The U.S. Army All-American Bowl has been good to the Trojans.
Each year in San Antonio (Texas) USC commits star in the game, while potential commits preview their impact against next level competition. This year, the Trojans have three commits featured on the West Roster, but several other prospects participating in the game will be visiting USC in January.
The Trojans will send running back Stephen Carr, center Brett Neilon and defensive end Hunter Echols to the West team. Carr will share the offensive backfield with Alabama running back commitment, Najee Harris.
In a addition to these commits, the Trojans will have several targets playing in the game. Las Vegas (Nev.) four-star safety Bubba Bolden will announce a college decision live on NBC Jan. 7 at the Alamodome. He will choose between USC and Ohio State. Bolden is one of a handful of recruits that could get a look at a five-star rating by the end of this recruiting cycle.
The West is well represented by USC prospects in the defensive backfield overall with Los Angeles (Calif.) four-star athlete Greg Johnson, Saguaro (Ariz.) four-star safety K.J. Jarrell and Los Angeles (Calif.) four-star cornerback Deommodore Lenoir. Grand Prairie (Texas) five-star safety Jeffery Okudah has also mentioned he wanted to officially visit USC in the past, but he is considered by most as a heavy favorite to end up at Ohio State.
Four-star defensive tackle Jay Tufele will officially visit USC Jan. 13 following the recruiting dead period. Tufele was one of the best looking defensive tackle prospects this off season at The Opening Finals in June before getting injured after the first day. If there is one position where the West squad may be weak in terms of depth, it’s the defensive line. Tufele will have to step up and be the catalyst in the trenches along with UCLA Bruin commit, Jaelan Phillips.
|ARMY ALL-AMERICAN BOWL USC COMMITS|
|West No. 11 Stephen Carr||West No. 62 Brett Neilon||West No. 9 Hunter Echols|
Defense will be the focal point of USC recruiting in January. USC will look to sign at least three more defensive linemen and potentially three more defensive backs in the 2017 class. As mentioned, Bubba Bolden will make his commitment to a college Jan. 7, but so will Calabasas (Calif.) five-star cornerback Darnay Holmes. Once considered a sure bet to commit to UCLA, Holmes has more recently been sourced as a Ohio State lean.
Holmes officially visited USC in December, and while almost everyone with an opinion on the matter says the Trojans are out of it, that may be a little too presumptuous. USC will get a hat on the table and will be considered a dark horse to have Holmes on campus as a mid-year graduate next month. But even a dark horse is still a horse in the race.
|ARMY ALL-AMERICAN BOWL USC TARGETS|
|West No. 28 Bubba Bolden||West No. 5 Darnay Holmes||West No. 31 Greg Johnson|
|West No. 77 Austin Jackson||West No. 78 Jay Tufele||East No. 91 Aubrey Solomon|
|West No. 28 Deommodore Lenoir||West No. 24 K.J. Jarrell||West No. 4 Joseph Lewis|
Phoenix (Ariz.) five-star offensive tackle Austin Jackson will be one of USC’s biggest targets in the game. With graduation hitting the Trojans hard at offensive tackle, Jackson is a must-get for USC. This week, Jackson answers the question of whether he can legitimately step in as a true freshman and competed for a starting spot at left tackle next season. Jackson is up from 260-pounds to 280-pounds this season and this will be his first test in pads against elite talent.
The offensive should be a strength for the West squad. Joining Jackson up front will be St. John Bosco five-star offensive guard Wyatt Davis and the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle, Foster Sarell. There is a chance Davis official visits USC in January, while Sarell looks to be headed to Stanford or Washington on signing day.
The West offensive line will a few top pass rushers, and perhaps the only real clear target for USC in Leesburg (Ga.) five-star defensive tackle Aubrey Solomon. The California native has talked about officially visiting USC in January, although the Trojans are playing catch up to Alabama and Michigan in his recruitment.
Los Angeles (Calif.) five-star wide receiver Joseph Lewis is another big offensive star that Trojan fans will watch closely. Lewis is rated as the No. 1 wide out in the country, and his battles against Holmes in practice maybe the highlight of the week. Lewis dominated The Opening defensive backs that plated against him one-on-one, but sometimes things are different in full pads. USC is still lobbying to bring Lewis in on an official visit Jan. 20 or 27. Most see Nebraska has Lewis’ favorite school.
But beware, 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 itself 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.