 150 safety Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) will be making his college decision at the Under Armour All-America Game on Friday.


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Roundtable: Moments with most impact 

December, 27, 2012
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For this week's roundtable, the WeAreSC staff got together to compile a list of the 10 moments of the 2012 season that had the most impact.

1. Decision to shelve the black shoes
The USC uniform is one of the most traditional in college football, and that includes the black shoes that had long represented the blue-collar nature of the program. At some point in the offseason the decision was made to go with a flashier style of shoe for the 2012 season, a look that was more Oregon than USC. The change was roundly panned within the USC community, particularly by the former players who had worn the black shoes with so much pride through the years.

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