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Coach’s notes from Alemany, where USC targets abound

Alemany High School is home to a number of USC recruiting targets in the 2021, 2022 and 2023 classes, as the Trojans have targeted player on both sides of the ball, both in the trenches and at the skill positions. Warriors head coach Casey Clausen led the team to a 9-3 record last season and has a roster with some of the most electric returning talent in the region. He breaks down the USC recruiting targets both on and off the field, and some of the reasons Trojans are chasing them.

2021 prospects

Quarterback Miller Moss

Six-foot-2, 200-pound, four-star quarterback Miller Moss is a top-50 prospect in the nation and the No. 6 prospect in California. USC will look to take two quarterbacks in this class and could do so with two elite in-state prospects, as the Trojans hope to add Moss to the commitment from Jake Garcia.

Clausen notes: “He’s big time. He came to us (from Loyola) when we first got here and he’s probably one of most gifted throwers we’ve ever had. He’s really smart and a competitive kid. We’ve been able to see him mature and grow and now he’s a top-5 quarterback in the country.”

As for recruiting, Clausen said USC is “right in the mix” for Moss, despite the verbal from Garcia. He added that Moss is a unique prospect, given his 4.2 GPA. He believes the five schools standing out right now are Alabama, LSU, Cal, UCLA and USC. Moss would like to commit sooner rather than later, but the inability to visit schools at this point could ultimately push that timeline back.

Athlete Jaylin Smith

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete picked up a USC offer last October but is still a top target for the Trojans’ new staff. He’s a terrific athlete and a likely safety at the next level.

Clausen notes: “He’s probably one of the kids that is the face of our program. When we first got there, he had no chance of going to college. His grades weren’t very good and he was figuring out if he wanted to buy in–to wake up early, go to study hall, go to the weight room. Now, he’s probably one of the best examples in our program. He’s changed his life. Academically, he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do and now he’s going to go to college on a full ride scholarship. I couldn’t be more proud and excited for him.”

Offensive tackle Saia Mapakaitolo

Saia Mapakaitolo is a three-star offensive tackle who has been picking up offers at a fast pace this spring. Arizona State, UCLA, USC and Utah have all offered, and when coaches can get back to evaluating prospects on campus, that offer sheet should grow.

Clausen notes: “It’s hard to find long, athletic tackles, but he fits that to a T. He’s 6-foot-6, 275, 280 pounds, but in two years he’ll be a 6-foot-6, 300 pound left tackle. He could flip to right, but he plays left for us. He had an unbelievable junior year. He’s one of the guys people notice when they first come out. He’s very, very athletic for his size and a great kid.”

2022 prospects

Linebacker Niuafe Jr. Tuihalamaka

Tuihalamaka was the first commitment in USC’s 2022 recruiting class and it is a big one, as the 6-foot-3, 230-pound linebacker is the nation’s No. 59 overall prospect and No. 3 inside linebacker. And Clausen thinks he’ll wind up better than that.

Clausen notes: “His work ethic is his best thing. He can play in the box, tackle to tackle, but he can also cover and play man-to-man and he has that size with his athleticism. He’s from a very well-known family in the community. People want to come play with Junior. He’s probably the top middle linebacker in the country. He’s versatile, not just a Mike. He can play outside ‘backer. [USC defensive coordinator Todd] Orlando has two different schemes. Junior can play in the box, but he can also come off the edge as an outside in a 3-4. For his size and athleticism, he’s basically the Justin Flowe of the 2022 class.”

Wide receiver Kevin Green Jr.

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound athlete has picked up interest from a number of schools, though the Trojans will likely have their hands full with Oregon here, as Green is the younger brother of Ducks cornerback Mykael Wright.

Clausen notes: “He’s big time. His older brother was one of the top athletes in the country. He’s getting recruited as a receivers as well as a safety. He will start both ways for us. He was a freshman All-American and a sophomore All-America. He has a skill set a lot of schools are looking for and are intrigued by him. USC is looking at him as both, a receiver and a corner. He has a 3.2-3.3 GPA and is part of a great family.”

Cornerback Ephesians Prysock

The 6-foot-3, 170-pound defensive back doesn’t have a lot of offers, but the ones he has are noteworthy, as Florida, LSU, Notre Dame and USC have stepped forward so far.

Clausen notes: “He’s long and rangy. His older brother Tysean is at Sacramento State. He started last year as a sophomore and has unbelievable upside. He’s long, athletic and he can run. That’s what we’re looking for on the defensive side, to get longer and faster. He’ll play a little receiver for us, but he’s a long, lean corner. His first offer came from Florida and Ron English compared him to Chris Steele. He has that kind of length. He has a chance to be really, really good.”

2023 prospects

Safety RJ Jones

The 6-foot-1, 170-pound safety has caught the eye of some of the Pac-12’s best programs following his freshman season, as Arizona State, Oregon, USC and Washington have all offered.

Clausen notes: “If there’s a better looking, more athletic, more physical free safety in the country, I’d love to see him. He’s really smart and football savvy. He’s a Pasadena kid. There have been some great Pasadena defensive backs the past few years–Marvell Tell, Myles Bryant, Darnay Holmes–and he’s another one. He’s a 3.6 academic kid. He has a chance to be unbelievable.”

Cornerback Jshawn Frausto-Ramos

Frausto-Ramos picked up an offer from Oregon State in early March, and it’s safe to say that won’t be his last one. He doesn’t have the offer sheet of some of the other Alemany prospects, and doesn’t have one from USC at this point, but it might be a matter of time.

Clausen notes: “He’s big time. He started as a freshman last year and played some corner and nickel. He and RJ Jones are big time. We play in the second-best league in the state and they played as freshmen. He’s a physical, athletic, long kid–6-foot, 170 pounds and can run. He’s very similar athletically to Jaylin Smith. He likes to be in the action in the run game. He can cover, either drop into zone or play man-to-man. He got his first offer from Oregon State, but he’s going to blow up. This spring and summer, he’s going to blow up big time.”


Expectations will be through the roof for this Alemany team this fall, as there is so much talent on both sides of the ball and with seniors, juniors and sophomores. There were also a few transfers during this offseason, as defensive end Myles Williams–who holds an Arizona State offer and USC is starting to evaluate him–and offensive guard Campbell McHarg–Sacramento State offer–came over from Calabasas and defensive end/tight end Adrien Aguirre–Dartmouth offer–and linebacker Jake Moore came from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame.

The biggest transfer was defensive tackle Domanic Williams, a 2022 national prospect who already holds an offer from USC.

The Warriors also have a couple of young offensive linemen in the 2022 class who Clausen expects to grow into prospects, including Samiuela Sefa, a 6-foot-4, 320-pound lineman Clausen compared to USC 2021 verbal commitment Jay Toia, and guard Samiuela Palu, a massive 6-foot-5, 330-pound offensive lineman.


It’s no secret that this new USC staff is turning the heat up when it comes to recruiting, and Alemany is one of the schools that was set to receive a ton of attention during the evaluation period, and had already received plenty back between the early and late signing days. It’s clearly a different approach, with a different vibe, than USC had been taking in previous classes.

“I think USC is always going to be USC,” Clausen said. “I think the biggest thing coach Helton has done is he’s brought a little life, a little juice into the program. Coach Orlando is a fiery guy. Coach [Donte] Williams is a fiery guy. I’ve heard good things about the defensive line coach.”

Those new coaches have repeated over and over again that recruiting is all about relationships, and Clausen repeated those words exactly.

“USC is always going to be a very desirable place to go to school,” Clausen said. “They’ve already kickstarted the 2021 class and they’re getting in on the right guys. The key is keeping them home. If you keep the top talent in the state, you’re going to have a good class year in and year out.

The Trojans haven’t been able to do that at a high enough level over the past two recruiting classes, but there has been a clear emphasis put on that in this 2021 and the following classes.

“Whatever the reason, kids the last couple years have chosen to go out,” Clausen said. “The goal, and when USC had it really cranking, was they chose who they wanted to stay in state. USC has always had the first choice of any kid they wanted in California. That’s the focus getting back.”



Erik McKinney
Author
Erik McKinney

Erik McKinney began writing for WeAreSC in 2004, during his junior year at USC, covering the Trojans football team and recruiting. He then moved on to ESPN.com in 2011, where he served as the West Region recruiting reporter and then the Pac-12 recruiting reporter. He took over as publisher of WeAreSC in January, 2019.


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