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O/NSO: Cold draft edition

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

The Obvious: The USC Trojans did not have a first round selection in Thursday night’s opening of the 2016 NFL draft.

The Not So Obvious: The last time the Trojans did not have a first round selection was the 2014 draft. If you recall, the last Trojans picked in the first round of the NFL draft was 2015 with defensive tackle Leonard Williams (above photo – Jets) followed by Wide receiver Nelson Agholor (Eagles).

The Obvious: Prior to last night’s first round session of the draft, the Trojans had more first round draft picks (79) than any other school in the country.

The Not So Obvious: In terms of all-time first round draft picks, Ohio State has crept a little closer to the Trojans, as the Buckeyes had five players going in the first 20 selections on Thursday night. Despite their impressive showing, the Buckeyes still trail the Trojans in total first round selections 79-76.

The Obvious: Much of Los Angeles was excited on Thursday night to see whom the Rams selected with its overall No. 1 pick in the first round.

The Not So Obvious: In its history, the Rams, Los Angeles or St. Louis, have selected only three USC players in the first round. They are running back Jon Arnett (1957), linebacker Marlin McKeever (1961), and tight end Bob Klein (1969).

The Obvious: The current Los Angeles Rams roster does have a former Trojans draft choice in safety T.J. McDonald, who was taken in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.

The Not So Obvious: Prior to T.J. McDonald, the last Trojans taken in an NFL draft by the Rams was former tight end Dominique Byrd, who was selected in the 2006 draft in the third round.

The Obvious: Given Thursday night’s results, Friday becomes a big thing for a former USC player like Su’a Cravens, the Trojans standout outside linebacker, who was not selected in the first round.

The Not So Obvious: It figures that Cravens will hear his named called at some point on Friday evening, but you have to also figure that Su’a thought he was a first round selection when he earlier announced he was going pro and foregoing his senior season. Of course, all eyes will also turn to former Trojans quarterback Cody Kessler, who some say won’t be taken until the concluding day of the draft on Saturday.

The Obvious: With USC Spring Practice now in the rearview mirror and the NFL draft currently underway, the “USC Camp Season” is now taking applications.

The Not So Obvious: With the Trojans now able to operate at full recruiting strength, all the upcoming Trojans camps will have an impact at some level. The most important camp, however, is the yearly Rising Stars Camp, which brings in the top-notch talent to compete against each other. However, some of the various other camps run by Clay Helton and his coaching staff can be just as important in helping identify future recruits. Registration for these camps can be done on-line via FightOnCamps.com or by calling (213) 740-4204 for a registration brochure.

The Obvious: The Trojans will hold their Offense/Defense Line Camp on June 11 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m./$80).

The Not So Obvious: Open to all grades 9-12, prospective offensive and defensive linemen will have the opportunity to enhance their individual skills and technique by working with the USC coaching staff, current USC players, and top guest coaches. Players will rotate through a series of stations designed to improve their productivity in the trenches. Each session concludes with a spirited 1-on-1, OL vs DL competition. Two-way players will have the opportunity to work both sides of the ball.

The Obvious: The Trojans will hold their 7-on-7 Camp on June 12 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m./$400 per team).

The Not So Obvious:  Open to all grades 9-12, this camp is designed to provide instruction for high school teams to develop skills and schemes relative to the passing game from both an offensive and defensive perspective. All campers will be put through individual drills with their position group. The camp is highlighted by a competitive 7-on-7 team tournament.

The Obvious: The Trojans will hold their Skill Position Camp on June 18 (8 a.m. – TBD/$80).

The Not So Obvious:  Open to all 9-12 graders, QB’s, WR’s, RB’s, TE’s, LB’s & DB’s will enhance their individual skills and technique by working with the USC coaching staff, current USC players, and top guest coaches.  Through a series of individual drills, one-on-one competition, and an intense 7-on-7 competition period, players will learn how the Trojan skill position players prepare and practice.

The Obvious: The Trojans will hold their Junior College/Post Graduate Camp on June 18 (8 a.m. – 7:30 p.m./$60).

The Not So Obvious: Open to all JC and post grad players, this camp is open to players at all positions. Junior College and post-graduate players will have an opportunity to work hands on with the USC coaching staff to refine their skills and improve their technique. Participants will train in the same facilities as the Trojans and be put through a series of drills the USC coaching staff uses at practice daily. This camp is for those who have completed their high school playing career. 

The Obvious: The Trojans will hold their Rising Starts Camp on Jun 22&23 (8 a.m. – 4 p.m./$200 day only/$280 overnighters).

The Not So Obvious: Open to all grades 10-12,this two-day camp is designed to benefit advanced players who possess the skills necessary to play at the highest level of collegiate football. This camp is the highlight camp of the various camping opportunities. As with the other camps, instruction is led by the USC coaching staff with support from current Trojan players and guest coaches from other top college programs. The staff will instruct players during position specific periods and conduct a wide variety of drills aimed at perfecting their individual technique. This will be followed by competitive periods of 1-on-1, 7-on-7, and team. “Trojan Ball” will also be introduced as campers are teamed up for a modified version of touch football. On a recruiting note, nationally recruited running back and USC “soft commit” Stephen Carr told WeAreSC he would attend the Rising Starts Camp, which can be taken as a positive.

The Obvious: The Trojans will hold the Trojans in Training Youth Camp on June 25 (8 a.m. – 3:30 p.m./$120)

The Not So Obvious: Open to all grades 3-8, this camp will provide a solid foundation of football knowledge and skills. Each camper will learn the basic fundamentals of each position on the field. Campers will work hands on with USC coaching staff members and current Trojan football players. Over the course of the morning and afternoon sessions, campers will improve their skills using the same drills and techniques the Trojans use. Campers will work in groups with other participants of the same age. “Trojan Ball” will be introduced and campers will be placed on teams for a competitive “Trojan Ball” tournament. Topics such as strength and conditioning, sports nutrition and sportsmanship will also be addressed.

The Obvious: The Trojans will hold the Mario Danelo Specialist’s Camp on June 26 (8 a.m. – 1:30 p.m./$150).

The Not So Obvious: Open to all grades 7-12, this camp was established in honor of the Trojans record setting placekicker Mario Danelo. This camp is designed for athletes who want to learn or improve upon the fundamentals of placekicking, punting and long sapping. USC Special Teams Coordinator John Baxter and former NFL kicker Joe Danelo along with a host of USC and visiting coaches will cover all aspects of the kicking game, including individualized technique, mental and physical conditioning, and strategy as it relates to special teams.

The Obvious: And finally, the Trojans recently received a 2017 commitment from linebacker/safety Juliano Falaniko (America Samoa/Leone HS).

The Not So Obvious: Falaniko (6-4, 205), who also considered Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Arizona State, comes from a high school known as the Lions. Leone High is located in Pago Pago with a majority enrollment of Asian and American Indian. The 9-12th grade secondary school plays opponents that include the likes of Kanana Fou, Nuuuli Poly Tech, Samoana, Tafuna, and Faasao Marist. Just thought you’d like to know.

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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