Long Beach Poly High School has supplied USC with several outstanding football players over the years from Willie McGinest to Hershel Dennis. Thursday the Trojans got yet another big-time talent in Poly defensive tackle Jurrell Casey.
"I feel I made a real good choice. I get to stay close to home and get a great education," Casey said of his decision to attend USC. "If I need anything my family is right here. I'll be close to my family."
The three-star tackle is one of the best defensive linemen in the state of California and a big addition to the Trojans defensive line class that already included Wes Horton, Malik Jackson and Armond Armstead. The commitment of Casey gives the Trojans a very good defensive line class that could get even better this week with the potential addition of Detroit defensive end Nick Perry.
Josh Pinkard Update
USC defensive back Josh Pinkard has been participating in the Trojans morning workouts with Coach Carlisle and is pleased with the progress of his rehab. Pinkard said he will be limited at spring practice to be cautious but should be full speed for Fall Camp.
He hasn't talked with Coach Carroll about his role in 2008 but he hopes to be back at safety. He will graduate at the end of this semester and doesn't plan to petition for another medical redshirt, so he will be a fifth-year senior in 2008.
"This is something that I want to do and this is my main goal to play football and keep it going. I have had minor setbacks but people can always get through those. I want to get through this season and have a good year. I really want to get up for the Thorpe Award and try and win that and move on to the next level," Pinkard said when asked about his goals for the upcoming season.
With Pinkard, Ellison and Mays I don't think it's a stretch to say USC will have the best group of safeties in the nation.
Two More Commits for 2009 Class
The USC coaching staff held a Junior Day this weekend for some of the top recruits in the 2009 class. With the big meet and greet the Trojans secured commitments from two more of the top players in California, Patrick Hall and De'Von Flournoy.
Hall took an unofficial visit to the USC campus with his family and was so impressed that he immediately ended the recruiting process.
Hall is a versatile athlete that has played safety and running back for St. Bonaventure HS in Ventura, CA. Hall rushed for 701 yards and 9 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2006.
Last year Hall had 8 offensive touchdowns playing behind the top rated running back in the 2008 class by Scout.com, Darrell Scott.
Along with his skills as a running back, Hall is one of the top safety prospects in the state of California and could play either position on the college level.
Many of the top receivers in California took notice when Matt Barkley committed to USC. One receiver that has dreamed of catching passes from the Mater Dei gunslinger is De'Von Flournoy.
Flournoy was offered by USC this weeknd and jump at the opportunity to play with Barkley.
"I went on a Junior Day and they showed us around campus," Flournoy said. "We talked to all the coaches and watched a highlight film on USC. I talked to coach and got an offer."
Flournoy said he was stunned by the offer, but after thinking it over for a few minutes decided he wanted to commit, the only problem was he didn't know how to make his commitment.
"I thought about it for like five minutes and then the funny thing is I didn't know how to commit," Flournoy said while laughing. "Do I just say 'yes'? The coaches were practically laughing at me. I went to Sarkisian and asked how do I commit? He told me you just have to go to Coach Carroll and tell him ‘I'm a Trojan'. I didn't know it was that simple."
Flournoy helped lead Birmingham to the City Championship in 2007 and is widely regarded as one of the top junior wide receivers in the state of California.
Larry Smith Passes Away
Former USC head football coach Larry Smith passed away Monday, Jan.28 in Tucson, Ariz. after battling leukemia and lymphoma. He was 68.
Smith was 44-25-3 in 6 seasons as the head coach at USC and led the Trojans to the Rose Bowl in his first three seasons. In his 24-year coaching career he compiled a 143-126-7 overall record while coaching at Tulane, Arizona, USC and Missouri.
Mike Garrett on the passing of Larry Smith:
"On behalf of the entire Trojan Family, I'm saddened to hear of the passing of Larry Smith," said USC athletic director Mike Garrett, who was an associate athletic director during Smith's final 2 seasons at Troy. "He was a good man and a good football coach. When he came to USC, he brought a tough-minded approach and solid fundamentals and he produced some very successful teams here. Getting his first three teams into the Rose Bowl is unprecedented in our history. We'll remember Larry dearly and will long appreciate his contributions to Trojan football. Our sincere thoughts go out to Cheryl and the family."
Basketball Splits with Arizona Schools
The Trojans returned home to the Galen Center last week with a four game winning streak and after losing to Arizona on Thursday, the Trojans rebounded with a win over Aizona State on Saturday to end the week with a split.
The Trojans lost to Arizona on Thursday 80-69 at the Galen Center in front of a record crowd of 10,258. Daniel Hackett went down early in the Trojans loss with a deep pelvis bruise and USC wasn't able to overcome his absence.
On Saturday, the Trojans bounced back with their fifth win in six games. OJ Mayo scored 20 points and Taj Gibson added 19 as the Trojans pulled away in the second half to beat the Sun Devils, 67-53.
With the win the Trojans are now 14-7, and 5-4 in Pac-10 play.
Smith Shines in Super Bowl
Former USC wide receiver Steve Smith was known for making clutch catches in his days as a Trojan and Sunday's Super Bowl was no different.
Smith has been sidelined with injury for much of his rookie year but he has continually come up big for the New York Giants in crucial situations in the playoffs.
In yesterday's stunning Super Bowl victory over the heavily favored Patriots, Smith had 5 receptions for 50 yards including 4 third-down catches that he converted into first-downs.