By Greg Katz – WeAreSC
In my humble opinion, cardinal and gold thoughts on what I see, what I hear, and what I think.
South Bend brrr: Thanks to NBC, the Trojans will play at Notre Dame on the evening of October 17, and kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT. It could be mighty chilly, rainy, and/or windy and who knows the evening’s wind-chill factor. Based on our experiences with South Bend night games, you’d better bring your best long john underwear and every warm article you can find to survive this one. Of course once the game kicks off, everything heats up considerably, both down on the field and in the stands.
South Bend brrr – Part 2: Take it from one who has been to “night” games at Notre Dame Stadium, they are exciting but after the game – if you are staying in Chicago – you won’t get back for at least three hours after the game. Can you say 3 a.m.? If you’re lucky.
South Bend brrr – Part 3: Now if you’re a member of the media and staying in Chicago for the Notre Dame Weekender, it’s an all-nighter, my friends. By the time one’s story is filed, you’ll have breakfast with the roosters. Of course, you can stay in the South Bend area…if you can find a hotel.
Threat game: The NCAA says the release of Todd McNair’s documents last month has led to “violent threats” aimed at some of the members of the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions. Well, maybe the alleged, unfortunate public reaction is over the NCAA’s apparent own “lack of institutional control.”
The William Martell Overture: Think Dr. Arthur C. Bartner and the Trojans Marching Band could have some fun if class of 2017 quarterback Tate Martell (Las Vegas Bishop Gorman) decides to become a Trojans? From the William Tell Overture to the Tate Martell Overture.
Climbing higher: As we get closer to April 30th’ NFL draft, it appears that former Trojans wide receiver Nelson Agholor is inching his way into a potential late first-round selection. NFL folks have loved the way Nelson has come across in the interview portions of evaluations.
The Big Cat: Apparently former Trojans All-America defensive tackle Leonard Williams will be the highest selected player in this month’s NFL draft to be in Chicago for that glorious moment. Declining to make an appearance are quarterbacks Jameis Winston of Florida State and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. The Big Cat never ducked a challenge in front of the big cameras.
The Big Cat – Part 2: Leonard Williams says he is going to the NFL Draft in Chicago because he has no fear of embarrassment, and it has always been his dream to be a high selection, be there in person, and go on stage in front of the nation.
The nightmare: One of the most uncomfortable viewing moments in recent USC NFL draft history was watching former Trojans quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart sit in the holding room in New York City waiting and waiting and waiting to hear his name called. Lefty handled it with class, but it was tough to watch nonetheless.
The nightmare – Part 2: Okay, so may Leinart’s career wasn’t what he and Trojans fans were hoping for, but he can still come back to USC and be as beloved as any former USC Trojans football player. And his future and continuing broadcasting and commercial career looks to be very bright.
Pac-12 Networks: Matt Leinart looks to be a major candidate to do work for the Pac-12 Networks in football now that former lead analyst Rick Neuheisel has moved on to CBS.
From the press box…
Remembrance: Part of my youth died upon learning of the passing of former Trojans All-America defensive end Jimmy Gunn, a leader of the “original” Wild Bunch,” which I had the distinct pleasure of watching in person during my late teens.
Okie talk: Former Trojans Athletic Director and Heisman Trophy winning tailback Mike Garrett, who was hired by Langston University in 2012, is leaving his position next month. Now really, did you think that Iron Mike, L.A. born and raised, was going to disappear and end his career in rural Oklahoma?
But she’s not: Still coaching as part of Mike Garrett’s Langston U. legacy is former Trojans All-America and genuine Hall of Fame basketball legend Cheryl Miller, and you have to wonder how long she is planning on staying in Okie land.
Holt, who goes there: You can also wonder how long Langston U. men’s basketball coach Stan Holt, another former Trojan, will remain in Oklahoma.
FYI: Langston University, historically a black college, is named after the city of Langston, Oklahoma, and was founded in 1897.
No surprise: It was good news for the Trojans but not necessarily earthshattering when the recruiting announcement came this past week that Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei offensive lineman Frank Martin ll (6-5, 300) committed to USC. Martin has long been a Trojans fan since his childhood days, and anytime you get a Bruce Rollinson player from Mater Dei, you know you’re getting a disciplined and spirited athlete.
The suitors: Frank Martin was also being pursued by Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Michigan and Penn State.
Somewhat a surprise: The earlier-in-the-week verbal by huge Murrieta (Calif.) Mesa High offensive lineman Nathan Smith (6-6, 260) was a pleasant surprise. Smith’s Mesa High team runs a similar offense to the Trojans, which will come in handy when he arrives at Troy, possibly in the spring of 2016.
FYI: Nathan Smith also had offers from Oregon, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Miami and is listed as a four-star tackle for those of you that get giddy over those celestial-type rankings.
The post-game show…
Repetition: Tailback Melquise Stovall (Lancaster, Calif./ Paraclete) announced Friday he, too, will be a Trojan. To repeat a previous evaluation of Stovall, he reminds me of former tiny Oregon State whirlwind running back Jacquizz Rodgers. Stovall stands 5-foot-8 and weighs 177 pounds. He can also play corner.
Not again: That was the retort by Rocky when Bullwinkle said, “Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat.” It appears that Andrew Boselli, the son of Trojans NFL, College, and USC Hall of Fame tackle Tony Boselli, has committed to Florida State. Although the younger, Boselli was apparently not recruited by the Trojans, the track record of not taking a USC legacy has not been without pock marks. There were success stories like Mike Munoz, son of Anthony who went to Tennessee, Ryan Nece (son of Ronnie Lott who went to UCLA), and Sean Harlow, son of Pat Harlow who went to Oregon State.
The seat exchange: Another email went out this past week to USC season ticket holders asking if they wanted again to upgrade their seats for the 2015 season. After reading all the information, perhaps the best information was that if you don’t want to change seat your location, you didn’t have to respond to the email.
Amongst friends: One of the counterarguments to switching seating locations if you’re a season ticket holder is that you probably will be separated from your lifelong seating neighbors, which can be more important than a better location.
The long range: You have to wonder if changing your current seat location for a better viewing spot will put you in the crosshairs of the rumored Personal Seat Licenses (PSL) once renovations begin on the Coliseum in, hopefully, the near future.
Yes siree Bob: With the two recent, well-respected offensive line verbals and the very positive responses by the returning Trojans offensive linemen during and after spring ball, first-year head coach Bob Connelly seems have silenced critics of his hire.
Looking ahead: The 7-on-7 high school traveling team circuit competition heats up again, and one of the premier prep passing tournaments is coming up next Sunday, June 26, at Fullerton College and will feature a number of major Trojans recruits.
Mock drafts: Everybody has a mock NFL draft this time of the year, and Sports Illustrated had their Top 300 draft in this week’s edition. SI’s mock draft has Trojans former All-America defensive tackle Leonard Williams as its No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
More Si draft: Other Trojans projected in SI’s mock 300 draft include WR Nelson Agholor (#47), S Josh Shaw (#120), RB Buck Allen (#131), ILB Hayes Pullard (#185), TE Randall Telfer (#253) and OLB J.R. Tavai (#241).
The final word: And guess who was ranked No. 298 in SI’s Top 300 NFL draft projection? Remember former Trojans offensive lineman Aundrey Walker? Well, Aundrey is being projected at # 298. SI writes: Pros – “Fires off ball in game. Has long arms to fight off defenders. Mirrors well, moves feet to stay in front. Cons – Needs to anchor better. Bull rushers will give him trouble. NFL comparison – Jamon Meredith.” Who the heck is Jamon Meredith?