The Tojans hosted four recruits this weekend with All Americans Lorenzo Booker (RB, St. Bonaventure) and Pat Watkins (S, Lincoln) as well as QB Brandon Hance (QB, transfer from Purdue) and Darius Sanders (DE, Compton Centennial).
Booker is considered one of the top priorities remaining on the coaches wish list and he had previously narrowed his choices to USC, UW, ND and FSU. His trip this weekend began with a drive to the USC campus with Norm Chow and a dinner on Friday night at Reign restaurant where he got a chance to meet the restaurant's owner, former USC receiver Keyshawn Johnson, and also spent good time talking with his family and Coach Pete Carroll. Lorenzo was scheduled to go to the basketball game against Stanford on Saturday but he got sick and missed the game although he did end up at Papadakis Taverna for dinner with the other recruits on Saturday night. There will be a lot of speculation between now and signing day when Booker is scheduled to announce on ESPN but the Trojans have emerged at the very least as one of the teams that will be in the final hunt for the services of this terrific back.
Watkins is considered one of the top two safeties in the country, along with Poly RB/S and USC soft verbal Darnell Bing, and he has long been considered a major lean to either Florida State or Miami but his trip to California for the CaliFlorida Bowl sparked his interest in the Trojans. The opportunity to play in the Carroll defense appealed to Watkins as well and he made the trip despite the fact that fellow Lincoln HS stars Gavin Dickey and Greg Threat had committed elsewhere after scheduling the visit to USC. Pat clearly enjoyed himself at the basketball game yesterday and has a serious interest in the Trojans right now but the major hurdle will be his parents as they would prefer that he stay closer to home.
Hance recently confirmed that he will attend USC in the fall and is expecting to compete for the starting QB job in spring of 2003. His strengths as a QB are his short range passing accuracy and decision making, two skills which are vital in the Norm Chow system and Hance is also a training partner of top junior WR Steve Smith who could be the top two way player in the country next season.
Sanders was a surprise addition to the trip list and he is better known as a basketball player who started for the State championship team at Dominguez last year but he is now at Centennial. He is a potential DE at 6'6", 230 and Carroll saw enough of his athletic ability at a basketball game earlier this year to bring him in for the visit.