By Johnny Curren
While it’s the Trojans’ struggles on the field that have understandably dominated the headlines as of late, there have also been some key developments when it comes to USC’s recruiting efforts in recent days. Here’s a look.
Tufele names USC in Top 7
South Jordan (Utah) Bingham’s Jay Tufele – one of the most heralded Class of 2017 defensive tackle prospects in the nation – released his Top 7 this past Saturday, and USC made the cut. In no order of preference, the 6-foot-3, 297-pound standout listed the Trojans along with Ohio State, Utah, Washington, UCLA, Michigan and BYU.
Having been to USC on two occasions already, including this past winter, Tufele has had heavy interest in the Trojans for quite awhile now, and he holds a solid relationship with Defensive Line Coach Kenechi Udeze. At the same time, he also has a high comfort-level with in-state Utah – which took down the Trojans in Salt Lake City this past Friday night – as well as BYU, and he’s also grown closer with the staffs at Michigan, Ohio State and Washington as time has gone on, so it’s safe to say that USC has a real battle on its hands.
Tufele has actually been sidelined this season after suffering ligament damage in his foot while participating in The Opening this past summer, but he does figure to return to action at some point this fall. He plans on taking all five of his official visits before making a final decision.
The Trojans currently have two defensive tackle commits from the Class of 2017 in the fold in Round Rock’s (Texas) James Lynch and Weston (Fla.) Cypress Bay’s Jacob Lichtenstein, the latter of whom could also potentially wind up at outside linebacker. Likely to take up to three more defensive tackles, others at the top of the wish list whom the Trojans are doing well with include Martin Andrus (Los Angeles, Calif./Los Angeles), Terrance Lang (Pasadena, Calif./Maranatha), Greg Rogers (Las Vegas, Nev./Arbor View) and Marvin Wilson (Bellaire, Texas/Episcopal).
Class of 2019 star earns USC offer, then has record outing
Having emerged as USC quarterback commit Matt Corral’s go-to wide receiver this past summer during the high school 7-on-7 circuit, it became apparent that it was only a matter of time before offers started to pour in for Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian’s Mycah Pittman, and last Friday morning the Trojans decided to beat the rush, becoming the first school to do just that.
The younger brother of current USC freshman wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., the 6-foot-0, 190-pound Class of 2019 prospect then followed up that news by going out that same night and putting on an eye-popping show, making 13 catches for 380 yards and two touchdowns in the Lions’ 70-62 loss to Murrieta (Calif.) Valley. His 380 receiving yards tied a state record set by Sacramento’s Damen Wheeler in 2013. Corral, by the way, passed for a school-record 503 yards in that same game.
It’s still extremely early in Pittman’s recruitment, but with an older brother on campus, and two Class of 2018 teammates in Corral and Bo Calvert currently committed to USC, the Trojans figure to have the inside track here.
Carr, Williams put up big numbers
Corral isn’t the only USC pledge that lit up the stat sheet this past Friday night. From the Class of 2017, Fontana (Calif.) Summit running back Stephen Carr and Mobile (Ala.) McGill-Toolen wide receiver Marlon Williams both put up impressive numbers as well.
Carr rushed for 202 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-28 victory over Wildomar (Calif.) Elsinore. He also had one more touchdown run that was called back.
Williams, meanwhile, hauled in five passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns, and he rushed for two more touchdowns on the ground in a 28-6 victory over Eight Mile (Ala.) Blount.
We will have more of the statistical numbers that USC’s commits and targets racked up this past weekend in our normal Tuesday feature.
Salvon Ahmed picks UW
Kirkland (Wash.) Juanita Class of 2017 standout Salvon Ahmed gave a verbal pledge to Washington this past Friday, choosing the Huskies over USC, Notre Dame, Oregon and Stanford.
The Trojans were once thought to be one of the frontrunners to land the talented athlete. He earned an offer from USC in the summer of 2015 after participating in the Rising Stars Camp at running back, but he shined at cornerback this past offseason in the 7-on-7 and camp circuit, and he was being recruited by most programs – including USC – as a potential two-way performer.
In the end, the draw to stay home and play for the Huskies was too much for USC, or the others schools on his list, to overcome. The fact that Washington is rolling on the field right now, with an undefeated record, couldn’t have hurt either.