The U.S. Army All-American Bowl has been good to the Trojans this past decade.
This year, San Antonio (Texas) welcomes four USC commits to the game, although for the first time in recent years, it appears the Trojans will not have a new commitment announcing during Saturday’s East versus West matchup in the Alamodome.
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The Trojans will send wide receivers Michael Pittman, Trevon Sidney and Tyler Vaughns to the West team, along with offense lineman Frank Martin. Pittman will fly to San Antonio and then enroll at USC Jan. 12.
In addition to these commits, the Trojans will have several targets playing in the game. Long Beach (Calif.) Poly five-star athlete Jack Jones could play on either side of the football for the West squad. Jones is considered the best cornerback in the West Region, but he has proven to be a dynamic playmaker against national competition at various off-season events.
Jones recently announced his top five favorite schools with Alabama, Oklahoma, UCLA, Texas A&M and USC making the list. Many believe USC and Texas A&M lead the way for his commitment, although Oklahoma’s title run makes them a popular dark horse pick.
Jones says he will not officially visit USC, although he has only taken official trips to Arizona State and Texas A&M thus far. Last year’s big recruiting pull for the Trojans, former Poly five-star cornerback Iman Marshall, did not officially visit USC. Or did he?
|ARMY ALL-AMERICAN BOWL USC COMMITS|
|West No. 89 Michael Pittman||West No. 4 Trevon Sidney|
|West No. 73 Frank Martin||West No.83 Tyler Vaughns|
The wideout position will be the main focus for USC fans going into the game. With Pittman, Sidney and Vaughns all playing wideout, the West defensive backs will be tested all week long. The main target for USC in the defensive backfield outside Jones will be Scottsdale (Ariz.) four-star athlete Byron Murphy.
Murphy recently set his official visit to USC for Jan. 15. Despite reports to the contrary, Murphy will not announce his commitment during the game Jan. 9. Torrance (Calif.) North five-star linebacker Mique Juarez has also backed off making a commitment during the game. Juarez, who was once committed to USC, now has UCLA and Washington as his two favorite schools.
With plenty of coaching hires still to come at USC, the Trojans may be behind in his recruitment, but do not count them out. Clay Helton has already had his in-home visit with Juarez and his family. If Juarez does not graduate early as planned, his recruitment could go until signing day. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound linebacker says he would like to make a decision before then, and while he plans on graduating next month, he could still commit to UCLA or Washington and enroll in March for spring semester. The Bruins and Huskies are both on the quarter system, unlike USC.
|ARMY ALL-AMERICAN BOWL USC TARGETS|
|West No. 16 Devin Asiasi||West No. 3 Jack Jones||West No. 1 Byron Murphy|
|West No. 21 LaVert Hill||West No. 11 Mique Juarez||West No. 95 Jordan Elliott|
Concord (Calif.) De La Salle four-star tight end Devin Asiasi will be the big target USC fans will want to follow throughout the week. Asiasi will officially visit USC Jan. 30, which is the last weekend of the process for 2016 recruits. Asiasi will face the likes of Mique Juarez in practice and then match up with players like Clairesville (Ohio) four-star linebacker Brendan Ferns.
The East squad will also field a bevy of prospects from Florida that USC is targeting for official visits in January. Panama City (Fla.) defensive end Janarius Robinson, Coconut Creek (Fla.) wide receiver Binjimen Victor and Miami (Fla.) safety Jamel Cook are all players USC is attempting get on campus for their big Jan. 15 official visit weekend.
Fair warning, all-star events always produce false headlines and click bait stories throughout the week. While some websites use this as standard practice, 80 bluechip athletes in one place creates its own maelstrom of rumors and ego-driven quotes. Los Angeles is a great place to send a postcard from and USC as a program still holds weight nationally.