Drew and Smith are top priorities

Two of the top offensive performers on the USC coaches wish list will make official visits this weekend as WR Steve Smith and RB Maurice Drew trip to campus.

Smith is considered a must get at receiver, a position of need for this class that has seen no verbals so far despite the fact that the Trojans are putting together one of the top classes in the nation at virtually every other position.  Certainly the running back position is already well stocked with Chauncey Washington, Reggie Bush and Lendale White but don't think for one second that lessens the importance of Drew. 

Maurice Drew is an extremely talented football player who will make a valuable addition to any college program and the Trojan coaches would love to bring him in.  The highlights of his prep career are well documented from being on a team with a 138 game consecutive win streak to scoring four touchdowns as a junior in the epic battle of #1 and #2 in the country against the talented Long Beach Poly Jackrabbits.

He is short of stature but big in terms of strength, character and heart.  He stands 5-8 but weighs 195 pounds thanks in large part to absolutely huge thighs and a thick upper body.  He is known as a workout warrior who set the standard for a highly disciplined Spartan program that is known for hard work.  He has a physical style of play that surprises people when the first see him because you don't normally expect a back his size to be so punishing and yet he also possesses a tremendous amount of escapability.  The CA team coaches for the CaliFlorida bowl were amazed at how quickly he hit the hole on running plays and, while it's not really fair to make such comparisons with a high school player, it's hard to watch Drew and not want to compare him with anybody but Barry Sanders. 

Former Trojan offensive lineman and current college football radio host Mike Lamb served as the color commentator for both of the Poly vs DeLaSalle contests over the past two seasons and he had the following thoughts on the Spartan star:

"Maurice Drew: Fast and quick (we all know that there is a difference) with unbelievable lower body strength, Tremendous work ethic, has forgotten what it means to lose, let alone finding a way. Sincerely humble, polite, and articulate. He understands the running game extremely well for a H.S. player and knows how to use blockers (that's invaluable with his size) and identifies cut back lanes correctly. Kills people with his blocks. Unlike many H.S. backs, Maurice likes contact and he likes to smoke defenders which is usually the biggest drawback to young backs. The fact that even if they find the right guy to block, they are too tentative. Did I mention his unbelievable work ethic? He will make the whole team better, even if he's not on the field. He is a FOOTBALL PLAYER!"

As for Steve Smith the simple fact that he has caught more passes than any other high school receiver in the state of California is a stat that speaks for itself.  He has been a man-child since he was a sophomore, a player who his HS coach said would have been the best player on the team as a 14-year old freshman.  Paul Hackett offered him a full scholarship during that 10th grade year.  Smith has starred not only on offense but he also set a school record with 12 interceptions during his junior season and many college coaches think that corner would be a better position for him in the long run.  Steve particpates in basketball while averaging over 20 pts per game and he took part on the Taft state level track relay team as well.

Smith has a fluid motion on the field and when you see him in person he's not a physically overwhelming presence.  He's not overly big at 6-0, maybe 6-1, and he tops the scales at around 185 pounds.  If you're looking for a powerful receiver then Whitney Lewis is probably more your style but if you like a receiver with body control, tremendous athleticism and the natural instinct for playing sports then Smith is a guy to watch.

Former USC receiver John Jackson now serves as the color commentator for the weekly HS broadcasts on Fox Sports Net 2 and has had the opportunity to see Smith in action with the following thoughts:

"Steve Smith is a very developed high school receiver and the fact that he is further along than most players should equate to him playing early in college.  There are very few guys who have his combination of skills in terms of leaping ability, hands and speed and as he grows and matures in college you will see those traits start to take off.  He's the most naturally gifted wide receiver I saw this year and the most polished high school guy from this area since Keary Colbert and Keenan Howry.  You call tell by the way Smith carries himself that he knows the position and can think the position as well.  He runs good routes, he uses his hands, he does all the little things that don't always show up and he makes them look routine. The job of the coaches for whichever school he picks will only need to refine his skills, they won't really need to teach him because he has the added advantage of coming from a wide open passing offense.  Keary Colbert had the skills but he played in a running offense in high school and wasn't used to reading coverages as much or having defenses designed to stop him in a passing attack.  Smith has already shown that he can succeed in that system and it should continue in college."

Drew and Smith are considered two of the top players in the state for a good reason and the staff will look to do a good recruiting job this weekend in an attempt to bring them on board with this Trojan recruiting class.


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