Conquest for midyear graduates

USC has four mid-year graduate candidates verbally committed with three class of 2015 prospects already signing financial aid paperwork. Thursday, USC head coach Steve Sarkisian spoke to the media about getting each player signed.

This week, a small, yet important part of the 2015 recruiting class came one step closer to wearing cardinal and gold. USC early entrant applicants Ricky Town, Cameron Smith and Chuma Edoga signed early enrollment paperwork in preparation for their December graduations.

Town, a five-star quarterback from Ventura (Calif.) signed his financial aid papers for early enrollment at the end of August while unofficial visiting USC for a fall camp practice.

“I think with Ricky, we’re getting a great leader,” said Sarkisian. “He’s a guy that has played very good football for St. Bonaventure and continues to do so in his senior season.

“I loved his grit, his work ethic, his willingness to learn… this guy loves the game of football. He studies the game of football, similar to Cody (Kessler) that way. He’s a real football junkie.”

Last week, Town led St. Bonaventure to a road win against Redlands East Valley passing for 14-of-23 passing with 165-yards and two touchdowns.

Smith spoke to Town after he signed with USC in August, but only after the four-star linebacker had already gone through the process of signing himself.

“I had talked to him that zero week of the season because we didn’t have a game,” said Smith. “I asked him if he was coming down to USC for the Fresno State game, but he couldn’t because they’d played Helix that night or something.

“I told him that I was signing my financial aid and he told me he already signed.”

While the paperwork binds USC to each prospect’s scholarship offer, each recruit can still officially visit and potential sign with another university.

Smith isn’t interested in doing either.

“The coaches first talked to me about signing right before my high school team started fall camp,” said Smith. “I didn’t know much about it, but it sounded like a way to make my commitment more official.

“I’m not the type of guy that wants to visit other schools and look around. Signing it and getting it done as soon as possible was what I was into.

“I actually ended up signing before the Fresno State game, maybe an hour or two before kickoff. Right where you walk into the stadium they have those little suites. I went in and signed the papers. It was really cool because Pat Haden came in and signed right there too.

“For him to walk over and do that an hour before the game was awesome.”

With USC starting inside linebackers of 220 and 235-pounds, Smith brings to the table a 6-foot-2, 245-pound frame as a MIKE linebacker.

“With Cam Smith, he’s a physical, prototypical middle linebacker,” said Sarkisian. “He’s smart, tough and probably more athletic than people give him credit for. But again, I think you have to have those types of guys on your team in the middle of your defense.”

The third 2015 recruit to sign as an early entrant is Powder Springs (Ga.) four-star offensive tackle Chuma Edoga. While Town and Smith shut down their recruitment as local prospects, Edoga is tucked away in the heart of SEC country.

“He’s a premier athlete at his position,” said Sarkisian. “He is a high IQ young man who could have gone to any school in the country.”

Indeed, and while Town and Smith are not considering other schools before enrolling at USC in January, Edoga has not ruled out taking a trip or two between now and graduating in December.

“I haven’t decided yet, but probably not,” said Edoga on taking official visits to other schools besides USC. “I’m visiting USC Sept. 26 and that’s the only visit I have set.”

For Edoga, his decision to sign his early enrollment paperwork Wednesday night was a family decision.

“Me and my mom just thought it was time to affirm everything and make it official,” said Edoga. “My mom feels real comfortable with the coaching and she knows I will be in good hands where I’m going.”

Edoga’s signing comes after USC’s shocking loss to Boston College last Saturday. While re-affirming his commitment to the Trojans is much needed good news for USC, Edoga didn’t do it to rally the fan base.

“I feel like it wasn't a terrible loss,” said Edoga. “They just had some little mistakes that cost them. if those mistakes weren’t made, it would have been a different game.”

Smith wants to see how USC responds after the 31-37 loss.

“I didn’t commit to USC because I thought they were going to win a championship,” said Smith. “The question really is how will they come back and play in their next game. That was a tough loss, and it didn’t look like Trojan football.

“I think for other commits, they don’t want to see USC lose to teams they shouldn’t lose to. After the bye, if USC plays Oregon State, Arizona State and finish out their schedule strong and beat the teams they should beat, I think they’ll be fine.

“A loss in the early season isn’t that big of a deal. You lose and it refocuses you and gets you back on track. It’s better than losing down the stretch when the big games come around.”

The Trojans also have a commitment from Pleasanton (Calif.) Foothill four-star cornerback Isaiah Langley, who is expected to enroll at USC in January. Langley, however, has not signed early enrollment papers as of yet.

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