Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola defensive end Christian Rector made his commitment to USC at an interesting time.
Just as the Trojans lose SAM linebacker Jabari Ruffin for the season
with a ACL tear, questions about the depth USC has at outside linebacker
are paramount. Although Rector plays with his hand on the ground in high
school, he will stand up in college.
Loyola head coach Marvin Sanders knows plenty about the Trojans. As a
former defensive backs coach at USC, Sanders has had a long career
developing college athletes.
On the subject of Rector, he had unique insight into Christian's commitment and
its impact on the Trojans current roster.
“Well he’s very athletic,” said Sanders. “He’s a former basketball
player and moves well. He’s got great lateral movement, and I am going
to stand him up some this year, so we’ll get a chance to see him in
“But he runs well and the good things you look for is a guy with great
lateral movement and a guy that can run. He has both those dimensions.”
A defensive end capably of knifing into the offensive backfield, Rector
had six sacks as a junior and numerous tackles for losses. But at USC,
Rector will have to add a new dimension to his game.
“Well we’re going to work on his coverage skills,” said Sanders. “Of
course, I’ve had his hand in the ground time most of the time. Now I’ve
been really working on getting him involved in the coverage aspect.
“That position, like an Anthony Barr, has to be able to get out and get
in coverage on a back sometimes. Sometimes on a slot receiver and
that’s what he doesn’t have a lot of experience in, so he’s going to
really have to work on that aspect of it.”
Rector is currently listed between 225-pounds and 235-pounds by most
recruiting publications. According to Sanders, those numbers are
“No, he’s about 245 (pounds),” laughed Sanders. “Actually about 247 is
the last time we weighed him. Christian has a thick lower body and his
weight (will vary) depending on how big they want him at the next level.
“I think he can hold 260-pounds easily and even can get bigger if
that’s what they want. That will be interesting depending on what their
need is for.”
One look at the USC target list at linebacker, and it’s apparent that
bigger is better for USC.
As of now, the Trojans have senior J.R. Tavai and sophomore Scott Starr
and freshmen Don Hill and Malik Dorton playing the rush end spot.
Dorton has also seen increased time at defensive end in fall camp.
While playing as a defensive end in high school will force Rector to
transition as a linebacker in USC’s scheme, playing on the line does
have its upside.
“I think it’ll be a really big advantage for him because he’s real good
with his hands,” said Sanders. “It won’t be something new to him. He’ll
be accustomed to it and that’s where I think he excels. Christian knows
how to use his hands to help get himself into a better position.”
Having played against other D-I caliber players will also help him
adjust. Just a year ago, Rector faced USC freshman offensive tackle
Chris Brown in practice every day.
“In one-on-ones, I think they had their fair share of wins,” said
Sanders. “Chris was a little more experienced, a little stronger at
that time. I would love to see that matchup now, but I would say CB got
the better of Christian at that point.
“We played a little bit with Chris at right tackle, but they were at
opposite ends when they got some action on one-on-ones. But CB is tough
man. And as a leader, he wasn’t going to let many people get by him,
especially Christian at the time.”
Of course, this is all assuming Rector sticks to playing defense in
college. To utilize his full potential, Rector will also see time
playing tight end his senior year at Loyola.
“We’d love to get him involved as much as we can on both sides of the
ball just because of so athletic he is,” said Sanders. “We do plan on
utilizing him a little bit more on offense, yeah.”
Off the field, Sanders sees Rector fitting in well at USC because of
his low key attitude and lack of ego.
“I think one thing, Christian is a very hard worker in the weight
room,” said Sanders. “He’s a real strong kid. Doing well in class. As
far as any off the field issues, you’re never going to have one.
“You’re going to have a guy that shows up every day to come to work.
And the thing about him, is that he’ll go as hard as the guys around
him will push him.
“So if he has some guys that will push him to a high level, Christian
will be right there, but he’s kind of a low key, laid back kid. He’s
not the rah-rah, get after it, but he’s tough and he’s not a kid that
basically will take a back seat to anybody.”
Future Impact: Christian Rector
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