The Not So Obvious – Neither NFL coaching rumors, changes in recruiting and offensive coordinator nor Bushgate could halt the parade of magnificent athletes that figure to blend in handsomely with the treasure trove that already exists in Pete Carroll's Fort Knox roster. Although the Trojans didn't secure everybody they went after, there is no arguing that these future Men of Troy can compare man for man with those headed for the outposts of Gainesville, Baton Rouge, Austin, and Knoxville. Having seen most of these studs in person, television, and film, the O/NSO says that Pete Carroll and staff can more than say, "Mission Accomplished."
The Obvious – There was mild debate following Wednesday's signing period over who was the No. 1 recruiting class.
The Not So Obvious – The Trojans captured the ESPN.com recruiting title ahead of Florida and Texas but were ranked No. 2 by Rivals behind Florida and No. 3 by Scout behind Florida and LSU. CSTV had the Trojans fourth behind Florida, Tennessee, and Texas. It's all in good fun, isn't it? For our taste, the real Trojan fun is when these heralded incoming freshmen compete in their first day in pads and "survive" their first scrimmage in August. Who will ever forget Reggie Bush's first day in pads and first scrimmage when the "Wow" factor was off the charts.
The Obvious – The Trojans again tapped the fertile recruiting fields of California, as 12 of this year's crop hail from the Golden State.
The Not So Obvious – In a change of strategy from previous seasons, Pete Carroll went headstrong for verbals early and often, and it produced early monster results from such prep phenoms like Servite solid gold linebacker Chris Galippo and Orange Lutheran quarterback Aaron Corp, the California State Player of the Year.
The Obvious – The local recruiting headlines featured USC remains a top draw (Times), Trojans reload in style (OC Register), Trojans pulling rank with top-heavy class (Press Enterprise), and Great class might get better for USC (Daily News).
The Not So Obvious – The national recruiting headlines featured Troy-mendous Day (ESPN.com), Sign here please: Day ends with Trojans, Gators on top (CBS Sportsline), and Hot prospect McKnight going to USC (Associated Press).
The Obvious – Recruiting always has its fair share of stories that are insightful, interesting, and revealing, especially when it concerns Trojan head coach Pete Carroll.
The Not So Obvious – According to the Detroit Free Press concerning the Trojans' recruitment of Michigan WR/CB Ronald Johnson, "Carroll spent time with Johnson's family and sat in on a Muskegon radio station WUVS-FM (103.7), where he was interviewed by Johnson family friend and station general manager Paul Billings for two hours. ‘Pete Carroll was so down to earth,' said Billings, who added Carroll did not talk about recruiting on the radio. ‘He went to the hood and got chicken. He went to a volleyball game to watch Ronald's sister. He was so down to earth.'"
The Obvious – By most accounts, this year's Trojan recruiting class is ranked somewhere in everybody's top three or four.
The Not So Obvious – Okay, so it not have been a consensus recruiting national championship, but does Pete Carroll and staff need apologize for being in the top four? One of the constant themes from the WeAreSC recruiting experts is the outstanding character that is coming to Troy. WeAreSC's Scott Schrader and Brian Mathews, our dynamic duo of recruiting insight, have raved about the solid citizens and leadership of the class of 2007. Championships are normally born with solid character, and it appears this group will be great representatives of the university.
The Obvious – The Trojans brought in six players from outside of California.
The Not So Obvious – Certainly the Trojans would have had more out-of- state riches had Florida offensive lineman James Wilson not done a recent Tim Tebow U-turn and headed for Gatorland and Louisiana wide receiver Ahmad Paige not made a last minute change of heart for Tennessee. Don't expect the Trojans to pull back their national recruiting efforts based on a couple of out-of-state disappointments and let's throw in Florida wide receiver Deonte Thompson (Florida) as well. Should the Trojans again appear in their "annual" BCS bowl appearance, and most Trojan fans are expecting a national title appearance in New Orleans, you can bet the Trojan plane will be heading again to all points east of Southern California. Then again, this year's national recruiting efforts might not be complete if former Arkansas quarterback and prep legend Mitch Mustain actually likes his upcoming visit to Troy and enrolls. If that happens, better rearrange some of those recruiting rankings.
The Obvious – The O/NSO has taken out all the available information regarding this year's crop of incoming Trojan talent, and it's hard not to compare this year's group with past products.
The Not So Obvious – On second thought, we ain't going to compare anything, but what we will do is give you the O/NSO perspective on Trojan Recruiting 2007. Okay Maestro, cue up the Fight On and Conquest CD and let's roll the new headliners.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Norco FB/LB Jordan Campbell (5-11, 225, 4.65), named to the BIW (Best in the West) honorable mention, Tacoma News-Tribune Western 100, and was the All-CIF Inland Division Defensive MVP.
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 37 at Norco, currently an open Trojan number. Not only are the Trojans getting a player who dreamed about wearing the Cardinal and Gold since he was a youth, but also in recent weeks he gained the unofficial title of Trojan recruiter extraordinaire. If you have kept a close on the goings on at Heritage Hall during these frantic finals weeks, you are probably aware of Campbell's efforts to bring in uncommitted talent to the Men of Troy. That should tell you all you need to know about this kid's desire to win. We can remember his own personal struggles in his conversations with the O/NSO when the Trojans wanted him strictly as a fullback, but linebacker was in his blood. Not wanting to "upset" the spirit of his late, beloved grandfather, Jordan was able to come to terms with a fullback future but was further comforted when the Trojan coaching staff said they would consider a future linebacker opportunity. If you like the enthusiasm of current linebacker Thomas Williams, folks, you're gonna love this incoming freshman. With the Trojans in need of fullbacks, that is where Pete Carroll will first place this multi-talented performer. Forget about position, Jordan is best defined as "a football player." Also tripped to Louisville and Oregon.
The Obvious –The Trojans sign Milpitas WR Brandon Carswell (6-1, 175, 4.5), ranked in the BIW (#19), San Jose Mercury News All-Area MVP, and Tacoma News-Tribune Western 100.
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 1 at Milpitas, currently worn by Trojan WR Patrick Turner. Brandon Carswell broke open a close CIF championship game by scoring on 62- and 80-yard running plays to lead Milpitas to a 39-21 victory over Piedmont Hills. The kid rushed for 212 yards and passed for 124 in the Large School Division title win. It was the "Trojans"' first CCS title. USC Trojan lore has a great history of taking prep quarterbacks and turning them into legends at other positions. Heisman winning tailback Marcus Allen and All-America wide receiver Lynn Swann both came in as signal-callers. Those that had the good fortune of seeing Swann coming out of the Bay Area were stunned to see how much Carswell brought back Swann prep memories at the same stage. It's what Brandon does after the catch that is so impressive.. All things considered, he might be the most under publicized recruit on the West Coast. The O/NSO saw him at a Trojan camp and it was hard not to come away impressed, especially considering he did not play receiver on his Milpitas team. Also tripped to Cal.
The Obvious – The Trojan sign Huntington Beach Edison OL Martin Coleman (6-6 295, 5.0), ranked in the Top 100 by Scout (#49), CSTV (#63), ESPN (#68), Rivals (# 75), and BIW (#17).
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 77 at Edison, currently worn by Trojan OL Thomas Herring. The Edison Chargers have provided the Trojans a number of excellent football players over the decades, players like tight ends Mark Boyer and Vic Rakshani. It's been awhile since the Chargers of Dave White have sent a player to the Cardinal and Gold. This is the first time that an offensive lineman from the Huntington Beach perennial powerhouse has made it through Goux Gate. Yep, Coleman is already enrolled and is getting ready for spring ball, but you probably already know that. Some say he has an unlimited upside and once coach Carlisle redefines his 300-pound body, it's full steam ahead. We have seen this kid at a couple of Trojan camps and the one thing that is quite apparent – he is very raw, very competitive, and has a willingness to learn. Even when he got beat by more experienced players in one-on-one drills, he bounced back and returned the favor. Much of the hype on this kid comes from the word "potential," which means unproven talent. No, he probably won't be ready to play in the fall, but his time will come. Also tripped to Arizona State.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Orange Lutheran QB Aaron Corp (6-4, 185, 4.65), a Parade AA (#6 QB) and ranked in the Top 100 by Scout (#18), ESPN (#33), Rivals (#44), and BIW (#9).
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 5 at Orange Lutheran, currently a "retired" Reggie Bush number or is it? The California Player of the Year is a completely different quarterback that comes to Troy. There isn't a Monday morning quarterback that hasn't brought up the idea of playing some shotgun "Texas" option with this Orange County prep star. Think about all the Trojan quarterbacks that were twin threats to run and pass. The name Rodney Peete probably comes to mind and for the older folk, how about Pete Beathard and even a little bit of Mike Rae, quarterback of the legendary 1972 team. The O/NSO has been told that Trojan offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian sees some potential option with this kid and that should be exciting news, considering this two-way threat figures to deliver the goods if placed in that opportunity. Aaron is a different type of quarterback that we have seen on Brian Kennedy-Howard Jones Field and a new offensive dimension figures to be unveiled in the future. Tripped only to USC.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Mountain View St. Francis TE Rhett Ellison (6-5, 235), who was Scout.com's No. 3 California tight end, a Super Prep All-Farwest selection, BIW (Best of the Rest), and San Jose Mercury News All-Area first team.
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 40 at St Francis, recently worn by Trojan fullback Brandon Hancock, who has elected not to return for a sixth season. While not a household recruiting name, the O/NSO got to watch Rhett during the Trojans' Skills Camp and the best way to describe him would be "rugged." Rhett prides himself on yards after a catch and it showed in the Trojan camps, camps he has been attending since 8th grade. That term should not be surprising since his father, known at USC as super linebacker Riki Gray (1978-82), one tough son of a gun. It's hard to believe that Riki's son will be entering in the fall. It seems like just yesterday that Riki (6-2, 220) was a heralded Parade All-America inside linebacker out of Tucson Amphitheater High. If Rhett has his dad's aggressive genes, he could be a diamond in the rough. Poor Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech, just when he thought he had snuck one under the clutches of Pete Carroll, Traveler rides into NorCal and takes Rhett away from the Hokies. Rhett called USC his "dream school" before his senior season and who is going to argue that dreams don't come true in the Ellison family? "He's just a great kid with a big heart and nonstop motor," said St. Francis assistant coach Tim Houlihan, in an earlier interview for NFLHS.com. Did not make an official trip to USC.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Anaheim Servite LB Chris Galippo (6-2, 235, 4.6), a Parade AA (#1 LB) and ranked in the Top 100 by ESPN (#2), CSTV (#6), Scout (#9), Rivals (#11), and BIW (#3).
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 9 at Servite, currently worn by Trojan DB Mozique McCurtis. All things considered, the O/NSO stays on record as saying this is as good a prep football player as there was in the nation. A player who has received almost every award and honor available for a non-skill level position, Galippo has been compared to Ohio State's A.J. Hawk. For those that have followed his remarkable Servite career, none of his accomplishments are surprising. The country got to see a human highlight film in the U.S. Army All-America game when Chris was named the MVP. What this kid brings to the table, besides future Sunday paycheck talent, is the leadership and charisma that makes him the perfect middle linebacker if Carroll doesn't move him to an outside backer. Perhaps not as fast as Chris Claiborne, the Trojans lone Butkus Award winner, he more than makes up for it in guile, guts, and pure aggression. Chris figures to see some action next season and it would be shocking if he doesn't become the starting middle linebacker in 2008. Tripped only to USC.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Little Rock Pulaski Academy, Ark., RB Broderick Green (6-1, 230, 4.6), a Parade AA (#5 RB) and ranked nationally in the Top 100 by CSTV (#71) and Scout (#91).
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 29 at Pulaski, currently worn on offense by Trojan RB John Griffin. Some want to compare this big stud to LenDale White, but having seen him play on film and talked with him in person both in Los Angeles and Fayetteville, he has a more defined body than LenDale and is physically imposing. In some ways he runs like a bull in a China shop. There is a little Ricky Bell in him and he does the same type of "hurdling" as Ricky did as a Trojan tailback. Some are saying that maybe he gets lost in the shuffle. No, the O/NSO doesn't see it that way. He has a unique style that brings the wood to the defense and he can catch. His recruiting became pins and needles near the end as Penn State and Ohio State gave him a rush, but he stayed the course as he said he would back last summer when he was standing in the Coliseum during a Trojan camp. It's entirely possible that Broderick is a "Thunder 2" in the making. Also tripped to Penn State and Ohio State.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Avondale Aqua Fria, Az., DE Everson Griffen (6-4, 265, 4.55), a Parade AA (#8 LMN) and ranked in the Top 100 by Scout (#1), Rivals (#6), CSTV (#16), ESPN (#31), and the BIW (#1).
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 32 at Aqua Fria, currently a retired Trojan number in recognition of Heisman winner O.J. Simpson. Ya know, the O/NSO goes back so many years in Trojan football that we remember the first time we saw future All-America defensive tackle Gary Jeter, who had just arrived from Cleveland, Ohio. Jeter was the most chiseled prep player we have seen arrive on campus until we set our eyes on Everson last summer at the Scout camp at Citrus College in Azuza. What we saw in raw, physical talent and the 40 time Everson dispensed was jaw-dropping. In fact, most observers couldn't believe the 40 time and wanted to see a rerun. In the Trojan camp before summer, Everson was near awesome. He'll fit in perfectly with the Coliseum third down "gong," the cue for Trojan fans to rise to the occasion and make some harassing quarterback noise. Griffen's week at the U.S Army All-America game confirmed that the "freak's" football skills were as good as it gets in this class. Also tripped to Florida, Michigan, and Oregon.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Gardena Serra DL Da'John Harris (6-4, 260, 4.85), ranked in the Top 100 by Scout (#44), Rivals (#48), ESPN (#107), and the BIW (#13).
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 3 at Serra, currently an available Trojan number on defense. If there is one thing the O/NSO learned in casual conversation with Da'John, it was no lack of confidence. Now before you bring out the "ego" card, Mr. Harris has backed it up in both the regular season and all-star game participation. In the Trojan camps in which we saw Da'John perform, plain and simple, nobody was able to block him because of an extremely gifted first step. The kid relished the competition and had almost a Muhammad Ali type of persona. He probably should have been given greater post-season recognition, but he was still the third best defensive tackle in the Best in the West voting of talent scouts. Practice come summer should be very spirited and you can bet that Harris will be more than giddy to take on the challenges of the likes of veterans Drew Radovich and Sam Baker. Also tripped to Michigan and Nebraska.
The Obvious – The sign Vancouver College Prep (BC) DL Trey Henderson (6-3, 265, 4.9), an All-AAA Western Conference first-team selection.
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 34 at VCP, currently an available Trojan defensive number. Didn't find Trey on your Best in the West article? Well, it isn't often the Trojans pluck one out of Canada. For the second year in a row, the Trojans have taken a Washington State verbal and turned it into cardinal and gold. All is fair in the world of recruiting and it's not like the Trojans didn't feel their own sting of changed commitments. The name Kenechi Udeze comes to mind when discussing Trey, since both were a year younger than their graduating class. The O/NSO has been advised that Trey just turned 17-years-old, and when talking about that proverbial upside, this is one youngster to whom that term applies. Some looked at Trey as a tight end, but it's a DL position in coming to Troy. An award winning youth hammer thrower (65.93 meters) in track, defensive line coach Nick Holt hopes the future for Henderson is one that the kid brings the hammer to opposing quarterbacks. Trey says in earlier reports that he learned all about competition when attending the Trojans Rising Seniors Camp and got a chance to participate with Everson Griffen, whom he says left a big impression on how to play the defensive line. Scout Northwest guru Chris Fetters says, "This kid is monstrously athletic. I think he can get to 300 pounds easily." Also tripped to Washington State.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Muskegon, Mi, DB/WR Ronald Johnson (6-0, 185, 4.4), a Parade AA (#3 AP) and ranked in the Top 100 by Rivals (#8), Scout (#13), and ESPN (#47).
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 23 at Muskegon, currently being worn by Trojan CB Vincent Joseph. According to the Detroit Free Press, Ronald passed on the old "hat" selection and went to "the five T-shirts of the finalist schools -- USC, Michigan, Florida, Ohio State and Michigan State -- which were laid out, and the runners-up were removed by his brother and best friend until only USC remained." Johnson, called the most recruited player in Muskegon history, told the Muskegon Chronicle, "It wasn't just one thing, USC had the whole package. It was just the tradition and the weather and it seemed like a good fit." The weather, the weather, the weather. Chalk one up for Fritz Coleman, Dallas Raines, and Johnny Mountain. The Trojans snatching the No. 1 or No. 2 best player in Michigan brings an exceptionally cold chill to the Motor State. This isn't, however, the first time a Michhhhhhhhhhh-igan star has come west. Standout linebacker Dennis Johnson (Flint Northwestern) from the late 70s and center Bill Redding (Grosse Lle) from the late 60s made their mark in the cardinal and gold. Also tripped to Florida, Michigan, and Ohio State.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Westlake Oaks Christian DB Marshall Jones (6-1, 190, 4.5), ranked in the Top 100 by ESPN (#18), Scout (#37), Rivals (#92), and the BIW (#10).
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 27 at Oaks Christian, currently an open Trojan number on defense. There are a number of "experts" who say this kid would make a wonderful running back in most programs. The Trojans of Pete Carroll aren't most programs and it's considered an honor to play on a Carroll defense. Jones has it all and figures to find his opportunities. Playing on a prep team like Oaks Christian, it isn't hard to be "overlooked" when much of the attention was directed at quarterback Jimmy Clausen and future Trojan running back Marc Tyler. That attention was not overlooked by surveys like the prestigious Best in the West, which had Marshall one of the top ten players in the West. The O/NSO was told that Jones gained a lot of confidence during his workouts in the U.S. Army All-America game and that should bode well when the leather starts to fly in the summer. A soft spoken player who hits like a linebacker, some say he could be the "next" Kevin Ellison and that's not a bad player in which to be compared, so help me DeSean Jackson. Tripped only to USC.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign John Curtis, La, RB Joe McKnight (5-11, 195, 4.4), Parade Co-National Player of the Year (#1 All-Purpose) and ranked in the Top 100 by ESPN (#1), Scout (#2), Rivals (#2), and CSTV (#4).
The Not So Obvious - Wore No. 4 at John Curtis, a Trojan offensive number currently available. Ah, there are those, including the O/NSO, who believe Joltin Joe's explosiveness is about one number beneath Heisman winner Reggie Bush. Since Bush wore No. 5 and McKnight figures to wear No. 4, how appropriate. The Louisiana flash openly admits that Reggie is his idol and also confesses he is not yet Mr. Bush. The O/NSO will say that he is close to Reggie but not quite the top end speed. At the college level, my friends, he is a Babe Ruth threat to hit a homer every time he touches the ball and some of his moves would make Reggie Bush nod in appreciation. We had the pleasure to watch him in a Trojan camp and performing in a T-shirt and shorts don't do his extraordinary ability justice. However, you don't have to be Mel Kiper to realize that this kid is a potential Heisman candidate down the road. On signing day, McKnight revealed, "I sat down with my mom and said the pros and cons of it and we both decided it would be the best decision to go to USC." Considering he is interested in broadcasting, where would you think the big time connections would be, Los Angeles or Baton Rouge? So did Joe. Also tripped to LSU and Mississippi.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Tucson Salpointe Catholic, AZ, OL Kristofer O'Dowd (6-4, 315, 5.0)), a Parade AA (# 15 LMN) and ranked in the Top 100 by Scout (#24), Rivals (#29), CSTV (#42), ESPN (#122), and the BIW (#6).
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 76 at Salpointe, currently worn by Trojan OL Nick Howell. Of all the players in this class that the O/NSO has had the pleasure of meeting, Kris is the most articulate, poised. and mature beyond his years. we have met. No wonder he hit it off so well with All-America Ryan Kalil. When you talk with Big Kris, you feel you are already talking with a college senior. Originally ticketed to replace Kalil, we would not be surprised, with the loss of James Wilson to Florida, that O'Dowd is given a shot at guard. When you watch the intensity of this kid in drills and in games, you know that the Trojans have gotten another future Sunday player if all goes as planned. When we saw this kid at Citrus College last spring going up against the touted players like Poly's speedy Kenny Rowe and hold his own against some extreme quickness and heat, you knew O'Dowd was the real deal. The kid just competes, competes, competes. It was obvious in the U.S. Army Game, despite playing the foreign position of center, he still managed to get the job done. Also tripped to Arizona, Tennessee, and UCLA.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Orange Lutheran DL-OL Michael Reardon (6-6, 255, 4.8), ranked in the Top 100 by Scout (#98), BIW (#11) and All-CIF Pac-5 Division Defensive MVP.
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 77 at Orange Lutheran, currently worn by Trojan OL Thomas Herring. If there is a player that should have gotten more pub, it was the humble Michael Reardon. The O/NSO won't forget the day we were with the WeAreSC staff when Big Mike was taken aside by Pete Carroll and given a Trojan scholarship offer. The kid was like he was floating and why not? He had more than shown he was a dominant player against some of the best offensive linemen around, and he even surprised the Trojan coaching staff with his defensive prowess, even though they had marked him as an offensive lineman. Again due to numbers, Reardon is expected to compete for a left tackle position, which should fit him nicely, especially for an athlete who excelled as a power forward on the Orange Lutheran basketball team. Hall of Fame basketball writer Frank Burlison told the O/NSO, "He is a stud basketball players at the high school level. This is not a player that is working on his conditioning during the off season by playing basketball." Tripped only to USC.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Woodland Hills Taft LB Malcolm Smith (6-2, 215, 4.5), ranked in the Top 100 by CSTV (#58) and in the BIW (#14).
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 6 for Taft, currently an open Trojan defensive number. One of the great mysteries of the recruiting season was where was Malcolm Smith thinking of playing his college ball? His high school coach at Taft says that if he hadn't been afflicted with an injury bug during his career, he would have easily been the best player in the Los Angeles City. A marvelous athlete and the brother of Trojan All-America receiver Steve Smith, Malcolm is a different type of athlete, but just as skilled. He figures to be a weakside backer, and there are those that say he has All-Pac-10 written all over him if he can stay healthy. We also liked him as a potential fullback and loved what we saw of Malcolm on film as a ball carrier. While we don't expect him to begin his career on offense, there is no doubt here that he would make a superior fullback. Also tripped to Cal and Notre Dame.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Sacramento Grant Union DL Christian Topou (6-2, 270, 4.9), selected to the Tacoma News-Tribune Western 100, Cal-Hi Sports All-State first team, and the Sacramento Bees' Defensive Player of the Year
The Not So Obvious - Wore No. 55 at Grant Union, currently worn by Trojan LB Keith Rivers. Although Christian didn't receive votes in the Best in the West balloting, don't let that sway your opinion of a player that one former respected Scout.com recruiting guru calls a "monster with a tremendous upside." The Sacramento area has been good the Trojans over the years and names like RB Lou Harris, S Artimus Parker, TE Scott Galbraith, and even former Trojan All-American Mike Patterson was a Sacramento transplant. Did we mention Dallas Sartz, considered a Sac area product? Big Chris plays with the Troy Polamalu look, long, flowing Tongan hair flowing out of his helmet. Tupou's older brother, Fenuki Tupou, is an offensive lineman at Oregon and there are some that feel the offensive line could be his best position, ala Fred Matua. Also tripped to BYU, Cal, and Nebraska.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Arkansas transfer Damian Williams (6-1, 190, 4.46), selected to the SEC Coaches Freshman All-SEC team.
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 1 at Arkansas, currently being worn by Trojan wide receiver Patrick Turner. Already enrolled for a redshirt year, Williams showed his considerable skills last season against the Trojans in Fayetteville. One of the biggest questions remaining concerning Williams is whether his Springdale High and Arkansas quarterback teammate Mitch Mustain, a former Parade Player of the Year, will arrive at Troy in the fall. If you are impressed with the honors of this year's incoming prep class, let it be known that following his senior Springdale season, Damian was named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette All-State Co-offensive MVP and was a member of the ESPN 150. Considered the No. 2 prep prospect in Arkansas out of Springdale behind Mustain, he was recruited by Florida, Texas, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Tennessee and was Scout.com's No. 8 receiver in the country.
The Obvious – The Trojans sign Westlake Village Oaks Christian RB Marc Tyler (6-0, 215, 4.5), a Parade AA (# 1 RB) and ranked in the Top 100 by ESPN (#3), CSTV (#5), Scout (#6), Rivals (#17), and the BIW (#4)
The Not So Obvious – Wore No. 26 at Oaks Christian, currently worn by Trojan RB Emmanuel Moody. Let the comparisons begin. Is Marc going to be a better runner than his NFL daddy, Wendell, who was the star of stars in the 1976 Rose Bowl, when he rushed for 172, including an electrifying 54-yard touchdown in leading UCLA over Woody Hayes' top-ranked Buckeyes? When we saw Marc run as a junior, we were not convinced he was the equal of daddy, but with weight loss, all doubt was removed his senior year when he had Wendell's burst and added quickness to make us a believer. If Joe McKnight is the most explosive player in the country, Tyler is the best all-around back, a threat running and receiving. Our only regret for Marc's senior year was his devastating leg injury that prevented him from playing in the State Championship. If there is a doubt, it's that he, like Jimmy Clausen, didn't play against top-notch competition during their careers and Marc was unable to perform in the U.S. Army All-America Game. It is that missing competition ingredient that makes Tyler's career so intriguing. On the contrary, we are fully expecting to see Tyler rise to the top as a two-way threat as a runner and receiver. Oh, and did we mention that daddy also wore No. 26 at UCLA? Tripped only to USC.
The Obvious – And finally, in his address to the media on Wednesday's signing day, Pete Carroll said, "I expect that this class will contribute in a big way to the success of our team in 2007."
The Not So Obvious – It's a long time till that opening game in the Coliseum against Idaho on Sept. 1, but you can bet that Trojan fans are already dreaming at the site of running back Joe McKnight getting his hands on the pigskin, linebacker Chris Galippo setting his sights on a Vandal runner, and defensive end Everson Griffen coming off the edge and taking aim at a quarterback. In the case of these three headliners, dreaming figures to be a reality and with the other future "stars" lining up as well, fall practice can't come soon enough. Now for 2008. Oh, WeAreSC has already started streaming nuggets like Notre Dame quarterback Dayne Crist and Mater Dei offensive lineman Khaled Holmes? Never mind.