Trojans Get Ready for Stretch Run of Recruiting

Recruits Jonathan Lockett, John Plattenburg Jr. & Rahshead Johnson on their official visit this weekend. - Rahshead Johnson

The start of the Steve Sarkisian-era at USC brings high expectations and hope for positive changes in a program that has fallen out of the national spotlight it held so tightly over the last decade. As National Signing Day approaches on February 5th, Sarkisian and the coaching staff will try to leverage the legacy of USC football and a promise of a return to better days to lure some of the top remaining recruits to Southern California.

Let’s take a look at where we are so far with less than a month to go until National Signing Day: 11 incoming freshman are currently committed, plus four early enrollees to the program and junior college transfer Claude Pelon (who was tweeting about being on campus last night), giving it 16 members for the incoming class of 2014.

According to Rivals, USC currently has the 21st ranked draft class in the country (down eight spots from 2013). Wide receiver Rahshead Johnson, a 4-star recruit, has already decommitted from Washington after Sarkisian’s departure and has verbally committed to USC as has Jonathan Lockett, a DB from Mater Dei.

With the recent announcement of USC defensive back target Tee Shepard that he will take the junior college route, the Trojans will have to look to John Plattenburg Jr., CB (Houston, TX) and Uchenna Nwosu S (Harbor City, CA) to provide some help in the secondary.

With the loss of 4-star recruit OL Jordan Poland (recently decommitted from USC and heading to Arizona), USC currently has just four offensive linemen in the class of 2014:

  • Toa Lobendahn OG (La Habra HS/Calif.) Early Enrollee
  • Jordan Austin OT (Claremont HS/Calif.) Early Enrollee
  • Viane Talamaivo OG (Centennial HS/Corona, Calif.)
  • Chris Brown OG (Loyola HS/Los Angeles, Calif.)

The Trojans remain focused on highly touted local product Damien Mama OL (St. John Bosco HS/Bellflower, Calif.).

The linebacking corps is also an area of serious need in the upcoming season due to the graduation of Morgan Breslin and Devon Kennard. The new coaching staff is attempting to address this with a commitment from 4-star ILB Olajuwon Tucker (Serra HS/Gardena, Calif.). The Trojans are also pursuing 4-star linebacker Fred Warner from Mission Kills High School in San Marcos, CA. Warner might be a "soft verbal" to BYU, but Sarkisian and his staff are doing what they can to lure him away.

USC needs reinforcements with Lamar Dawson coming off a torn ACL. So now it is up to Anthony Sarao, Hayes Pullard and Quinton Powell to pick up the slack. USC defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox has had previous success using players from other positions in the outside linebacker role at Washington, and it could be possibly be the idea with safety Su’a Cravens to help fill some of the void that has been left.

Early Enrollees:

  • Toa Lobendahn OG
  • Jordan Austin OT
  • Jalen Greene QB
  • Claudeson Pelon DT
  • Don Hill DE

Hard Commits:

  • Viane Talamaivo OG
  • Chris Brown OG
  • Bryce Dixon TE
  • Rahshead Johnson WR
  • Shay Fields, WR
  • Ajene Harris WR
  • Jonathan Lockett CB
  • John Plattenburg, Jr CB
  • Uchenna Nwosu S
  • Olajuwon Tucker ILB

Soft Commits:

  • Malik Dorton DE

Remaining Targets:

  • Adorre’ Jackson S
  • Damien Mama OG
  • John "Juju" Smith CB
  • Michiah Quick WR
  • Josh Frazier DT
  • Fred Warner LB
  • Arrion Springs S
  • Lamont Simmons DB
  • Charles Nelson WR
  • Courtney Garnett DT
  • Drew Lewis LB
  • Austin Maloata DE
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