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Recruiting Talk: Final Weekend

Garry Paskwietz and Johnny Curren discuss the status of the USC Trojans recruiting with just days to go before signing day.

GarryP: OK, we’re heading into the final weekend of recruiting and there is still plenty to be decided for this USC class. The good news is that most of the projections are positive in terms of how this will finish up. Let’s go through each guy remaining on the list right now to get a quick update for where they stand. First off, Biggie Marshall. The big news yesterday was that he cancelled his Oregon visit, which is nice to eliminate them as a possibility. There is now the speculation that he could take an official visit to SC this weekend, which he has not done yet, or he could just take the weekend off to finalize his decision in his mind. It also sounded from all accounts like he had a solid visit this week with the USC coaches.

Johnny: Yeah, the USC coaches were at his school on Wednesday and then they had an in-home with him later that night. He announced a Top 6 earlier this week that included USC, Notre Dame, Florida State, UCLA, Michigan and LSU, and while SC is the school he grew up following, he’s not tipping his hat either way, so no one knows for sure what he’ll do. He’ll announce on signing day.

GarryP: Another big news item this week was the twitter update from Rasheem Green where he talked about having to make some tough calls. Most recruiting followers assumed that to mean he was calling the coaches of the schools that he was turning down, and you wonder how much can be read into it when you then hear that Steve Sarkisian will be on the Serra campus today to visit with Green and John Houston.

Johnny: Exactly, it naturally makes you think USC wasn’t one of those to receive a call, and that really wouldn’t be much of surprise. Publicly he’s deciding between USC, Miami, ASU and Oregon, but most will be surprised if he doesn’t choose the Trojans on signing day.

GarryP: And all signs point in that direction for Houston as well. Let’s talk Porter Gustin. i do think as of today that he will be a Trojan but i’m definitely keeping an eye on Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes with that official visit this weekend.

Johnny: Gustin definitely seems to be a bit of a toss-up right now. The Trojans coaching staff has a great, long-standing relationship with him, and they certainly have a great shot at winding up with his signature, but Ohio State and Arizona State are right there as well, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him choose one of those two schools on Tuesday (When he’ll announce) either. He even took a trip to Utah this week, so perhaps they’re in the mix more than we realize.

GarryP: You and i talked yesterday about Gustin and the fact that he could end up at a couple different positions if he signs with the Trojans, such as mike linebacker or rush end. And we then talked about the thought of T.J. Wheatley still being out there as a rush end candidate as well, and maybe even getting a look at tight end. i know there has been a lot of speculation that Wheatley would follow his dad to Michigan but what do you think of the chances that he slips into the SC class?

Johnny: He’s certainly still seriously in play for the Trojans. Marques Tuiasosopo and the rest of the USC coaches have really stayed on him. He hasn’t discussed Michigan a lot since his father was hired there, but he was spotted at a Wolverines hoops game earlier this week, so you’ve got to think that he’s been getting familiar with that program as of late. They definitely look like USC’s biggest challenge, and it could be a big one for the Trojans to overcome. Alabama, UCLA and Oregon are the other contenders.

GarryP: We also had the midweek visit from Kevin Scott, who was even tweeting out pictures of himself in a #55 jersey. By all accounts he had a great visit and i noted how he talked about how much he learned about the overall USC educational experience. I think that’s important when you look at getting a guy like Biggie Marshall on campus for a visit, no matter how many times a recruit may have been on campus before that is different than having a chance to get the full recruiting presentation that comes with the official visit.

Johnny: That’s right, and it can’t hurt that Scott wants to major in Communication. Annenberg is one of the best around. He’s got Ole Miss coming up this weekend, and he’s already tripped to Miami and Purdue, but Sarkisian and his staff have been going all out in trying to get him to stay home, and I think there’s a good chance he will.

GarryP: So we’ve mentioned 6 guys who could conceivably end up at SC but only 4 spots, which brings the blueshirt option into play. We’re still heating that Clayton Johnston could end up a blueshirt if needed but so far Jay Jay Wilson has not indicated that he would be willing to take that offer.

Johnny: That’s right. I think the blueshirt designation isn’t real appealing to him. Arizona State has been showing Wilson a lot of love, and they look like the favorite here. He’ll also visit Colorado this upcoming weekend, and he visited Utah in December.

GarryP: Let’s go ahead and give our “official” predictions for each guy based on where we stand today. Rasheem Green – Trojan.

Johnny: USC

GarryP: Biggie Marshall – Trojan

Johnny: USC

GarryP: John Houston – Trojan

Johnny: USC

GarryP: Porter Gustin – Trojan as of today

Johnny: USC – but I’m not totally confident.

GarryP: T.J. Wheatley – I think Wolverine unless Gustin goes elsewhere, then I think he could be a Trojan.

Johnny: Michigan

GarryP: Scott – Trojan

Johnny: USC

GarryP: Johnston – blueshirt

Johnny: I agree, blueshirt

GarryP: Wilson – ASU

Johnny: ASU

GarryP: And finally, the Trojans will be hosting their Junior Day tomorrow and there is a real good group expected. Can you list the names you’ve got so far?

Johnny: Yes, this is always a big day for the coaches in terms of helping to build those relationships with the top junior stars. Here’s a look at who we’re hearing will be there as of right now:

RB Damian Alloway (Fontana, Calif./Summit)

TE Devin Asiasi (Concord, Calif./De La Salle)

LB Krys Barnes (Bakersfield, Calif./Liberty)

DL Oluwole Betiku (Gardena, Calif./Serra)

ATH Brandon Burton (Gardena, Calif./Serra)

S Marquel Dismuke (Compton, Calif./Dominguez)

WR Simi Fehoko (Salt Lake City, Utah/Brighton)

ATH Demetric Felton (Temecula, Calif./Great Oak)

LB Darrian Franklin (Downey, Calif./Downey)

WR Theo Howard (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake)

WR Jackie Jones (Long Beach, Calif./Poly)

LB Mique Juarez (Torrance, Calif./North) – USC commit

ATH David Long (Los Angeles, Calif./Loyola)

OL Frank Martin (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei)

WR Javon McKinley (Corona, Calif./Centennial)

WR Steffon McKnight (San Diego, Calif./Mira Mesa)

ATH D.J. Morgan (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco)

ATH Byron Murphy (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro)

ATH Kahi Neves (South Jordan, Utah/Brighton)

ATH Darian Owens (Fresno, Calif./Clovis West)

WR Michael Pittman (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian)

S C.J. Pollard (Gardena, Calif.)

WR Grant Porter (Upland, Calif./Upland)

LB Curtis Robinson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei)

ATH Trevon Sidney (La Puente, Calif./Bishop Amat)

ATH Khalil Tate (Gardena, Calif./Serra)

DT Boss Tagaloa (Concord, Calif./De La Salle)

S Shurod Thompson (Pittsburg, Calif./Pittsburg)

LB Lokeni Toailoa (Rialto, Calif./Carter)

CB Leni Toailoa (Rialto, Calif./Carter)

ATH Chacho Ulloa (Corona, Calif./Centennial)

WR Tyler Vaughns (La Puente, Calif./Bishop Amat)

LB Blake Walls (Gardena, Calif./Serra)

DE Evan Weaver (Spokane, Wash./Gonzaga Prep)

CB Tre Webb (Anaheim, Calif./Servite)

S Chris Wilcox (Corona, Calif./Roosevelt)

DE Bryson Young (Clovis, Calif./Buchanan)

GarryP: Will be very interesting to hear if there are any commitments to come out of the event, although the one commit from last year (Taeon Mason) will not end up as part of the USC class so you never know how firm things are with so much time left before this group actually signs. It could also make a good impression if the Trojans are able to have Biggie Marshall on his visit, the junior recruits would certainly notice if Biggie was hanging around while they were taking in the day.

Johnny: Absolutely, great players typically like to play with other great players, and Biggie certainly is a known commodity.

GarryP: OK, thanks Johnny, we will talk again next week as signing day gets close.

Garry Paskwietz

A 1988 graduate of USC with a degree in Sports Information. Worked in sports marketing for LA Lakers and Miller Brewing Company. Began covering the Trojans in 1996 with the Trojan Football Fax. Founded WeAreSC in November 1998 with stints at Scout and ESPN. Emmy-winner while covering high school football at Fox Sports West.

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