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IMHO Sunday: Canton calling

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

In my humble opinion, cardinal and gold thoughts on what I see, what I hear, and what I think.

Congratulations: To the immediate family, friends, and fans of late, former Trojans linebacker great Junior Seau, who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the eve of Super Bowl XLIX. It’s all bittersweet but well deserved.

Congratulations – Part 2: Junior Seau, who transitioned the Trojans jersey No. 55 into a revered number, will be formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, on August 8th. Seau becomes the 15th former USC Trojan to enter the HOF.

Congratulations – Part 3: FYI, the 14 Trojans already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame include RB Marcus Allen, WR Red Badgro, RB Frank Gifford, DB Ronnie Lott, OL Bruce Matthews, OT Ron Mix, OT Anthony Munoz, RB O.J. Simpson, WR Lynn Swann, DB Willie Wood, OT Ron Yary, and former USC assistant coaches Al Davis, Joe Gibbs, and Mel Hein.

Cardinal and Goldless: It’s hard to believe, but there will be no former Trojans on Sunday’s daylong NBC’s Super Bowl telecast team.

Back-to-back: So what are the chances that last season’s Super MVP, former Trojans linebacker Malcolm Smith, can do it again for the Seattle Seahawks? Bovada says that Malcolm is 100/1 to win it again.

For the record: If former Trojan Malcolm Smith were a repeat Super Bowl MVP, it wouldn’t be the first time. Others that have done it are quarterbacks Bart Starr (Green Bay) and Terry Bradshaw (Pittsburgh).

Total recall: In last season’s Super Bowl MVP performance, Malcolm Smith recorded nine tackles, recovered a fumble, and returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown in the Seahawks’ 43-8 victory over Denver.

The MVP Award: As the winner of last season’s Super Bowl MVP, Malcolm Smith received a “truck,” but he gave it to his mother, Audrey.

Brotherly love: Malcolm Smith and his brother, former Trojans wide receiver Steve Smith, are one of seven sets of brothers to win Super Bowl championships.

IMHO: Some are saying that if the Trojans can gain the signatures of the remaining super recruits on the recruiting board, the class of 2015 will go down as perhaps the greatest recruiting class in the history of Trojans football. With all due respect, I am not prepared to support that statement, although the class would certainly be exceptionable.

Your turn: So if the Trojans sign everybody they think they’re going to sign come Wednesday, who did you think is the most important significant signature?

My turn: If all the anticipated signees come through on LOI Day, I am going with the signature of Gardena (Calif.) Serra defensive lineman Rasheem Green as the most important, although one could make a solid case for DB Iman Marshall. Finding high quality D-line talent in SoCal is a tough find.

A reminder: Trojans high profile recruit Porter Gustin(above photo), the standout Salem Hills (Utah) High linebacker will make his college announcement on Tuesday at 11 am (MST). Gustin is down to the Trojans, Ohio State, and Arizona State. Don’t bet against the Trojans on this one but maybe a cow or two, especially after Porter returns from a weekend recruiting trip to Ohio State and Urban Meyer.

The anticipation:
Of all the players heading into next season that could have a major impact on the Trojans, aside from the usual suspects, I’ll go with wide receiver Steven Mitchell. If Steven rounds into his pre-injury form, the Trojans will have a very explosive wide receiver.

The measuring stick: It’s not getting much attention due to the incoming ballyhoo of freshmen quarterbacks Ricky Town and Sam Darnold, but there is intrigue here on the continued development of redshirt freshman QB Jalen Greene. Come spring practice, we’ll see if he has improved as much as he did over last season.

Say it ain’t so: There are reports that Trojans offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Clay Helton has interviewed for the vacant OC job at Tennessee.

Say it ain’t so –Part 2: It’s not that the popular QB coach Clay Helton has been interviewed by Tennessee; it’s the fact that he is “obviously” looking elsewhere, which should come as no surprise. Helton is a good play-caller and wants to run the show, and unless Steve Sarkisian relents his play-calling duties, which is highly unlikely, Helton will take his talents to Tennessee or wherever.

So it is, maybe: There are strong rumors that the new Trojans offensive coach is current Oklahoma State offensive line coach Bob Connelly, a seasoned 18-year college assistant.

So it is, maybe: – Part 2: There seems to be early mixed reactions of Bob Connelly and various viewpoints pro and con. The veteran coach has already had stops at Texas A&M Commerce, Cisco Junior College, Texas A&M, Cal State Northridge, San Jose State, Washington State, Alabama, UCLA, UTEP, Arizona State, and Oklahoma State.

So it is, maybe – Part 3: The positives about Bob Connelly would be that he has coached in elite programs and was Mike Price’s offensive line coach when Price dominated the Pac-10 at Washington State and later moved to Alabama with Price. The one big red flag would be that he has coached at a lot of places and not for very long with the exception of Washington State. Assistant coaches are always on the move, so Connelly probably has a legitimate answer for his well-traveled coaching career.

And now from the press box…

Coliseum update: In a recent OC Register interview, Trojans athletic director Pat Haden addressed when the major work on the Coliseum would begin. After all the studies and cost estimates, Haden said, “It’s still two years before they put a shovel in the ground, I’d guess.”

Now it can be told: Current Trojans tailback Justin Davis told The Times that if he could redo his recruiting, he would have taken all five visits because he missed out on all those five-star recruiting dinners. No, Justin, you did your recruiting the right way; you didn’t waste anybody’s time and were sincere.

Rankings: ESPN insider Travis Haney says that of all the playmakers outside of Ohio State’s talented group of returners, the No. 1 player outside of the returning Buckeyes in 2015 is the Trojans Adoree’ Jackson.

More Adoree’: Last week, Travis Haney listed Adoree’ Jackson as the nation’s No. 1 breakout player for 2015.

Thinking aloud: So how much will Adoree’ Jackson help or hinder Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler’s bid for next season’s Heisman Trophy? For Steve Sarkisian, it’s certainly a nice problem to have.

All in the family:
If you haven’t taken the time to watch those Nissan ads regarding the family of former Trojans All-America linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. (1974-77), you’re missing a real threat. Clay recounts his father, his own life, and his famous offspring. It is all rather touching and sincere and if you’ve had a chance to interact with any of the Matthews, they are as real as they come.

All in the family – Part 2: And, yes, there are pictures of the family and that includes former WeAreSC staff writer Brian Matthews, one of the good guys.

The post-game show…

JC Ranking: In ESPN’s Top 50 JC rankings, wide receiver transfer De’Quan Hampton (Long Beach CC) is listed No. 5 in the country.

JC Ranking – Part 2: In ESPN’s Top 50 JC rankings, wide receiver transfer Isaac Whitney (Riverside CC) is listed No. 16.

JC Ranking – Part 3: FYI, in ESPN’s Top 50 JC rankings, RB Jovon Robinson (Georgia Military College) is listed as the JC’s No. 1 prospect. Robinson has signed with Auburn.

Size matters: Both Trojans JC transfers, De’Quan Hampton and Isaac Whitney, are listed at 6-foot-4. The Men of Troy apparently have filled the “big receiver” void.

Legacy: Former Trojans linebacker Frank Buncom’s son, DB Frank Buncom lV (San Diego St. Augustine), has been admitted to Stanford and will play for the Cardinal. He also had offers from UCLA and Notre Dame.

Whew: Heisman winning Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota may have entered the 2015 NFL draft, but his brother, Matthew Mariota (Honolulu, Hawaii/St. Louis), has announced he will be a walk-on with the Ducks. You can relax, Trojans fans, Matthew is a 6-foot-3, 230-pound defensive lineman.

The final word: There was some concern by some Trojans fans over a recent Twitter photo that showed Long Beach Poly super DB Iman Marshall with Trojans head coach Steve Sarkisian and three other members of the Trojans staff. Everybody in the photo was giving the Trojans two-fingered “Fight On,”…but Marshall. We’ll probably all find out on Wednesday if this was any kind of foreshadowing, but “Biggie” did cancel his Oregon visit this weekend so….

Greg Katz
Greg Katz

Now entering his 59th season of either writing, broadcasting, or just plain watching USC football, WeAreSC columnist Greg Katz began his affiliation with the website back in 2001, introducing his well-received O/NSO (The Obvious/The Not So Obvious) column and later adding his respected IMHO Sunday opinion and tidbits column. Greg, a former ESPN.com college football columnist covering USC, is also a member of the Football Writer's Association of America. He is also known in Southern California as a professional public address announcer, having called the the 1996 Rose Bowl Game between USC and Northwestern. Greg also holds a master's degree in athletic administration and was a former varsity high school coach of 27 years.

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