Friday, November 1, 2013
Recruits watching USC at Oregon State
By Erik McKinney
While UCLA has a chance to make the biggest recruiting splash this weekend in hosting official visitors Bo Scarbrough (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy), NaJee Toran (Houston/North Shore) and Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), the game that likely is most intriguing for recruits will take place Friday night, when USC travels to Oregon State.
While the Trojans and Beavers aren't in many direct competitions for individual recruits, this game could go a long way for both programs. Oregon State would use a win to show recruits it is firmly established in the top half of the conference, while USC would use a win to prove the downward spiral the Trojans appeared to be riding was greatly exaggerated.
Since this is a Friday night game and recruits will be involved with their own games, it's likely that many won't be watching this live. But here are 10 recruits likely to either find a way to watch the game over the weekend or at least pay special attention to the outcome.
OT Chris Brown (Los Angeles/Loyola): Few prospects in the West region have seen their recruitment take off in the last month like Brown. He has gone from underrecruited prospect to a four-star tackle with visits scheduled to Oregon and Texas A&M, as well as offers from Mississippi, UCLA, USC and Washington. A USC fan, Brown has his eyes on the coaching situation with the Trojans, and a win this week would go toward perhaps stabilizing that situation, or at least providing USC with some momentum with recruits moving forward.
TE Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure): The four-star tight end and No. 126 overall prospect long has held UCLA and USC atop his list, though a recent trip to Oregon put the Ducks in contention, as well. As with many other Southern California recruits, Dixon likely will give USC an opportunity to make a firm decision at head coach before he moves forward with his recruitment. But again, as with his fellow recruits, every loss suffered by the Trojans will make it that much more difficult for the new head coach to quickly right the ship once he is announced.
TE Jake Knight (Meridian, Idaho/Rocky Mountain): Knight took a recent official visit to Oregon State, and the Beavers look to be in a good position for the tight end, although Oregon is sniffing around and could become a real possibility if an offer is extended. Oregon State will have a chance to make another impression on Knight this weekend with a win over the Trojans.
OG Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco): Mama is another high-profile recruit who fits the description of someone wanting to see what happens with the USC coaching staff. But again, if USC drops a number of Pac-12 games to close the season, other programs are going to take advantage by pushing ahead in the race. If those schools -- UCLA included in the race for Mama -- build a large enough head start, it could prove to be too difficult for the Trojans to get back into it.
DE Hercules Mata'afa (Lahaina, Hawaii/Lahainaluna): Mata'afa will take an official visit to Oregon State this weekend and holds several Pac-12 offers. The Beavers will try to make a good impression on Mata'afa, after the defender reportedly took an official visit to Washington State earlier this fall.
OT Kolton Miller (Roseville, Calif./Roseville): Miller is a big offensive tackle target for the Beavers. The 6-foot-8 lineman likely will give Oregon State a look, but also holds offers from Arizona State, Texas Tech, Washington State and Wisconsin.
OT Kameron Schroeder (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks): The Duke commit doesn't appear to be actively looking to move away from the Blue Devils, but Schroeder did take an official visit to Oregon State this past weekend, and the Beavers could continue to push all the way to signing day. Duke is having a good season on the field to pair with its academic offerings, so Oregon State will need plenty of recruiting ammunition to throw at Schroeder.
ATH John "Juju" Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly): What's true for recruits such as Dixon and Mama is true for Smith. A longtime USC fan, Smith would like to know who the next coach at USC will be, but he also would like to see the Trojans continuing to post victories this season. A win on Friday would do nothing but help USC's chase for the dynamic athlete.
OG NaJee Toran (Houston/North Shore): Toran is an Oregon State commitment, but he'll be at UCLA this weekend on an official visit. This likely won't make Beavers coaches comfortable, as it would be surprising if UCLA doesn't post a comfortable win against Colorado and use the game to showcase the number of true freshmen starting along the offensive line and participating all over the field. Bruins offensive line coach Adrian Klemm also has tremendous success recruiting Texas, so Toran's recruitment could turn into a serious battle between the Bruins and Beavers.
ATH Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco): A Cal commit, Wadood took an official visit to Oregon State earlier this year and also holds an offer from USC. His recruiting will continue to gain interest, as he is taking an official visit to UCLA this weekend. All three programs will keep pushing for Wadood, who will be watching a number of Pac-12 programs with interest.