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O/NSO: 35-55-35 edition

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

The Obvious: It was earlier proclaimed this week that Trojans sophomore linebacker Cameron Smith (photo above) was switching uniform numbers from No. 35 to the legendary No. 55.

The Not So Obvious: But here we go again with this number business. According to WeAreSC publisher Garry Paskwietz, ”Cam and Clay (Helton) sat down and they decided to leave #55 open this year as a way to honor Junior Seau, a player who has meant so much to this program.” So, Cameron, the 2015 Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year. is back to wearing his former, old No. 35 and on second thought, maybe the massive expectations of wearing No. 55 might have been unnecessary for a player coming off knee surgery.

The Obvious: Linebacker Cameron Smith is expected to be the Trojans starting middle linebacker when the Men of Troy line up against Alabama on Sept. 3.

The Not So Obvious: And you can probably assume that if Cameron had worn No. 55, the number’s history would surly have been expressed to the Alabama offensive line by Crimson Tide offensive coordinator and former Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin and talk about a bulls eye. No matter what number Smith would have worn on Sept. 3, he’s still sure to be tested by head coach Nick Saban’s decree.

The Obvious: For hardcore Trojans fans, finding out the new freshmen jersey numbers is gleefully a topic of conversation.

The Not So Obvious: From the Trojans official website, the new freshmen numbers are as follows: DB Jack Jones (No. 1); WR/DB Keyshawn Young (No. 17); WR Tyler Vaughns (No. 21); WR Velus Jones (No. 23); TB Vavae Maelpeai (No. 29); DB Jamel Cook (No. 31); ILB Jordan Iosefa (No. 48); OT Frank Martin (No. 65); OT E.J. Price (No. 75); WR Trevon Sidney (No. 81); TE Cary Angeline (No. 86); DE Connor Murphy (No. 90); DT Josh Fatu (No. 98); and DE Oluwole Betiku (No. 99).

The Obvious: Former Utah Utes defensive tackle Steve Tu’ikolovatu (6-1, 280) announced via his Twitter page that he would play his final season for the Trojans as a graduate transfer.

The Not So Obvious: Whether Tu’iKolovatu is a front line player for the Trojans, who was listed as a No. 2 defensive tackle at the end of Utah’s 2016 spring practice, is not as important as his experience, having played in all 13 games in 2015 with two starts against Washington and Arizona, respectively. He comes from a Utah program known for developing defensive linemen. The fact that Tu’ikolovatu was also considering Alabama, that has to count for something. He may be ticketed early on for the Trojans as a nose tackle. FYI, he wore No. 90 with Utah.

The Obvious: College programs continue to recruit players that haven’t even yet entered high school.

The Not So Obvious: Apparently the current big rage in intermediate school recruiting is an eighth grade quarterback named Aaron McLaughlin from Georgia, who already has two offers from Missouri and Georgia State, respectively. According to the 6-foot-5, 200-pound “prodigy,” he has visited the Trojans, UCLA, Texas A&M, and Georgia. When he is finally ready for high school, McLaughlin says he will attend North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Ga. For those looking ahead, McLaughlin is in the Class of 2021

The Obvious: Two bright prospects for the Trojans in 2016 are redshirt freshman tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe and his incoming freshman brother, wide receiver brother Josh Imatorbhebhe.

The Not So Obvious: Both Imatorbhebhe brothers attended North Gwinnett High in Suwanee, Georgia, the same school that intermediate school quarterback Aaron McLaughlin says he plans to attend. To add a little sugar to the mix, the Trojans coaches attended a recent satellite camp hosted Georgia State in the Atlanta area, the same camp that McLaughlin reportedly participated.

The Obvious: “Former” Trojans quarterback recruit Tate Martell (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman) has committed to Ohio State.

The Not So Obvious: This is Martell’s third commitment (Washington and Texas A&M), which mean the Trojans are now down to two other high profile recruits for the Class of 2017. Those two are Jack Sears (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente) and current Alabama commit Tua Tagovailoa (Honolulu, Hawaii/St. Louis). There is intrigue in both remaining recruits because the Trojans don’t believe that Tagovailoa’s commitment to the Crimson Tide is a lock, and Sears is from San Clemente, home of current Trojans quarterback Sam Darnold.

The Obvious: The 2016 USC Marshall Alumni 20th Scholarship Golf Classic will be held next Friday, June 24, at the Oak Creek Golf Course in Irvine, Calif.

The Not So Obvious: There is expected to be a number of celebrity USC athletes and dignitaries in attendance. Among the guest speakers after the tournament will be WeAreSC publisher Garry Paskwietz. For those interested, the Oak Creek Golf Course is conveniently located right off the Jeffrey off-ramp of the 5 Freeway. For further information, contact David Lustig at 949-533-4519. BTW, the event is tax deductible.

The Obvious: The Trojans have offered wide receiver Chase Williams (Corona, Calif./Eleanor Roosevelt) for the Class of 2018.

The Not So Obvious: In a WeAreSC story written by our Johnny Curren, Chase says that after a USC passing tournament game, head coach Clay Helton offered Williams a scholarship. What caught the eye of the O/NSO was that Williams went on to tell Curren “I am going to be there (USC) for four years, so I want to have coaches who I’m going to have a great relationship with and who just fit my personality.” The fact that Chase is expecting to be in college for four years rather than just three years (heading to the NFL) was somewhat refreshing.

The Obvious: UCLA and head coach Jim Mora have agreed to a two-year contract extension.

The Not So Obvious: If Mora losses for a second straight year to the Trojans, especially this season at the Rose Bowl, you can bet the blue and gold wolves will be howling that contract extension.

The Obvious: The Trojans found out first hand at last season’s Holiday Bowl how Wisconsin fans, students and the general public, back their Badgers.

The Not So Obvious: The entire allotment of football season tickets available to Wisconsin undergraduate students sold out sold in approximately 90 minutes.

The Obvious: In 2014, the Trojans traveled back to Boston College and were rudely greeted by both poor weather and a motivated Eagles football team, which upset the Men of Troy 37-31.

The Not So Obvious: That Trojans game at BC was probably one of the marker for the beginning of the end for Steve Sarkisian. You may be interested to know that Stanford and Boston College have announced a home-and-home series for 2028 and 2029. So what are the odds that David Shaw will still be around as the head coach of the Cardinal?

The Obvious: And finally, the Trojans will play Alabama on Saturday, Sept. 3, in Dallas, Texas.

The Not So Obvious: At my nephew Josh’s high school graduation party last weekend, the O/NSO ran into somebody who is “moving back” to Dallas after living in SoCal the past five years. Regarding the game’s September date, the returning Texan said, “It will be very warm and humid.” Prodded by the O/NSO, the Texan with a wry smile, admitted, “Okay, it’s really going to be very hot and really, really humid!” The O/NSO’s response? “Groovy.”

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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