Dorton leaning but USC made up ground

USC held its Junior Day on Sunday, welcoming some of the top 2014 recruits to campus for the day. A handful of Bellflower (Calif.) Bosco players were in attendance, including defensive end Malik Dorton -- who already names a rival favorite.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — If Malik Dorton picks up a USC offer, it could come down to crosstown battle for the 2014 three-star recruit.

The Bellflower (Calif.) Bosco defensive end attended the Trojans' Junior Day on Sunday. He said while the program definitely moved up on his list -- it still lags behind rival UCLA. He already holds a scholarship offer from the Bruins and doesn't shy away from the fact that the school in Westwood will be the program to beat for his talents.

"I don't know what would knock [UCLA] out of the favorite spot," Dorton said.

But on Sunday, the Trojans did begin to make up ground.

"USC is definitely a great program that I like," he explained Sunday evening on the telephone. Dorton said his interest in ‘SC waned over the 2012 season when the preseason No. 1 team stumbled to a 7-6 finish, including a blowout loss at the Sun Bowl to Georgia Tech. "I'm more interested with the new hires and new direction of the program."

The 6-foot-1 220-pound defensive end spoke one-on-one with defensive line coach Ed Orgeron while on campus Sunday. "He told me he's seen my film and looks forward to seeing me more this spring," Dorton explained, adding that the Trojans have recently begun to recruit him harder.

Among his highlights on the trip to Troy was spending the day inside the Trojans recruiting centerpiece -- the 110,000-square foot $70 million John McKay Center. "The weight room and training room really stood out," he said.

Dorton, who says education is an integral part of his college decision, explained that the academic support and opportunities available to student-athletes at USC certainly stood out for him.

He currently holds eight offers, including UCLA, Utah, Utah State, Arizona State, Boise State, Oregon State, Fresno State, and Washington State.

He is the high school teammate of USC 2013 signee Nico Falah.

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