Trojan New Year News and Nuggets

Trojan related news and nuggets in the first week of the new year.

Only the USC Trojans would have a variety of news and notes just a week into the new year, despite their last game being more than a month ago.

As far as recruiting goes, it looks like USC loses Arik Armstead and Shaquille Thompson. The Trojans had been high on both players' lists but as it gets closer to national signing day, word is that both Armstead and Thompson are looking to play elsewhere.

USC's four early enrollees will take their first class on Monday, Jan. 9 but are likely moving into their dorms or off-campus apartments this weekend. We will get interviews with Gerald Bowman, Scott Starr, Chad Wheeler, Morgan Breslin and DeVante Wilson in the coming weeks.

Starr was at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl this week in Phoenix, Ariz. He was named a captain for the East team .

Tim McDonald, the father of safety T.J. McDonald and UCLA safety Tevin McDonald, has been hired as the secondary coach at Fresno State.

McDonald, a former All-American safety at USC, had a successful career in the NFL and was the previous head coach at Edison High School in Fresno, Calif.

On to USC basketball, the Trojans' have yet to win a conference game, although they will try to change that Thursday against Arizona State.

he Los Angeles Times reported that redshirt sophomore Evan Smith is not likely to play again this season because of chronic shoulder injuries.

USC running back and graduating senior Marc Tyler was invited to the 87th East-West Shrine Game to be played on Jan. 21, 2012 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. It will be televised live on the NFL Network.

Another recent graduate, wide receiver Brandon Carswell, will play in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Home Depot Center on Jan. 21.

Lane Kiffin will have good company to host the 9th annual USC Football/Nike Coach of the Year Southern California Coaches Clinic.

Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy and Michigan State's Mark Dantonio will be guest speakers at the event to be held on Feb. 24 and 25 at USC's Galen Center.

The entire USC coaching staff will host sessions and the clinic is open to football fans. Registration can be found online here.

Michael Lev of the Orange Country Register reported that redshirt senior defensive tackle Armond Armstead is looking to transfer from the university. A graduate, Armstead can play at any non Pac-12 school immediately with his year of eligibility intact. When Scout spoke with Armstead, he said his brother Arik will definitely not attend USC but he himself has not ruled out remaining for his final year. Armstead is also considering entering the NFL Draft.

Running back D.J. Foster is quickly becoming the newest prospect for the Trojans. With an offer from USC, the four-star recruit who also has played at wide receiver and safety, recently played in the Semper Fi All-American game last week. He said he wants to stay close to home, and has narrowed his top three down to California, Arizona State and the Trojans. He will take an official visit to USC Jan. 13.

The full 2012 Pac-12 schedule came out Wednesday, with the Conference Game of the Century between USC and Oregon set for Nov. 3. Click here to see the full list.

The Trojan Family Weeked is scheduled for Oct. 20 versus Colorado and Homecoming is Nov. 10 versus Arizona State.

Lane Kiffin said this week that George Farmer will get looks at both running back and wide receiver in the Spring.

Farmer has said that he would like to go back to wide receiver after playing in the backfield during the 2011 season.

Kiffin also told the OC Register that Kevin Graf and Aundrey Walker are the top options to replace Matt Kalil at left tackle.  

While Graf is a natural left tackle, I asked Walker if he would be fine playing the position. He said he played it a little in high school and at times during the season, noting that he doesn't have a preference and will determine where he is most comfortable.

Whitney Blaine is a writer and reporter for Scout. She covers west coast recruiting as well as the Pac-12 conference, with an emphasis on the USC Trojans.  She was a journalism major in college, and has covered a variety of sports as both a writer and broadcaster.
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