The Ten of Troy: Recruiting Edition

The Ten of Troy is intended to uniquely rank 10 of the most talked about uncommitted players on USC's recruiting board. Selections are based on interest, need and buzz. Throughout the recruiting process, prospects create a swirl of attention due to on-field performances, visits or interviews. To set the scene of this evolving recruiting zeitgeist, The Ten of Troy ranks each storyline accordingly.

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Name Pos. Stars Ht/Wt Hometown Video
IMAN MARSHALL CB 6-2/195 Long Beach (Calif.) PLAY
Who: Iman Marshall is nation's No. 2 rated cornerback, although he plays second to no one in term of production and competitiveness. Marshall began receiving scholarship offers the spring of his freshman year, yet the consensus All-American has participated in every major event in the off season and dominated three years running. Statistics are useless to illustrate Marshall's ability as a cornerback because high school teams simply run and throw away from his side of the field.

Why: USC has eight scholarship cornerbacks on the roster, yet it's a group of largely unproven prospects. Josh Shaw will graduate and there's the possibility junior Kevon Seymour leaves early for the NFL Draft. That leaves true freshman Adoree Jackson and redshirt freshman Chris Hawkins as the only other corners that have played a meaningful down for USC. The need is there, but Marshall also transcends the depth chart. He is both physically and mentally mature enough to play for USC now. Those level of players don't come around very often and being that Marshall is local, the Trojans cannot afford to lose him.
RASHEEM GREEN DE 6-5/290 Gardena (Calif.) PLAY
Who: Rasheem Green is rated the No. 4 defensive end and the No. 16 player over nationally in the Scout300. Green is a versatile player who can play strongside defensive end or the three-technique as a defensive tackle. As a junior, Green had 57 tackles, 26 for losses and 14 sacks. This season he already has five sacks and a dozen tackles for losses in four games. He is a consensus five-star recruit and a U.S. Army All-American for Serra High School.

Why: USC needs defensive linemen badly in this class, and Green is the second highest rated lineman in the state next to Kahlil McKenzie. The West Coast rarely has elite 300-pound defensive linemen, so this is the year for the Trojans to recruit quality and quantity. Green also fits USC's system well as a defensive end with interior lineman size. Trojan All-American Leonard Williams is most likely gone after this season, with Antwaun Woods, Claude Pelon and Delvon Simmons all going into their senior years in 2015.

OSA MASINA LB 6-4/240 Salt Lake City (Utah) PLAY
Who: Osa Masina first popped up on the radar as a running back two years ago. In 2013, he was named All-Tribune team Most Valuable Player rushing for 1,683 yards on 224 carries and 25 touchdowns. On defense, he had 57 tackles and 2.5 sacks. This season he has 32 tackles and five sacks in four games. Masina is currently considering Wisconsin, Michigan, Arizona State, UCLA and USC.

Why: While 2015 is a great year for linebacker talent out West, the buzz around Masina's recruitment has increased since strong showings during the summer camp tour. Impressive, considering USC is in a good position to land several top linebackers in this class. Masina's early 2014 highlights show a player capable of playing all four linebacker spots at 240-pounds, and in terms of need, USC needs to get bigger at linebacker to run a 3-4 defense. Masina also recently announced that he will officially visit USC when the Trojans host Notre Dame in late November.
JOHN HOUSTON LB 6-3/215 Gardena (Calif.) PLAY
Who: John Houston is rated the nation's No. 4 linebacker and No. 28 nationally by Scout.com. Houston plays inside linebacker for Serra, although most colleges are recruiting him as an outside linebacker. He already has 54 tackles in four games this season while following up a junior season where he racked up 137 tackles for the year. That's as productive as it gets.

Why: Houston is another one of those tall, rangy linebackers with good athleticism. He can play SAM, WILL or MIKE linebacker. Houston is also very smart and not afraid to be a vocal leader in the huddle. Being from a pipeline feeder high school, USC fans are feeling good about their chances of landing Houston. However, a trip to Oregon for Oct. 17 could definitely amp up the drama in his recruitment. Houston will also officially visit Oklahoma at some point. The five-star linebacker won't make a commitment until late in the recruiting process, so USC will try to position themselves for his last official visit in January.
MARVELL TELL FS 6-2/185 Encino (Calif.) PLAY
Who: Marvell Tell is ranked the nation's No. 4 safety and the No. 42 rated player overall in the 2015 class. Tell posted 41 tackles (23 solo) with two interceptions, two pass breakups and a quarterback hurry as a junior. He also had 15 receptions for 253 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver for Crespi. Tell had 52 tackles and an interception as a 2012 sophomore.

Why: Once upon a time, USC was stacked at safety with two five-star sophomores starting for the defense and Juju Smith signing for the 2014 recruiting class. Those days seem long gone now with Su'a Cravens playing nickel linebacker and Smith playing wide receiver exclusively. Now the Trojans have three scholarship safeties on the roster, so the need at this position is crucial. Tell is also one of the few prospects who will likely decide between USC and UCLA on signing day, which automatically makes his recruitment that much more a topic of conversation among Trojan fans.
PORTER GUSTIN LB 6-4/240 Salem Hills (Utah) PLAY
Who: Porter Gustin is ranked the No. 5 defensive end in the county and No. 47 nationally overall. While he is rated by Scout.com as a defensive end, USC is recruiting Gustin as a MIKE linebacker. Finishing the SPARQ National Championship at The Opening as one of the top 10 performers at the event, Gustin demonstrated his overall athleticism. That is only a refection of the player he is on Friday nights. Gustin plays quarterback, defensive end and linebacker for Salem Hills High School. As a junior, he had 78 tackles, 17 for losses and two sacks.

Why: As National Recruiting Director Brandon Huffman summed it up, "Porter Gustin: The man, the myth, the legend." Gustin's incredible athletic ability and versatility is the stuff of legend. Gustin could fill a need at outside linebacker, inside linebacker or even tight end at USC. Coming off an official visit to Notre Dame, Gustin already has his trip to USC set for November when the Irish are in Los Angeles to play USC. Gustin seeing Notre Dame play twice has already raised a few eyebrows among the Trojan faithful.
YKILI ROSS ATH 6-2/185 Riverside (Calif.) PLAY
Who: Ykili Ross is rated the No. 23 cornerback nationally and the No. 170 overall as a recruit. Ross is being recruited by USC as an athlete -- with the Trojans coaching staff addressing him as a possible two-way star that can play safety and/or wide receiver. As a junior, Ross had 45 receptions for 930 yards and 12 touchdowns. This season, he has 13 receptions for 200 yards and four scores. He also has an interception.

Why: As stated with Marvell Tell, USC is in dire need of safety prospects. While Tell is a pure safety, Ross is only warming up to the idea. Ross has been a very productive player offensively for Riverside Poly, so he compares favorably with 2014 signee Juju Smith in the "athlete" category. The truth is, Smith looked even more destined to safety as a high school prospect, but he is currently playing wide receiver for the Trojans. Ross could follow that same path, although his coverage skills at 6-foot-2 are exactly what USC covets these days in their defensive backfield.
TYLER PETITE TE 6-5/220 Moraga (Calif.) PLAY
Who: In what was one of the more surprising decisions to go against USC in the last decade, Tyler Petite committed to Duke over the Trojans in July. As a junior, Petite had 24 receptions for 500-yards and nine touchdowns. Playing in a run heavy offense, his statistics are not that of an elite tight end prospect, but he did have more than 20 yards a catch. This season Petite has 12 catches for 380-yards and five touchdowns, averaging 30-yards a reception.

Why: USC currently has two eligible scholarship tight ends on the roster. Next year, they will have two returning scholarship tight ends on the roster. That is if Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick can get his academics in order. Need should really bolt Petite up a few spots in the Ten of Troy, but despite having no depth at tight end and there being few good prospects in this recruiting cycle at the position, Petite's name hasn't carried much weight with Trojan fans since he spurned USC last summer. That will change if USC can secure an official visit with Petite before signing day. Sources are still optimistic that trip will happen.
CHRISTIAN KIRK WR 5-10/190 Scottsdale (Ariz.) PLAY
Who: Kirk is rated the nation's No. 4 wide receiver and the nation's No. 33 player overall. A stand out at The Opening last summer, Kirk plays wide out and running back for Saguaro High School, but wants to be recruited exclusively as a receiver. He rushed for 825-yards and 13 touchdowns last year with 1,110 yards and 17 scores receiving. In five games this year, he has 550-yards and 10 touchdowns receiving -- averaging 130-yards a game through the air.

Why: Although USC has commitment from three receivers in the 2015 recruiting cycle, Trojan fans love them some Christian Kirk. His explosiveness and short area quickness are hard to match. The Trojans offense under Steve Sarkisian is built to feature such players, and with Adoree Jackson starting at cornerback, USC fans want another weapon on offense that can create mismatches. Kirk has an official visit to USC set for the Notre Dame game Nov. 29, but everyone realizes Texas A&M is the team to beat for his commitment. The connection there is quarterback Kyle Allen who is a freshman quarterback for the Aggies and Kirk's close friend.
Dominic Davis RB 5-10/180 Mission Hills (Calif.) PLAY
Who: Dominic Davis is the fastest football player in the state of California for 2015. Running a 10.47 at the Mt. SAC Relays and a 10.51 at state as a junior, Davis has elite speed. He also has tremendous hands, catching a good two dozen passes during the Edison Battle of the Beach in July. Shortly after that tournament, Davis committed to Washington State sight unseen. Davis recently put 131-yards rushing and two touchdowns in a half of play against Dorsey. USC is recruiting Davis as a running back and slot receiver.

Why: While USC fans are enamored with Christian Kirk, and rightfully so, Davis could be just as big of a get. The Trojans have a commitment from Cedar Hill (Texas) running back Aca'Cedric Ware, but with Buck Allen draft eligible, Davis would compliment the class with his speed. Whereas most teams try to have four-to-six running backs healthy, USC only has two, so the need for depth is there. Davis can also play in the slot, furthering that dimension of the offense. With his commitment to Washington wavering, USC is in prime position to land his verbal commitment.

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