USAAB Trojan Notebook II

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- The more things change with the weather, the more they stay the same on the field. Tons of analysis and recruiting notes from the second day of practice at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

On a dreary day with winds beginning to blow in from the Northeast, the U.S. Army All-American West practice saw a dramatic change in weather from Monday, but few changes on the field.

While the quarterback play in San Antonio hasn’t been stellar this week, Ventura (Calif.) five-star Ricky Town has thrown some of the best passes from a highlight standpoint. Town and Riverside (Calif.) four-star Ykili Ross hooked up on a good dozen passes Tuesday.

Town had a rough Monday morning, but as predicted, he threw himself out of the hole he threw himself into. Town had a similar performance at the The Opening last summer, where he went on an interception throwing spree early in the seven-on-seven tournament only to turn around and lead his team to the championship run.

Town does an excellent job of identifying his receivers' skills sets, and once he gets a feel for their speed, locks in on where to throw the football. For Town, it’s more about who he is throwing the ball to than where he is throwing the ball on the field.

“Town had a good morning on Monday then an OK afternoon session before having the best practice of anyone in the West on Day 2, looking comfortable and poised in the pocket, good reads and throwing as well as he has in some time.” - Scout National Recruiting Analyst Brandon Huffman

Ross, for his part, continues to attack the ball in the air as he works to get open. USC will most likely want to start Ross out playing on defense, if the Trojans are to garner his commitment Saturday. However, his ball skills and quick first step certainly translate well to playing safety or cornerback.

More Donte


Speaking of two-way stars, Jefferson (La.) four-star cornerback Donte Jackson continues to shine on both sides of the football for the West team. Jackson is the fastest player on the team, without question. His speed and ability to separate are best demonstrated at wide out, although he opened the last two practices with pass breakups at cornerback.

Although Jackson is slight in build, he has a lot of the same gifts that make Adoree Jackson so special for USC. The Trojans are a dark horse in the race to land Donte Jackson’s commitment. Reading between the lines, Georgia may be his leader going into his official visit with the Bulldogs Jan. 16, but LSU is still confident they will get his final official visit after he makes a commitment Jan. 21.

Expecting big things


Although Day 1 also brings with it Day 2 expectations. Clovis (Calif.) defensive tackle Jacob Daniel had a great first day of practice, and while he didn’t dominate the same number of reps on Day 2, the 6-foot-4, 320-pound four-star commit did continue to establish himself as a great one-two punch with Concord (Calif.) five-star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie.

It’s hard to describe McKenzie as a miss for USC or anything other Pac-12 program seeing his father’s connections to Tennessee, which is where the 6-foot-3, 330-pound behemoth defensive tackle is committed.

He is exactly the player USC needs up front to help ease the loss of Leonard Williams, but McKenzie would not replace Leonard Williams either. Position for position, McKenzie will make his name as a one-technique playing over the center in college. Daniel is coming in to play the four-technique for USC, but as stated Monday, his added weight opens up more opportunity for him to play the one-technique as well.

McKenzie is far more developed from a weight training aspect than Daniel, and he is quicker. But Daniel is younger and less developed physically, which is to say he also retains a lot of upside. USC will have to strip him of some weight to build him back up properly, but there should be no hesitation in him playing at 320-pounds and then some.

As stated, Daniel’s day wasn’t quite as good Tuesday as it was Monday. He put the offensive linemen on skates with some great bull rushes Monday, and by Tuesday, the offense line wised up to Daniel’s inside moves. But again, the slate to build on with Daniel is very intriguing.

Utah duo together


Speaking a great duos, Tuesday was the first time Salt Lake City (Utah) five-star linebacker Osa Masina and Salem (Utah) four-star defensive end Porter Gustin played side-by-side at linebacker for the West team. The size and speed combo of both is tremendous. Gustin is still feeling his way around the MIKE linebacker spot and is responsible for making calls for the entire defense on a short work week.

Masina has had less to learn schematically and moves like it. He flows to the football quickly and did a good job flanking the hash marks Tuesday on run support. The linebackers did get some looks on goal line defense Tuesday, and they were handled by the offense for the most part. But as game time approaches, thud tempo will turn to full speed and these linebackers are big, fast and nasty. The 4-3 doesn't play to Gustin's or Masina's strengths, but that won't prevent at least a few big collisions Saturday. The two are rooming together this week as they did at The Opening. Perhaps they will in college as well.

Langley says it all


In a video interview hitting USCFootball.com later Wednesday, Pleasanton (Calif.) four-star cornerback Isaiah Langley discussed the commits and future commits for USC at the Army All-American Bowl this year. Langley didn’t name names, but said there were 10 or 11 commits and future commits in attendance for the Trojans.

For recruitnik Trojan fans keeping count, USC has six commits presently in San Antonio. Four-star defensive back Ykili Ross and Marvell Tell will announce their college decisions Saturday, with USC being a frontrunner for both.

After that, the count becomes a tad more vague. USC is also targeting linebackers Osa Masina and Porter Gustin. Gardena (Calif.) five-star defensive tackle Rasheem Green is also a member of the West team this year, but he won’t be in San Antonio until Thursday night.

Rector playing tight end


Los Angeles (Calif.) three-star defensive end Christian Rector has had a good week in San Antonio thus far. At 6-foot-5, 240-pounds, Rector fits in well as a strongside defensive end in the West’s 4-3 scheme. But Rector also played some tight end Tuesday when the West went to their goal line and two back sets.

Rector blocked really well with limited reps, which adds some intrigue to how he may fit into USC’s plans next season. Rector has been recruited as a rush end, and while there’s not much doubt he will start out playing defense, the lack of tight end depth for USC could provide earlier playing time.

Top Performers


The Army All-American Bowl is a showcase of the best of the best. Here are Monday's top performers from a pool of players USC recruited in the 2015 class. Targets, commits and misses.

1. Kahlil McKenzie
2. Donte Jackson
3. Ricky Town
4. Ykili Ross
5. Osa Masina
6. Zach Okun
7. Jacob Daniel
8. Chuma Edoga
9. Porter Gustin
10. Christian Rector


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