Coaches hit the Recruiting Trail

The recruiting season for the Class of 2007 is in full swing as the Trojan coaches hit the road today to evaluate top prospects across the country. Today is the first day of the May evaluation period where our coaches can visit high school campuses for purposes of making academic and athletic evaluations of the players on their wish list.

Quarterback

It didn't take much time after Jimmy Clausen made it official that he will attend Notre Dame for the USC coaches to turn their attention to Mike Paulus for the quarterback spot. Paulus is a taller version of his older brother, Greg, a former Army All-American game QB and current point guard for the Duke Blue Devils. Mike was on a visit to the USC campus last Friday when he received the USC offer and he will likely make a decision in the next two months. Other quarterbacks who could end up in the mix include Samson Szakacsy, Aaron Corp and Ryan Mallett.

Running Back

We already have one commit in Broderick Green and we probably won't take more than two RB's so that means there is only one spot left. Marc Tyler is the only California running back who has a USC offer and he is a top priority, it remains to be seen how much the verbal of his good friend Clausen to the Irish will impact him but USC will face competition on this one from both ND and Michigan. The other backs on the wish list are primarily speed guys including Armando Allen and Noel Devine from Florida and Caleb King from Georgia.

Wide Receiver

This is not a great position of need for the Trojans in this class but we will still target a few of the top players in the country. Aurrelious Benn will be one of the first players visited by Todd McNair this week although Benn is another player who could be impacted by Clausen and the Irish. Duval Kamara is another New Jersey star and the Trojans have done pretty well in that state lately. The top in-state target is Markques Simas from the San Diego area.

Tight End

The top tight end on the wish list is Mike Ragone from New Jersey and the Trojans will fight a battle on this one with some of the top programs in the nation. Ragone is coming off an ACL injury but that hasn't stopped him from becoming the elite recruit at his position. Others who have caught the eye of the Trojan staff so far are Rhett Ellison and Chris Izbicki while some local recruits such as Blaine Irby, Devin Mahina and Da'John Harris will need to be evaluated more, hopefully at the USC summer camps in June. An interesting option here could be Malachi Lewis, the multi-talented star from Rio Mesa who could end up at a number of different positions.

Offensive Line

This is a great position of need for the Trojans and, thankfully, it also happens to be a very good year for offensive linemen (both in the West and nationally). Among the in-state guys, Martin Coleman will get an early visit from the USC coaches and the big Tongan is considered a top priority right now. We also like Matt Summers-Gavin, Justin Cheadle and Darrion Weems as well as Michael Reardon from Orange Lutheran who is known more as a defensive lineman. Out of state guys at the top of list include Ryan Miller, Javario Burkes, Kris O'Dowd, James Wilson, Josh Oglesby and Anthony Davis.

Defensive Line

At the top of the d-line wish list is big defensive tackle Marvin Austin and he will join WR Benn as the first players visited by McNair on his trip back east. Marvin is the kind of wide body interior player that every program is looking for and we will battle all the top schools for his services. Everson Griffen from Arizona is another player who is very high on the list, he is known more as an end but he could end up at tackle when he gets to college. Kenny Rowe has an offer as a defensive end/linebacker. Other out of state players who will get a long look include Myles Wade (OR), Tydreke Powell (NC) and Luthur Davis (LA) while Tonio Celotto is an in-state Trojan legacy.

Linebacker

This is another position, much like running back, where we will probably only take two guys and we already have a commit from one player at the position. Chris Galippo gave the Trojans a verbal back in early February and he is a prototype linebacker. We've also offered Malcolm Smith, brother of Steve, although he is one of those guys who could end up at multiple spots (perhaps fullback?). Robert Mullins is quick and put up big numbers last year, we will continue to evaluate him. One out of state name to keep an eye on is Allen Bailey from Georgia, he is a big guy who could eventually play on the d-line in college.

Defensive Back

This is a very good year for corners and the Trojans already have an offer out to Donovan Warren with Antwoine Baker being close to getting one as well. Both local players will receive early visits this week at their schools from Pete Carroll and Ken Norton. A couple other local players who will need to come to the USC camp in June for further evaluation are Michael Williams and David Ross. Among the out of state corners on the list are a pair of Michigan prospects, Dionte Allen and Cedric Everson (with the chances being better for Everson at this point) along with Eric Berry from Georgia and Marcus Gilchrist from North Carolina. At the safety spot, Marshall Jones received a USC offer last week and we also will evaluate Florida athlete Doug Wiggins.

Kicker/Punter

The Trojans will look to take a punter in this class and some early names to look at are David Green from Mission Viejo and Bryan Anger from Camarillo.


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