By Greg Katz – WeAreSC.com
In my humble opinion, cardinal and gold thoughts on what I see, what I hear, and what I think.
Clues and more clues: Former Trojans tight end Bryce Dixon (above photo – No. 13) was spotted last week attending the Rising Stars Camp. Is Dixon really gone or is he? If he were really done, would he attend the camp just for the sake of it? Wouldn’t he not want to show his face on campus and see his friends on his own time? Maybe he is gone, but then again maybe he isn’t. Sounds like a case for Sherlock Holmes.
Evidence: The Times reported on Thursday that Bryce Dixon wants to return to the Trojans and believes he was not treated fairly for whatever was the issue. According to The Times, Dixon says he is scheduled for another meeting with USC officials regarding his status. If Dixon was treated unfairly – as he claims and wants to come back – here’s hoping that he can return and let’s move on.
Evidence –Part 2: I know only what I have read or heard, but one would think USC would be sensitive to Dixon’s position, especially after the way the NCAA wrongly treated the Trojans in that whole sanctions fiasco, which is still ongoing thanks to the Todd McNair legal case. As for Dixon, let the chips fall where they may and the whole truth come out.
Major Kudos: A tip of the media hat to the powers at Troy for not only opening up The Rising Stars Camp to the general public and the media but deciding to allow the media to cover the event almost like the old Pete Carroll RSC days. It was a win-win-win welcome back situation for Sark’s program, the general public, and the media.
The benchmark: The opening of the Rising Stars Camp to the general public and the media is yet another welcome indication that the shackles of NCAA sanctions are now quickly dissipating. Judging by some of the recent verbals from the RSC, it certainly made for more than just a successful week.
The big surprise: A big surprise of the Rising Stars Camp, IMHO, was the arrival of 2017 Alabama running back commit Najee Harris from Northern California. Maybe he’ll attend Alabama and maybe he won’t, given the fact that it’s a long, long time until 2017 letter of intend day, so give Sark and his coaching crew high marks for getting Harris down to L.A.
The big surprise – Part 2: Well, if verbals were signed letters of intents, Trojans fans could heave a big sigh of relief, but the announcement by Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson High defensive tackle Keyshon Camp (6-4, 269), class of 2016, certainly was a welcome announcement. The last defensive lineman the Trojans took out of Florida did pretty well, or have you already forgotten some kid named Leonard Williams.
The careful surprise: Yes, it’s exciting about Keyshon Camp’s verbal following his Rising Stars Camp appearance, but this wealth of potential was previously committed to the Miami Hurricanes. Camp still has offers from the likes of Alabama and even the Duckies in Eugene. The truth is now the real recruiting begins not only for Camp but the rest of those that have verbally committed.
The catcher: What was considered somewhat a surprise at the Rising Stars Camps was the late decision from La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat superstar receiver Tyler Vaughns, class of 2016, to step on the field and compete. It’s just another indication of a player that loves to compete when he has already proven to be one of the nation’s finest.
Shock not: To the surprise of no one in the know, former Florida tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe is transferring to USC and will join brother Josh as a Trojan. The official announcement of Daniel coming west should quiet once and for all that Josh could wavier on his cardinal and gold commitment. Call it now a “done deal.”
From the press box…
The connection: It is always a source of interest when an out-of-California prep star commits to the Trojans. It is being reported that Exton (Pa.) Downington East tight end Cary Angeline (6-7, 230) has surprisingly given a pledge to the Trojans. As always, a major key to the commitment was apparently a family member, Cary’s aunt lives in the L.A. area, and helped seal the verbal deal.
Tightening up: Well, there is a very real possibility that should tight end Cary Angeline’s verbal stick and the Trojans win the recruiting battle for Concord (Calif.) De La Salle super stud tight end Devin Asiasi, their tight end situation would become a team strength for the future.
Credit due: The recent commitment of Pennsylvania tight end Cary Angeline is a direct compliment to Trojans tight end coach and lead Angeline recruiter Marques “Tui” Tuiasosopo.
The numbers game: Incoming true freshman linebacker Osa Masina has been awarded No. 58, the same number as former Trojans All-America linebacker Rey Maualuga.
The numbers game – Part 2: No. 94, worn the previous three seasons by former Trojans All-America defensive lineman Leonard “Big Cat” Williams, has been given to incoming true freshman defensive lineman Rasheem Green.
The numbers game – Part 3: Yeah, I get that it’s an honor for a incoming USC player to be given a number that a former All-American wore and that it can be used as a recruiting carrot, but it seems to me that it can also bring undue pressure to live up to such lofty standards and sometimes a detriment to a player’s psyche. Or have you forgotten what No. 55 can do some players in the past.
The post-game show…
Viva Las Vegas: The Golden Nugget sportsbook has released odds for some of the Trojans biggest games of the season. In games deemed important, the Trojans are favorites over Stanford (4 pts.), at Arizona State (1 pt.), Utah (7 pts.), Washington (19 pts.), Arizona (7.5 pts.), at Colorado (12.5 pts.), and UCLA (3 pts.).
Viva Las Vegas – Part 2: According to The Golden Nugget sports book, the Trojans are 2015 underdogs at Oregon (6.5 pts.), and you’ll get no argument here.
Viva Las Vegas – Part 3: According to The Golden Nugget sports book, the Trojans are “pick’em” at Notre Dame. Well, there is a slight disagreement of those odds in this space. The Trojans should be favored over the Irish, especially with a Heisman Trophy quarterback candidate in Cody Kessler. The Irish will be breaking in a new starter in Malik Zaire, a junior from Kettering, Ohio.
The final word: As of Sunday, only 69 days until the Trojans open at home against Arkansas State, but who’s counting, right?