The Ten of Troy

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
JACK JONES ATH 5-11/165 Long Beach (Calif.) PLAY
Who: Jackie Jones is rated as the nation’s No. 1 athlete, playing wide out, cornerback and safety for Poly. Jones played all three positions at The Opening Finals — the only player to do so. He tested with a 4.59 40-yard dash at the NIKE Football Combine. As a junior, Jones had 64 receptions for 720-yards and five scores. He had 36 tackles and one interception on defense.

Why: USC has built a wall around Long Beach Poly and Jones is one of the few five-star prospects in this class. His ability to play multiple positions makes him valuable as a receiver and cornerback. Jones has been dominant playing the latter this off season, so with no cornerbacks committed to USC in the 2016 class, Trojan fans can’t stop talking about him.
TYLER VAUGHNS WR 6-2/180 La Puente (Calif.) PLAY
Who: Tyler Vaughns is rated as the nation’s No. 2 wide receiver. Vaughns had 83 receptions for 1,183-yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior for Bishop Amat. With long arms and great leaping ability, Vaughns owns the skyline when the football is in the air. He was Hypercool's go-to wide out at The Opening Finals.

Why: Vaughns will announce his decision on a college Aug. 22, so the buzz around his recruitment is hitting a crescendo. True, USC has four other targets committed that could end up playing wide receiver next fall for the Trojans, but that in itself has also helped to drive the narrative about the 2016 class. Vaughns is rated the top player at his position, so how would his commitment impact the current class of commits?

JORDAN ELLIOTT DL 6-4/305 Houston (Texas) PLAY
Who: Jordan Elliott is rated at the nation’s No. 12 defensive tackle and the No. 104 player overall nationally. Elliott committed to Baylor over the winter and then flipped to Houston quickly after de-committing this spring. Elliott will only be 17-years-old next year.

Why: Elliott announced via Twitter last week that he will officially visit USC, Texas, LSU, Alabama and Michigan. Seeing that Elliott made the Rising Stars Camp in June after calling USC his favorite school in May has Trojans fans on alert. The fact that he’s a defensive tackle, and depth along the defensive line is always a concern, adds to value as a target going into the fall. Although he is committed to Houston, this could end up a Texas/USC battle come January.
JORDAN PARKER CB 5-11/180 Pittsburg (Calif.) PLAY
Who: Jordan Parker is rated the No. 12 cornerback nationally and the No. 2 cornerback in the West. Overall, he is ranked 131 nationally by Scout. Parker attended The Opening Finals where he ran a 4.49 40-yard dash and had a 36.9 vertical leap. Parker had 32 tackles and five interceptions as a junior.

Why:Parker created plenty of buzz in April when he committed to UCLA just a couple of hours after unofficially visiting USC. But things were just starting to get interesting. A day after committing to the Bruins, Parker said he would camp and still officially visit USC. Parker recently de-commit from the Bruins and re-opened his recruitment. USC and Oregon appear to be the frontrunners with no timeline for a decision nearing. The Ducks have yet to offer Parker a scholarship, so USC is the favorite.
DEVIN ASIASI TE 6-5/265 Concord (Calif.) PLAY
Who: Devin Asiasi is rated the nation’s No. 6 tight end and the No. 123 player nationally. Asiasi actually played some quarterback in the CIF Title game last year for De La Salle. As a tight end he had 16 receptions for 264 yards and two scores in a run-oriented offense at De La Salle. On defense he had 33 tackles and five sacks with six tackles for losses.

Why: USC is in desperate need of tight ends, but the question still remains whether Asiasi does not grow into a defensive end. Of course, good defensive linemen are hard to come by on the West Coast, so bringing in Asiasi as a jumbo athlete regardless of position is still a priority. Asiasi would pair nicely with Exton (Pa.) four-star tight end Cary Angeline, who committed to USC in June. The Trojans want to maintain a run-first mentality offensively and that means their tight ends have to run block.
MAXS TUPAI DE 6-3/260 Murray (Utah) PLAY
Who: Maxs Tupai is rated the No. 26 defensive end in the nation, No. 211 in the Scout 300. With 14 scholarship offers, Tupai is most focused on USC, Texas Tech, UCLA, Utah and BYU. Tupai had a dozen tackles for losses and 20 sacks over the past two seasons. He has also rushed for a few hundred yards as a running back for Murray High School.

Why: USC remains one of Tupai’s top options, and after the Trojans’ success in Utah last recruiting cycle, the fan base is eager to maintain a presence in the Beehive State. USC also wants to maintain its strong tradition of Polynesian players, which has been a greater focus for Steve Sarkisian’s coaching staff. Tupai does have to pick it up in the classroom as a senior, which is why his name is never too far from conversation with USC fans.
LAMAR JACKSON SS 6-3/210 Elk Grove (Calif.) PLAY
Who: Lamar Jackson mainly plays quarterback and running back for Franklin High School, although he is rated the nation’s No. 9 safety and the state’s top player at that position. Jackson had 575-yards and nine touchdowns as a tailback last year with two interceptions playing cornerback. With his size, Jackson harkens back to the Pete Carroll days of USC safeties.

Why: Jackson has unofficially visit USC a handful of times this past off season, including a performance at the USC Skills Camp. At The Opening Finals, Jackson ran an impressive 4.63 40-yard dash in addition to posting a 36-inch vertical leap at 209-pounds. Jackson will announce his college decision at the Under Armour All-American game with USC, Michigan (visiting Oct. 17) and UCLA looking like early frontrunners. Oregon also offered him a recent scholarship.
NIGEL KNOTT CB 5-11/175 Madison (Miss.) PLAY
Who: Nigel Knott is rated the nation’s No. 8 cornerback and the No. 88 player overall in the Scout 300. As a junior, Knott had 112 tackles, one sack and four interceptions. Knott was also finished second in the NIKE Football Combine Championship, running a 4.38 40-yard dash, a 3.94 shuttle time and posting a 46-inch vertical leap.

Why: Knott is that target no one gives USC a chance at landing. And while recruiting Mississippi has often proved futile for USC, Knott’s summer trip to the Rising Stars Camp was crucial. There’s a good chance USC gets an official visit from Knott after the season. As with his performance at The Opening Finals, Knott was excellent at the Rising Stars camp. Knott's dad played in the NFL, so he's not as tied to the South as most think.
FREDDIE SWAIN WR 6-0/185 Citra (Fla.) PLAY
Who: Freddie Swain is rated that nation’s No. 19 wide receiver and the No. 91 player overall in the Scout 300. Swain had 54 receptions for 840-yards and six touchdowns. Swain was a standout at both the USC Rising Stars Camp and The Opening Finals this summer.

Why: Another wide receiver on the Trojans’ big board, but with four projected wide outs already committed in the 2016 class and Tyler Vaughns committing in August, many USC fans wonder if there will be room for Swain come February. At this point, USC isn’t turning away Swain, which is reflected as the Trojans join Tennessee, Alabama and Miami in his top four college choices. However, Swain says he won’t commit until October, which leaves his place among USC’s potential 2016 class open ended and somewhat controversial.
Byron Murphy CB 5-11/170 Scottsdale (Ariz.) PLAY
Who: Byron Murphy is rated the nation’s No. 7 athlete, although he is considered a cornerback by most and has performed there almost exclusively this off season. Murphy did have 65 receptions for 1,348-yards and 13 touchdowns as a receiver. On defense he had 53 tackles and six interceptions. Murphy is a physically imposing cornerback who has the mentality of a safety. He ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at the NIKE Football Combine with a 33.2 vertical leap.

Why: USC, Texas A&M, Washington and Arizona State are Murphy’s favorite schools, although there’s thought that he may not leave the West Coast like his former Saguaro teammate Christian Kirk. Murphy didn’t make the USC Rising Stars Camp, so his name has lost some buzz with Trojans fans in recent months.
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