'Big' freshman class almost all here

Osa Masina, Tyler Petite, Cole Smith and Ronald Jones make it in Monday.

Another night. More things to note about this Trojans football team that went through the most competitive workout of the nine player-run practices Monday. More of that later in the week.

For now, we'll note we saw four freshmen -- Osa Masina, Tyler Petite, Cole Smith and Ronald Jones -- for the first time.

Some thoughts here even if we can't talk to them, we can watch what they do. At first glance, Osa Masina does not look like a freshman. But he does certainly look like an athlete, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound inside linebacker who with 6-3, 240-pound Cameron Smith, already here in the spring, gives USC a pair of incoming freshmen the likes of which we doubt will be seen anywhere else in the nation right now.

But put Masina, who just looks like a player before he even makes a play, next to his fellow Utahan Porter Gustin, a 6-5, 250-pound outside linebacker along with 6-3, 220-pound OLB John Houston, and it's not possible to not think back to the last time USC had a four-man linebacker class when the program was rolling.

Will the new guys turn out to be a replay of the likes of Clay Matthews, Rey Maualuga, Brian Cushing and Kaluka Maiava? That's a heck of a challenge. But at first glance, sizing them up, these four won't take a back seat to anyone. Gustin and Masina lining up next to one another are an imposing pair.

Petite came in and got right after it. He's smooth, every bit of 6-5 it seems, probably no more than the 235 pounds he's listed. Looks like primarily a receiver right now. Showed good hands. Catches the ball very easily. Runs well. We'll see what kind of burst he has as he goes. Did finish up with a nice, deep leaping catch. Jumped in right away in his first night of 11 on 11.

Didn't see Jones get to do anything. He was here as an observer and watched with another freshman, Ykili Ross, who also didn't take part.

Next to the big, big bodies in this freshman class on both sides of the ball, Smith seems a bit undersized at 6-4, 280. He also got to go in 11 on 11.

Freshmen not here -- or at least the ones we haven't seen: DT Kevin Scott, WR/CB Isaiah Langley and O-lineman Clayton Johnston.

MONDAY QUICK TAKES: The transferring wide receiver from North Carolina is Jackson Boyer, a 6-3, 195-pound redshirt sophomore who played in seven games last season as both a WR and special teamer. A four sports guy in high school in Chapel Hill (football, lacrosse, diving and track and field), his favorite sport is surfing so until we get to talk to him, we can assume what his rationale for heading off to USC is . . . With the arrival of Petite, there were still four tight ends among the 76 working out with Spears missing with Caleb Wilson, Cyrus Hobbi and Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick . . . no Darreus Rodgers again after reports that he broke his pinky . . . no Max Browne, Toa Lobendahn and Viane Talamaivao on Mondays . . . Have yet to see Soma Vainuku this summer. . . Leon McQuay lined up at cornerback a second straight night. Looked good again . . . Dominic Davis had a third strong night as a receiver/runner . . . Biggest negative on this night when 31 players stayed after practice for one-on-one routes and coverage and work on the Juggs gun, there weren't enough linebackers to battle the tight ends . . . Tre Madden got lots of work in the passing game . . . Deontay Burnett continues to impress at wide receiver, catching the bal in traffic time and again.

CHECK THIS OUT: For more details and play-by-play on Monday's workout, check out MONDAY SUMMER THROWING SESSION 9 GHOST NOTES.

You can follow me on Twitter at @dweber3440 or email me at weber@uscfootball.com.


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