By Johnny Curren
With the Trojans holding a total of 16 commits at this time, and with momentum on their side following the team’s outstanding performance on the field, USC head coach Clay Helton and staff are set to welcome an extremely impressive list of official visitors to campus this Friday for the first of three consecutive huge recruiting weekends.
While this list is still fluid, here is a quick look at all 11 of the official visitors expected at this time.
S Bubba Bolden (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman)
6-foot-3, 200 pounds
A big, rangy safety with outstanding playmaking skills, the recruiting saga of Bolden has been a roller-coaster ride to say the least. Having de-committed from USC this past summer, he wound up announcing for the Trojans for a second time at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl despite a late surge by Arizona State. Expect the staff at USC to do their best to ensure that he doesn’t have any second thoughts about his decision.
DT Terrance Lang (Pasadena, Calif./Maranatha)
For how big Lang is, he is also tremendously athletic, evidenced by the fact that, in addition to the defensive line, he also starred at tight end and even fullback at Maranatha. He committed to USC in December over the likes of Oregon and Colorado, but having attended numerous Trojans games throughout the fall, including their road game against Alabama in Texas, his pledge came as anything but a surprise.
DE Jacob Lichtenstein (Weston, Fla./Cypress Bay)
Lichtenstein has been one of the Trojans’ quietest commits since making his pledge back in August, but this visit would appear to point to the fact that he’s solid. At 240 pounds, he could project to the predator outside linebacker position at USC at this point, but the possibility certainly exists that he’ll add some weight and wind up at one of the interior defensive line spots, just as current Trojan Liam Jimmons – a player he resembles physically coming out of high school – did upon his arrival on campus last year.
OL Brett Neilon (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic)
Neilon is as solid a pledge as they come. Since committing to USC in June, he’s become one of the most active recruiters in the class. A tough, hard-nosed blocker, he flourished in his first year lining up at center this past season – where he also figures to play at USC – learning the tricks of the trade at the position from his position coach at Santa Margarita, former Trojans offensive lineman Lenny Vandermade.
TE Josh Falo (Sacramento, Calif./Inderkum)
Falo, a fantastic talent with unique skills as big receiving tight end, is certainly someone the Trojans would take in a heartbeat. Colorado, where his brother currently plays, has long been thought to be the potential leader, but the fact that he’s following up with previous plans to visit this weekend would appear to signal that USC has a shot. Oregon is another strong contender in the race for his signature, and Alabama and Ohio State are also in the picture as well.
DT Neil Farrell (Mobile, Ala./Murphy)
With a definite need at defensive tackle, the Trojans are set to host not only a pair of commits in Lang and Lichtenstein who figure to line up there, but also three talented targets who can provide help at that position, with Farrell serving as the surprise of the group. While he expressed immediate interest in visiting USC after he received an offer from the Trojans back in May, there hasn’t been a lot of chatter regarding his recruitment ever since he gave a verbal pledge to LSU in July. Give credit to USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin, who is originally from Mobile, and Trojans defensive line coach Kenechi Udeze for keeping tabs on him. It’s hard to imagine Ed Orgeron losing a prized defensive tackle commit, but the fact that he’s coming in for a visit shows that he’s at least curious to see what USC has to offer.
CB Je’Quari Godfrey (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O’Dowd)
A long, athletic defensive back, Godfrey has the potential to help out at cornerback or safety on the next level. He’s been committed to Cal since last spring, but the offer from the Trojans this past November definitely piqued his interest, and with his teammate, Alijah Vera-Tucker, a solid USC pledge, there’s a general feeling that Helton and Co. have a real chance in this one.
DT Javon Kinlaw (Ellisville, Miss./Jones County J.C.)
Kinlaw recently announced a top 3 that included USC along with South Carolina and Alabama, and he will visit all three schools in successive weeks, starting with the Trojans this weekend. He has a very strong relationship with Udeze, but as a South Carolina native who originally committed to the in-state university in high school, the Gamecocks could be hard to beat. As an older, more physically mature prospect who can potentially come in and make an immediate impact, you can be sure that the staff will be working hard to sell him on what USC has to offer.
S Isaiah Pola-Mao (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe)
Pola-Mao is another high profile safety prospect who possesses a rare blend of size and athleticism. The Trojans have picked up steam in regard to his recruitment as of late due to the brand of football they put on display after a slow start, but Notre Dame, Washington, and in particular, Arizona State, are also being strongly considered. He’s already visited ASU and UW.
OL Jalen McKenzie (Concord, Calif./Clayton Valley Charter)
The Trojans already have one potential offensive tackle in the fold in Alijah Vera-Tucker, and they also appear to be in solid position to land Austin Jackson, but in a sign reflecting their need at the position, they just extended an offer to McKenzie last week. An intriguing prospect with excellent size, he successfully came back from knee surgery to have a very strong senior campaign this fall. Following his offer from the USC staff, he immediately scheduled his visit for this weekend, so it’s safe to say that he has legitimate interest in the Trojans. Baylor and Maryland are two more schools under consideration.
DT Aubrey Solomon (Leesburg, Ga./Lee County)
Solomon recently released a top 4 that included USC, Alabama, Georgia and Michigan, although he did declare the Crimson Tide as his leader while he was in San Antonio for the U.S. All-American Bowl. Still, as a California native who grew up watching the Trojans on television before moving to the South, there’s reason to believe that USC has a shot. Another prospect with outstanding size, not to mention a physical brand of play, he would certainly help shore up the Trojans defensive line.