2004 Recruiting: Quarterbacks

The Trojans don't need to take a quarterback in this class but if the coaches can find the right guy they will look to bring him in. It looked at one point as if J.D. Booty would be the headline QB for the class of 2004 but, as we all know, J.D. threw a wrench into those plans when he decided to enroll this fall at USC.

What that means to a potential QB in this class is the possibility of Booty playing this year and, if the incoming recruit were to redshirt his freshman season, he would then have two years of separation between himself and John David on the depth chart. For a high school quarterback today, the status of the depth chart is an all important factor when choosing a school and players do pay attention.

At the top of the wish list right now is Rocky Hinds, a fantastic athlete who deserves his own mention as one of the elite players in the country. Rocky (6-4, 207) is from St Bernards HS in Playa Del Rey and he has earned a reputation as a player with terrific potential thanks in no small part to his obvious size and impressive speed (4.47 40 at Nike Camp). Hinds threw for 1,642 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior and he also ran for 495 yards and 5 scores. He says his strength as a quarterback is his ability to make plays happen while running the ball and then also being able to throw. After seeing him at several camps and in game footage there's little doubt Rocky has a big upside. He has a long, fluid passing motion and a strong enough arm although his accuracy could use a little work.

With so many physical attributes it's easy to compare him to a former Southern California prep quarterback named Jason Thomas who was also set on playing QB despite talk of his athleticism. At this point in their careers Rocky is a more defined QB than Jason was and from what we've seen there's a good chance Hinds could succeed at a high level as a quarterback. He could also be a very good receiver or tight end but he's made it clear that he is looking to be recruited as a quarterback.

Rocky grew up near the USC campus and has always considered himself an SC fan but several other schools have entered the recruiting picture. Hinds claims offers from the Trojans, Nebraska, Oregon and UCLA while Colorado and Notre Dame also remain among his choices.

There were reports last week from Anthony Morelli, a highly rated QB in Pennsylvania, that he was planning to pay a visit to the USC campus over the Memorial Day weekend while he was in Los Angeles. Morelli has long listed UCLA as one of his top choices and he was expected to trip to their campus but he said that an offer from Pete Carroll, who raved about his arm strength, had him considering a stop at Heritage Hall as well. That visit to Troy didn't take place, for whatever reason, and Anthony is currently claiming a top three of UCLA, Ohio State and Florida State with Notre Dame a potential factor if they decide to offer.

Among others who will receive continued interest are Erik Ainge (Glencoe, OR), Nate Longshore (Canyon), Rudy Carpenter (Westlake) and Brian Hildebrand (Corona).

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