Johnston sees need at USC

Servite offensive tackle Clayton Johnston is currently battling a toe injury that kept him out of fall camp for the Friars this week.

Clayton Johnston committed to the Trojans in July after earning a scholarship offer from USC at their linemen camp in June.

Since then, Johnston has remained fairly quiet. As it turns out, that’s a good thing for USC fans.

“I’ve pretty much shut things down recruiting wise,” said Johnston. “I’m fully committed to USC and that’s where I see myself going. I’m pretty sure I’m done.”

Johnston just returned from unofficially visiting USC for the first week of fall practice. Attending practice with both USC committed quarterbacks, Ricky Town and Sam Darnold, Johnston watched the offense closely.

“I got to see Coach (Tim) Drevno coaching in his own environment and I was very excited and impressed,” said Johnston. “He was definitely getting after guys and I like that.

“I thought the offense played pretty well. It’s similar to our offense in their zone blacking and pass protections. But they had a lot of competitions and they moved the ball well.”

Johnston currently stands 6-foot-6, 278-pounds. He admits to being 295-pounds before camp at Servite High School started, but two-a-day practices helped him shed the extra weight.

Servite running backs coach, Frank Kalil, knows a thing or two about good offensive linemen. Both of his sons, Matt and Ryan are currently playing in the NFL after Frank himself was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1982.

“It a tough kid,” said Kalil. “I’ve gotten after him about that and really was hard on him, especially last year. I was on him about being physical, being tough. I know he’s tougher now.

“I know because at the end of the year, he thanked me for being so hard on him. That’s the type of kid he is. Great feet, length in his arms and the type of kid that who will work and not say a word about it.”

With USC’s lack of depth at offensive tackle, Johnston sees a clear path to playing time.

“I watched Zach Banner and those guys during practice at USC,” said Johnson. “I talked to Coach Drevno and Coach Sarkisian a little bit and they just told me they really don’t have much depth.

“They have high intensity practices, so they need depth. I’m excited about going there.”

Just a few days prior to Johnston’s trip to USC, reports surfaced that his teammate Equanimeous St. Brown had committed to the Trojans. Johnston immediately texted St. Brown about the news.

“Yeah, I texted him right away to congratulate him,” said Johnston. “He was like, ‘What are you talking about? I didn’t commit.’

“But I’m definitely in his ear about it. I tell him all of the time he should come up and be a Trojan. It’s whatever fits him best, and I’ll support him wherever he goes, but I definitely would like him at USC.”

And on the subject of USC, Johnston does feel that St. Brown is warming up to the idea of becoming a Trojan.

“I think he likes USC, but I don’t really know where the other schools stand with him,” said Johnston. “We usually just talk about USC, and I know they’re one of his top schools right now.”

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