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Thursday, February 21, 2013
Top in-state talent to USC junior day

By Blair Angulo

A group of top in-state prospects are scheduled to converge on USC Sunday for the Trojans’ junior day.

Adoree' Jackson
Cornerback is a huge priority for the USC and the Trojans will have a chance to impress Adoree' Jackson.
The USC staff will have an opportunity to make a positive impression on the likes of Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), Ainuu Taua (Lompoc, Calif./Lompoc), John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly), Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure), Michiah Quick (Fresno, Calif./Central) and Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra), though there was a mix up earlier in the week. Jackson, the highly coveted athlete who bagged a USC offer in late January, had not heard from the coaching staff about junior day and, as a result, did not plan to attend. But he and Williams finally received a call from Lane Kiffin on Wednesday and both expected to make the short drive to campus.

Elite tight end Tyler Luatua and receiver Dallis Todd, both of La Mirada (Calif.) and ESPN Watch List members, were late additions to the junior day contingent. Earlier in the week, La Mirada coach Mike Moschetti said he hadn't heard anything from USC since the firing of Kennedy Polamalu. But on Thursday, Moschetti tweeted that Luatua, Todd and QB Kevin Dillman would be in attendance on Sunday.

Junior day at USC does not correlate with an offer spree. It’s more of a meet-and-greet event designed to give Kiffin and his staff a chance to leave their mark early in the process.

Smith, a dynamic two-way athlete who netted a USC offer in January, will be on campus. A lifelong Trojans fan, Smith has drawn national interest following an impressive junior season and figures to gain even more notoriety this summer. Quick, another two-way athlete, will also make the trip in search of an offer. He will be joined by high school teammates Devon Brewer, a cornerback, and Tashon Smallwood, a defensive tackle.

The Trojans signed two power running backs in early enrollee Justin Davis and Ty Isaac, so securing a speed back in this class might be a priority. Mixon, perhaps the most coveted player on the West Coast, fits that description. He received a visit from USC assistant coach Clay Helton in January but has not been offered a scholarship. Mixon, who already has bagged more than 30 offers, said he expects the Trojans to join his growing list soon.

Local running back Kurt Scoby (Los Angeles/Cathedral), who has offers from Miami (Fla.) and Oregon State and has always named USC among his favorites, will also be on campus. Johnell Jackson (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) and Andrew Celis (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) are two other notable running backs who are expected to visit.

After signing Max Browne in the 2013 class, quarterback is not the biggest priority in the current recruiting cycle. Still, a good crop made up of Brandon Dawkins (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian), Ian Fieber (Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo), Chase Forrest (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), JaJuan Lawson (Petaluma, Calif./Casa Grande) and Morgan Mahalak (Kentfield, Calif./Marin Catholic) will be in town.

Receivers Erik Brown (Fontana, Calif./Summit) and Ralston Compton (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Rancho Cucamonga), who play on the 7-on-7 passing league team coached by the father of recent USC cornerback signee Chris Hawkins, are scheduled to be on campus. They will be joined by fellow receivers Alex Van Dyke (Elk Grove, Calif./Cosumnes Oaks), Dominic Collins (Lake Forest, Calif./El Toro), Jordan Lasley (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and Jeremy McNichols (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood).

Cornerback is another position of need and there will not be a shortage of talented prospects on hand. Naijiel Hale (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), who was recently offered by Cal and Nebraska, is scheduled to visit along with teammate Jaleel Wadood, an Arizona State commit. Also scheduled to attend are Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), who has an offer from Washington, and Kwesi Mashack (Norco, Calif./Norco), who had a stellar showing in the playoffs against the electric Su’a Cravens.

Offensive line commit Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) will make the short drive to campus to get another look. He will be joined by fellow guards Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial). Taua, who has netted seven offers, and Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) are two notable defensive linemen scheduled to attend.

The El Cerrito (Calif.) trio of D.J. Calhoun, Jalen Harvey and Adarius Pickett will make the trip south after visiting UCLA earlier this month.

In all, 16 of the state’s 23 Watch List members are scheduled to be on campus. And though this is only a sampling of the recruits who will be in attendance this weekend, it figures to give the coaching staff a gauge of what to expect from some of the state’s premier 2014 recruits.