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O/NSO: The “Ra” truth edition

The Obvious: Having already done an earlier extensive expose on the Trojans’ highly-touted incoming freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels, the Los Angeles Times on Father’s Day continued its cardinal and gold freshmen exposés, the subject matter being wide receiver Amon-ra St. Brown (photo above), a heralded teammate of Daniels at Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei High.

The Not So Obvious: Although the Daniels’ Times piece came before the St. Brown story, it should be noted that the future passing combination of Daniels to St. Brown is being called by noted Trojans’ historians as the best incoming passing combination from the same high school since the arrival of former Trojan quarterback Pat Haden and wide receiver J.K. McKay from La Puente (Calif.) Bishop Amat.

The Obvious: Most of the Times’ feature article regarding Amon-ra St. Brown centered on the young receiver’s father, John Brown, a former Mr. Universe and three-time Mr. World, who has produced three former highly recruited sons: receivers Equanimeous St. Brown (former Notre Dame), Osiris St. Brown (Stanford redshirt freshman), and Amon-ra.

The Not So Obvious: Looking to add a little more flair to the family name, John Brown revealed that he added the “St.” to the last name Brown to increase name recognition and fame. In today’s athletic world, no matter the level, it’s all about marketability.

The Obvious: John Brown has been compared to some as football’s equivalent to basketball’s Lavar Ball, the high-profile basketball father of the Lakers’ Lonzo, free agent and former UCLA player LiAngelo, and free agent teenager LaMelo.

The Not So Obvious: Brown claims that he is not like the Ball’s father, meaning a visible stage dad presence. In the Brown Times’ article, John Brown, a former graduate of local Compton (Calif.) Dominguez High, isn’t shy about where he thinks his youngest son, Amon-ra, ranks in terms of his son’s ability. Brown told the Times that Amon-ra “could play in the NFL right now.”

The Obvious: Because of a recruiting miscalculation regarding his oldest son, Equanimeous, in which the Trojans offered but later withdrew an offer in the process (extended by former Trojan head coach Steve Sarkisian), there were hurt feelings in the St. Brown family towards USC. It figured that the Trojans were out of the picture with Amon-ra early-on.

The Not So Obvious: According to the Times’ article, Trojans’ head coach Clay Helton did a lot of rehabilitation with John Brown and now Brown is completely at ease with his son attending Troy, but John does admit that if Equanimeous had not left early for the 2018 NFL draft, Amon-ra would be in South Bend playing for the Irish.

The Obvious: The Heisman Trophy Award is given to the best college football player in the land.

The Not So Obvious: The Trojans certainly have quite a resume when it comes to Heisman Trophy winners, and freshman receiver Amon-ra St. Brown told the Times he’s hoping to add three Heisman Trophies into Heritage Hall. If he did, Amon-ra would make history since nobody has ever won three Heismans. As a refresher, when he was a true freshman, former Trojans’ DB Jack Jones was on record saying he was going for a Heisman Trophy as his first season, and we know all that has turned out unfortunately.

The Obvious: While J.T. Daniels and Amon-ra St. Brown have garnered much of the early freshman spotlight, incoming freshman corner Olaijah Griffin has clearly shown in the early PRP exercises that can be a future impact player.

The Not So Obvious: In case you aren’t aware, Griffin’s father is famous rapper and hip-hop producer Warren G. Olaijah has already shown in his limited PRP exposures that he has an ability to close quickly on passes and has had some breakups in workouts that have drawn the attention of onlookers.

The Obvious: The Trojans will host Washington State on Friday night, Sept. 21, in the Coliseum.

The Not So Obvious: So, did you know that WSU head coach Mike Leach has a 2-1 record against the Men of Troy?

The Obvious: If you have seen some recent helicopter photos of the Coliseum renovation, you also see the construction of the new George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, a piece of land that used to provide parking spaces for media and tailgaters.

The Not So Obvious: The O/NSO gets the feeling that parking in 2018 will be a real nightmare. Somebody is going to be mighty upset where all those media and tailgaters are relocated. Of course, this whole issue affects the NFL, too, so you know that will also part of the new parking spaces equation.

The Obvious: One of the keys to the Trojans’ national title hopes are bringing in players that have achieved great success at the high school level and bring a positive, winning “edge” in attitude.

The Not So Obvious: If you look at the incoming Trojans’ freshmen roster, there are players that have experienced some huge high school success, which could translate to the “edge” of controlled superiority. In quarterback J.T. Daniels, wide receiver Amon-ra St. Brown, and linebacker Soloman Tuliaupupu, all were starters on Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei’s 2017 national championship team. Incoming freshman linebacker Palaie Gaoteote’s from Las Vegas Bishop Gorman won a national title in 2016 and a state title in 2017. Fellow frosh linebacker teammate Raymond Scott’s Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne won the 2017 California Division 1-A Bowl.

The Obvious: And finally, one of the biggest challenges for broadcasters in 2018 will be pronouncing the name Palaie Gaoteote correctly.

The Not So Obvious: As an O/NSO public service, here is, according to the Trojans’ spring media guide, how to correctly pronounce Palaie’s full name: Pa-la-EE-ae Nah-OE-taw-OE-tae. Got that?

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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