The USC Rising Stars Camp Sunday was a battle for reps and space as much as it was a showdown of top prospects.
With more than 850 campers cramming into four sports fields, the first edition of the Rising Stars Camp was the largest in school history. From that talent pool, there were top performers from most position groups.
Bryan Addison | Gardena (Calif.) Serra | Four-Star | Athlete
Addison was the top overall player at the Rising Stars Camp Sunday. While he started off the camp coasting through drills as a defensive back, Addison turned it up on offense and defense when the competitive periods began. Addison had two interceptions and some tremendous receptions as a wide receiver. Having been the best safety in California on the seven-on-seven circuit this spring, it was hardly a surprise seeing him make play-after-play Sunday. USC had been recruiting Addison more as a safety this spring, but he showed Sunday that he can legitimately be a threat as a
Michael Ezeike | Ontario (Calif.) Colony | Four-Star | Tight End
Although he is rated as a tight end at 6-foot-5, 220-pounds,
Chris Murray | Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei | Three-Star | Guard
The competition level among the offensive and defensive lines
Devon Cooley | Buena Park (Calif.) | Four-Star | Wide Receiver
Cooley has been a standout during the seven-on-seven circuit since February. He took as many reps as any receiver in attendance Sunday and looked his smooth gliding in and out of his routes. However, from a recruiting standpoint, Cooley may have done himself a disservice by not getting additional looks as a safety. USC will only take two wide receivers in this class unless more rides become available with attrition. Cooley has the height and length USC covets in their defensive back recruits, but he marketed himself solely as a wide receiver Sunday.
Kobe Pepe | Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco | Defensive End
For the second time this spring, 2020 defensive lineman Kobe Pepe flashed some serious potential. While St. John Bosco had several notable upperclassmen in attendance Sunday, Pepe stole the show. Like he did at the Braves College Football Showcase last month, Pepe was in the offensive backfield in the blink of an eye. On a handful of reps, he beat his blocker before he could execute his kick step. At 6-foot-1, 270-pounds, Pepe is still a bit of a tweener, but no defensive lineman at the camp was more explosive off the snap. He outplayed his more highly regarded teammate Sua'ava Poti Sunday.
Ralen Goforth | Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco | Linebacker
Like Pepe, Goforth has been tremendous this spring. The brother of former UCLA safety, Randal Goforth,
Maninoa Tufono | Honolulu (Hawaii) Punahou | Linebacker
Tufono is another very good linebacker in the 2019 class. Tufono received some special attention from USC linebackers coach Johnny Nansen Sunday. With his 6-foot-3 frame and upside, it would be a surprise if USC didn’t offer Tufono a scholarship sooner rather than later. Chances are USC will bring in a very good class of linebackers for the class of 2018, so they will have to get ahead of the curve in recruiting against their depth chart come 2019.
John Jackson | Gardena (Calif.) Serra | Three-Star | Wide Receiver
Although Jackson got a mixed bag of passes during competitive periods, he still managed to show off his route running and hands in position drills. As mentioned with Devon Cooley, USC doesn’t have many receiver
Jeremiah Criddell | Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) | Cornerback
Criddell didn’t take a ton of reps Sunday, but he did show flashes of his athletic ability and instincts during one-on-ones. He did gamble and get caught reaching on occasion, but he was one of the few defensive backs who showed the ability to take chances and make them pay off. With another year to develop, Criddell should round out into a viable target for USC in the 2019 class.
Adam Plant | Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman | Three-Star | Defensive End
Plant won one of the defensive line MVP’s, and while the Arizona commit had a solid day, it’s hard seeing him fit into the grand scheme of things for USC in 2018.
Jacob Isaia Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman | Three-Star | Center
Although he is projected as a center in college, Isaia played offensive tackle exclusively during the one-on-one period of the camp. This isn’t uncommon as coaches want to put offensive linemen in uncomfortable positions to expose their weaknesses in such evaluation opportunities. However, Isaia plays right tackle for Bishop Gorman, so he was far from uncomfortable Sunday. Isaia won a majority of his reps fairly easily and proved to be one of the quicker prospects in pass-pro situations. That quickness does come at the expense of size. Isaia is on the small side, and at present date, USC has their sights set on Temecula (Calif.) four-star Justin