Early Arrivals Add Depth, Talent

The Trojans got a much-needed dose of depth on Monday with the arrival of nine mid-year football recruits.

The USC Trojans got a much-needed dose of depth on Monday with the arrival of nine mid-year football recruits.

Lane Kiffin and his staff took advantage of the opportunity to add nine early enrollees, which count towards the 2010 recruiting class.

The addition of four JUCO players and five preps allows the Trojans to add immediate help along the offensive line, at quarterback, and some key special teams positions.

Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, two of the top high school quarterbacks on the West Coast, will compete with Jesse Scroggins during spring practice for the chance to backup starting quarterback Matt Barkley.

Wittek, who was rated by Scout as the No.13 signal caller in the 2011 recruiting class, finished off his high school career by being named the MVP of the Under Armour All-American Game after passing for 145 yards and two touchdowns.


Max Wittek was MVP of the Under Armour Game.
The Mater Dei standout was arguably the most polished quarterback during the week of practice for the Under Armour game, showing poise in the pocket and accuracy in the short and intermediate passing game.

Bakersfield (CA) Centennial High School quarterback Cody Kessler, who started for the West Team in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl this past weekend, has all the tools to be a special player on the college level.

Kessler was considered the No.10 quarterback in the country by Scout and has a strong arm, good mobility, and is a charismatic leader on the field.

Redshirt freshman Jesse Scroggins, with a year of experience in USC's system, is considered the favorite to win the backup spot, but the competition will heat up during spring practice.

The offensive line that is losing five contributors in Kris O'Dowd, Zack Heberer, Butch Lewis, Michael Reardon, and Tyron Smith won't be quite as thin as feared, thanks to the addition of JUCO linemen David Garness and Jeremy Galten.

Galten and Garness were both two-time All-NorCal Conference first team selections. Galten played guard at San Mateo Junior College, while Garness was an offensive tackle at City College of San Francisco.

The pair will have the chance to come in and compete for playing time during spring practice and fall camp.

Special teams coach John Baxter will have to rely heavily on true freshmen in 2011.

Kicker Andre Heidari and long snapper Peter McBride, a pair of Under Armour All-Americans, enrolled on Monday and will benefit from the extra time to get adjusted to college football.

Heidari is known for his strong leg, forcing touchbacks on 53 of his 65 kickoffs as a senior at Stockdale High in Bakersfield (CA). He will likely step in as the starter from day one, as will punter Kris Albarado when he arrives in the fall.

Isiah Wiley and Soma Vainuku are two exciting prospects that will have the opportunity to make a big impact in 2011.

Vainuku originally signed with the Trojans in 2010 out of Eureka High School but didn't academically qualify. He was one of the top fullbacks in the 2010 class, and has an impressive combination of size, power and speed.

The 6-1, 255-pound fullback will be in the mix to replace Stanley Havili.

Vainuku is the cousin of former USC linebacker Rey Maualuga.

USC's young secondary will benefit from the experience and playmaking ability of Isiah Wiley.

Wiley is one of the top JUCO defensive back prospects in the country and could contribute at safety or cornerback.

Chaffey linebacker Dallas Kelley will add depth at linebacker.


Cody Kessler will compete for the backup QB spot during spring practice.


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