USC Trojans: USC junior day

OLB Tartabull takes in USC junior day 

February, 27, 2013
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Bishop Alemany (Mission Hills, Calif.) had a strong 2012 season in the always grueling Serra League of the CIF Southern Section, with receivers Steven Mitchell (USC) and Devin Ross (Colorado), along with promising 2015 prospect Desean Holmes, leading an offensive attack that averaged more than 42 points per game.

Alemany’s defense was somewhat overshadowed, but a unit led by outside linebacker Quentin Tartabull appears to be the school’s strength in 2013.

Tartabull attended USC junior day this past weekend and was blown away.


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WR Todd takes in USC junior day 

February, 25, 2013
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Wide receiver Dallis Todd (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) has seen his recruitment take off over the past few months. Offers from Clemson, Florida, Nebraska, Ohio State and Texas A&M, among others, made him one of the more sought-after receivers in the West region. But this past weekend, Todd was able to take his first up-close look at an in-state school as he visited USC for the Trojans' junior day.


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There are several high schools in California with enough talent to make them must-stop destinations for college coaches recruiting the 2014 class. In Northern California, El Cerrito makes the list, headlined by linebacker D.J. Calhoun and safety Adarius Pickett.

This past weekend, the two Watch List prospects were on hand for USC's junior day, which marked Pickett's first visit to USC and the first time Calhoun received an in-depth look at the campus.


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Mahalak arrives on USC's radar 

February, 24, 2013
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Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) will be one of the more interesting recruits to watch in the West region this spring and summer.


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Jackson likes what he sees from USC 

February, 24, 2013
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LOS ANGELES -- A lack of communication leading up to USC junior day nearly prevented ESPN Watch List cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) from attending, but a quick phone call from coach Lane Kiffin on Thursday cleared the air.

Jackson accepted the invite and made the short drive to campus on Sunday to meet the new members of the coaching staff.


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LOS ANGELES -- For John "JuJu" Smith, USC's junior day was about clarity.

Lane Kiffin pulled the electric Long Beach (Calif.) Poly two-way standout aside Sunday afternoon and asked him which side of the ball he prefers. Smith was blunt, telling the Trojans coach the defensive side of the ball is great, but playing offense makes him happy.

Then, according to Smith, Kiffin told the ESPN Watch List member he can play wherever he wants at USC.

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LOS ANGELES -- There might not be another prospect nationwide who has had a hot streak quite like ESPN Watch List running back Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom) in February.


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Watch List ATH Quick talks USC 

February, 24, 2013
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LOS ANGELES -- The list is subject to change, but ESPN Watch List athlete Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central) has a top five following his weekend trip to Los Angeles for USC’s junior day.


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DT becomes USC's fourth 2014 commit

February, 24, 2013
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LOS ANGELES -- Defensive tackle Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central) surprised himself on Sunday afternoon by committing to USC at the Trojans’ junior day event shortly after landing an offer from assistant coach Ed Orgeron.

Smallwood admitted he never gave much thought to committing this early, but USC felt like the perfect place. The lineman had seen enough and made his decision.

“I never really thought about it,” Smallwood said with a laugh. “The recruiting process has picked up for me, but this offer came up and USC seemed like the best place for me. I’m excited.”

With the 2014 national signing day still nearly a full calendar year away, Smallwood knows this might not be the final event in his recruitment. But if college coaches come calling, he’ll make sure to let them know where he stands.

“I’m going to tell them I’m a Trojan,” Smallwood said.

Smallwood credited a comfortable relationship with Orgeron and the rest of the coaching staff as a major reason for committing while he was on campus. He wasn’t necessarily unfamiliar with the Trojans -- Smallwood and high school teammates Devon Brewer and Michiah Quick unofficially visited USC for the Oregon game last fall.

“Coach O and the whole coaching staff are awesome,” Smallwood said. “The way he coaches defensive lineman. It just fits my style and I couldn’t wait.”

Once the announcement came, Smallwood made Orgeron lose his appetite.

“He was so happy that he couldn’t eat,” Smallwood said. “We were eating when I told him and as soon as that happened he couldn’t eat.”

Smallwood said the coaching staff sees him as a nose tackle, as either a one- or three-technique. The 6-foot, 270-pound lineman also has offers from Cal, Houston, Nevada, Oklahoma and Oregon State.

“Coach [Clancy] Pendergast is going to be great for them,” Smallwood said. “They’ll be a lot better defensively than they were last year. The scheme is really aggressive and I feel it fits me perfectly.”

Smallwood became the fourth member of the 2014 recruiting class that currently features three ESPN Watch List offensive linemen.

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