The quarterback spot is in good hands with the commitment of Mark Sanchez. Mark is ranked as the #1 QB prospect in the country according to scout.com and he went out and earned that distinction this season while leading his Mission Viejo team to an undefeated 14-0 season. He showed tremendous poise all year and he's got the entire package in terms of arm strength, mobility and football intelligence. As we know, those traits seem to fit the mold of the USC quarterbacks under Norm Chow. Mark has said that he is still committed to USC, even if Chow is elsewhere. This is a great pick-up for the Trojans.
It will be interesting to see what happens at the running back spot as it appears as if the attention is focused on Jason Gwaltney at this point. Several other recruits on their official visits this past weekend said that Gwaltney gave a verbal commitment to the Trojans but to this point all Jason is saying is that he is no longer committed to West Virginia. Jason says he now has a top three of USC, Ohio State and West Virginia with an announcement coming at the Army All-Star game on January 15th. Gwaltney, ranked as the #11 RB in the nation by scout.com, is a bigger back at 235 pounds in the mold of LenDale White and Chauncey Washington as the Trojans look to establish more of a power running game in the future. After local star Marlon Lucky gave a verbal commit to Nebraska the Trojans sent Pete Carroll and Chow to watch him play and Marlon had a huge game for the North Hollywood Huskies that night. Marlon has been pretty consistent, however, in saying that he will stick with the Huskers for his college choice and it doesn't look like he will be changing his mind. Jonathan Stewart, the all-time leading rusher in the state of Washington, is a longshot at this point to end up at USC. The Trojans will bring Florida fullback Kalvin Bailey for a visit next month but it looks likely that Bailey will end up attending college in the South. He's a good enough player that it makes sense to trip him just in case he changes his mind.
There are two clear choices at the top of the wish list in Desean Jackson and Patrick Turner. The two offer contrasting styles but both are considered among the best in the country at their positions. Jackson led his LB Poly team to a CIF title this past year and he opened the scoring in the title game by returning a long interception for a touchdown while playing corner. His future on the football field is definitely on offense though as Desean has tremendous body control, runs precise routes and has good hands. He's also a top baseball prospect and there were MLB scouts in attendance at the championship game last weekend. Desean will choose from a group that includes USC, Cal and LSU (he will also trip to Oklahoma this weekend) and there are a lot of signs pointing in the direction of him ending up wearing Cardinal and Gold. Turner, from Goodpasture HS in Tennessee, fits the mold of the taller receiver that has seen so much success in the USC offense with guys like Mike Williams and Dwayne Jarrett. Patrick has watched the performance of Jarrett this year with great interest and has noted how much a freshman can contribute at USC. In addition to the Trojans he is being pursued by southern schools such as Tennessee, LSU and Florida but don't be surprised if the Trojans are able to lure him to the west coast. Another big-time receiver who is being recruited is Lavar Lobdell from Christian Brothers Academy in NY and he will visit USC in January. Lobdell has been on the receiving end of passes from Greg Paulus, one of the top QB's in the nation who is headed to Duke on a basketball scholarship, and Lavar is a terrific athlete in his own right. He had 21 TD's out of his 38 catches while averaging close to 20 yards per throw. Lavar will also consider Miami, West Virginia, NC State and Virginia Tech.
Things are far from over for the top two prospects on the wish list at TE. Charles Brown has excellent size and enough athletic ability that he played tight end this season at 6-6, 250. He is projected by many to end up as an offensive lineman at the college level but he wants to begin his career as a tight end and the schools on his final list are willing to give him that shot. If Charles proves he can stay there he would make an imposing pass catching target and a dominant run blocker. Charles has called himself a "soft commit" to USC since September but he has a visit scheduled to UCLA this weekend and could end up at either local school. Another versatile recruit is Erik Lorig from Peninsula as the Trojans have also talked to him about playing a hybrid position that would involve some H-back and fullback duties. Lorig has a thick frame and he's a teammate of Nate Carroll, son of Pete, so the USC coach has seen him play many times and has a good feel for his game. Erik will also trip to Westwood this weekend in addition to considering Cal and Stanford.
For the first time in many years the offensive line is not a major point of emphasis in recruiting. With so much young talent coming back it's possible the Trojans could take only 1-2 players at this spot and we already have a verbal from Nick Howell. Nick has the genes all Trojan fans can't wait to see as his father, Pat, was an All-American at USC in the late 70's. This will be the first off-season that Nick won't play volleyball as he looks to concentrate on hitting the weight room to prepare for his fall arrival at USC. The top remaining target on the OL wish list is Dace Richardson, a Southern California native who now lives in Illinois. Dace will take an unofficial visit to the Trojan campus this weekend as he visits family in the area. He plans to make an official visit in January and will announce his college choice (Iowa, Michigan, Tennessee are his other options) at the Army All-Star game. Another possibility could be big junior college star Kevin Myers (6-6, 360) from Compton College. Kevin was expected to sign with LSU yesterday but it was known the Trojans had been making a late push.