The original plan was to take three running backs with one of those being a "speed" back and one being a power back/fullback-type but that number could grow to four depending on who is available. We got one initial commit in April from Broderick Green of Arkansas, a 230 pound bruiser who most recruiting experts believe is one of the top RB's in this class. In June, we added Marc Tyler from Oaks Christian and he is also considered an elite back with his hard running style. Will the commit from Tyler affect Green? Broderick is saying that his commit to USC is solid but that he wants to take trips, recent interviews with other sites indicate he could be more open than that. Needless to say, this is a situation the USC coaches will monitor closely throughout the year. The heavy favorite for the speed back role is Joe McKnight from Louisiana. Joe (photo) wowed onlookers at the USC skills camp in early June and he would be a terrific game breaker to add to the roster. Other guys in the mix for that spot include Shane Vereen from Valencia, Jahvid Best from Salesian and Caleb King from Georgia. Best and Vereen can both also play corner. The fullback/power back spot seems to be Jordan Campbell's for the taking right now after his impressive performances with the ball in his hands at the recent SC camps. Jordan has indicated a strong desire to play LB but his dream school is interested in him for offense, we'll see what decision he makes.
So far there don't seem to be any targets that are clearly leaning to the Trojans. We're in the mix on a bunch of top out of state prospects including Arrelious Benn, Ahmad Paige, Terrance Toliver, Deonte Thompson and Greg Little. All five of them are including USC among their top choices but there isn't a sense that any of them are ready to commit any time soon. There are a few in-state prospects who did well at the Trojan camps such as Markques Simas, Mike Calvin and Malachi Lewis. We could also see a pair of track stars get more attention with Bryshon Nellum and Jeshua Anderson. The coaches have also taken a long look at some JC stars including A.J. Jackson from College of the Sequoias and Terrance Scott from College of the Canyons. We're fortunate in that receiver isn't a major need for this class so we could see receiver recruiting stretch late into the fall before we know more about what will happen here.
The top target on the list is Lansford Watson from New York, a player in the mold of Fred Davis. Lansford seemed to be suitably impressed with his Trojan offer but we probably won't know how serious his interest is until after he makes a visit. There are other tight ends out there who will receive consideration including a pair with USC ties. Rhett Ellison is the son of Riki while Mikhail Marinovich is the son of Marv and brother of Todd. Both players performed well at the June camps. Another guy who could get an extended look is Steve Watson from Colorado.
Perhaps the most important area of emphasis for this class and the target list certainly became more clear after the recent camps. We've got two verbals already with Martin Coleman and Michael Reardon. Coleman showed tremendous progress at the recent Rising Seniors Camp and the coaches also liked what they saw when they tried Reardon at center during that camp. That means we will probably take three more in this class with the top names on the wish list being Kris O'Dowd, James Wilson, Kevin Bryant and Anthony Davis. Other names who will continue to receive consideration include Justin Cheadle, Ryan Miller and Trinton Sturdivant (current Georgia commit).
If the o-line is the top priority for this class, the d-line is the 2nd priority and there sure are plenty of top prospects to choose from. The #1 rated defensive tackle for the class is Marvin Austin from Washington D.C., he had a nice visit to the Sunshine State and liked what he saw from both FSU and Miami but hopefully this big-city guy will wait until he visits L.A. before making a decision. The #1 rated defensive end is Everson Griffen, he was a standout at the recent Rising Seniors Camp and he seems to fit with everything USC is about these days. Da'John Harris, a local product from Serra HS in Gardena, was really impressive at the USC line camp earlier in June when he just couldn't be blocked. Harris (photo) is considered a strong lean to the Trojans at this point. There is also Luther Davis from Louisiana, a talented guy who has shown a lot of interest in USC and who has even influenced his buddy, WR Ahmad Paige, to take a glance the Trojans way. Joseph Barksdale is a standout from Michigan but it's always hard to get talented players out of that state. We're back in the running for Martez Wilson from Illinois and we also like De'Angelo McCray from Florida. If we take a look at the JC route, Will Tukuafu from Mesa in Arizona is a strong possibility. Two guys on the bubble right now are Kenny Rowe from LB Poly and D.J. Holt from Crespi. Both have the athleticism to be top college players but the size factor could come into play in terms of their ability to play on the d-line for the Trojans.
The Trojans already have a commit for the top linebacker in the country, Chris Galippo from Servite, and it's hard to imagine that we would take more than two backers in this class, possibly three at the most. Malcolm Smith, brother of Steve, would seem to be the odds-on favorite to fill the final spot and he could also get a look at fullback. The Trojans showed a lot of interest in Allen Bailey from Georgia but he is worried about the distance factor. Apai Tuihalamaka from Serra in Gardena has the potential to grow into a monster SLB.
The Trojans received a verbal from Marshall Jones of Oaks Christian , generally thought to be the top safety on the West Coast. Other safeties who could enter into the mix include Todd Doxey from Hoover HS in San Diego and Doug Wiggins from Miami (also plays corner). The favorite to fill one of the corner spots is Donovan Warren from LB Poly, a three year starter for the Jackrabbits. Omar Bolden had never played corner but he looked sharp at the SC camp in that role. We will also continue recruiting Eric Berry from Georgia, the top ranked corner in the nation, and Woodney Turenne from College of the Sequoias.
The Trojans were hopeful to find a punter during the recent camps but none of the participants rose to the level of receiving an offer so the search continues.