With so many spots looking to be filled the staff is looking both locally and nationally as well as scouring the junior college ranks for possible recruits to bring in.
On the national level the Trojans are in on some pretty impressive names such as Shawn Crabel of Washington HS in Massilon, OH and H.B. Blades of Plantation HS in Florida as well as a pair of talented backers from Texas in DeMario Pleasant and TaTa Thompson. Crabel (6-6, 235) is one of the top players in the country and it will be hard to get him away from the Midwest with Ohio State and Michigan being the current favorites but at this point it looks like the Trojans do have a legitimate shot with Blades (6-1, 225). He is the son of Bennie and the nephew of two other former Miami Hurricane stars but H.B. (Horatio Benedict) says he wants to do his own thing and right now is planning on taking a trip to USC and considers us among his leaders. The Trojans have offered Pleasant (6-3, 210 from Lewisville HS) and Thompson (6-3, 230 from Garland HS) but both seem to be leaning toward staying in state.
There are plenty of players in California for the coaches to look at and one who really impressed during the recent one-day camp was Vacaville HS star Thomas Williams (6-2, 225) who ran well, showed good instincts and will definitely be a player to watch this fall. Williams appears set on playing in the Pac-10 and the Trojans have just as good a shot as anybody at this point. Michael Okwo (6-0, 205) is on the small side of what Nick Holt looks for in an OLB but if we are going to bring in a smaller LB he would be at the top of the list. Michael is also a tremendous running back and he brings that mentality to the defensive side of the ball. Look for a USC vs UCLA battle on this one.
There are a pair of Martin's on the radar screen, Brett Martin of Centennial HS in Corona and Lee Martin from St. Bonaventure HS in Ventura. Both are roughly the same size (Brett is 6-1, 212 while Lee is 6-0.5, 205) and they run very well with Brett, a long-time Trojan fan, putting together a slightly better performance at the recent LB camp. A pair of Jackrabbits from LB Poly will get a look in Brian Banks and Mark Washington. Banks (6-1, 230) wasn't even a starter last season for the talented Poly team but his size and potential have drawn the interest of the Trojan coaches and he has shown tremendous interest in USC. Washington has good size although chances are he will be moved to DE at the college level.
A player who has rapidly risen on the wish list is Drean Rucker (6-0, 230) from Canyon Springs HS in Moreno Valley. Rucker put on a powerful performance at the Nike Camp and he will be one of the top targets for the MLB position. The staff will also look to the JC ranks for a potential player in the middle and one recruit they will be looking at is Brian Smith (6-2, 225) from El Camino College. Smith played at Peninsula HS and has a good reputation as a run stopper. The wild card in the mix, of course, could be Marvin Simmons. Marvin (6-1, 230) is currently attending Compton College with plans to play there this fall and enter USC in spring or fall of 2003. Many fans will take a wait and see attitude when it comes to the prospect of seeing Marvin in a Trojan uniform but if it does happen it will add tremendously to the talent level at that position.
Other players who will get a look include John Nichols (6-2, 215) from Bellflower HS although a 4.9 40 at the recent camp was not the speed the coaches are looking for, Philip Rousher (6-2, 220) of La Costa Canyon, Chris Purtz (6-1, 220) from Clovis West who is good friends with Brandon Hancock, Jon Turner (6-3, 240) from Corona HS who is a former youth boxing champion and Alain Karatepeyan (6-2, 220) from Chatsworth HS.