By Johnny Curren
Having just helped guide visiting Glendora (Calif.) to a Palomares League title-clinching 35-14 victory over Claremont, ESPN 300 quarterback and USC commit Matt Fink had trouble containing his emotions this past Friday night.
“We knew this was the game,” Fink said. “This was actually special for me because I played my first varsity game here, and now I ended up winning my only league championship here. It’s just an incredible feeling. I’m kind of choking up a little bit, but it was just an amazing experience.”
With Glendora deciding to grind it out with their rushing attack to a tune of 389 yards, Fink didn’t have an opportunity to put up the gaudiest of numbers through the air, completing just 5 of 10 passes for 64 yards. He did, however, pick up an additional 81 yards and one touchdown on the ground, while also directing the offense up and down the field with the poise that can only come with being a three-year starter, and in in the end, he was more than content to share the spotlight for the sake of what wound up being a pivotal victory.
“It doesn’t matter,” Fink said. “The W is all that matters, that’s for sure. And the fact is I’d rather have all of my guys do the work. I’ve got to do my job, and they’ve got to do their job, and as long as we do that we’re going to win games because that’s how good we are.”
Having verbally committed to the Trojans in May, Fink was obviously caught off-guard by the recent firing of Steve Sarkisian, but after talking to interim coach Clay Helton immediately following the highly publicized dismissal, and then again in person at USC recently, it’s safe to say that his pledge is still solid.
“We’re on good terms, and as of right now I’m 100 percent USC still, and I see it staying that way,” Fink said.
Of everyone on the Trojans staff, Helton is the coach that Fink has been in contact with most frequently throughout the process, and he’s a big reason why the talented dual-threat passer still feels so confident with his decision.
“I feel like I have a good connection with Coach Helton,” Fink said. “I’ve been talking to him ever since I first started getting recruited from SC, so I just feel like we’ve gained a lot of trust throughout this entire process. I just feel like he really likes me, he really trusts me, and that he really wants me to strive to be the SC quarterback.”
Having built up that bond, Fink obviously likes the idea of playing under Helton as USC’s permanent head coach. But with the future of the job still very much up in the air, if a new head coach were to be brought in, would it throw a wrench in his plans?
“It might, but I can’t really say anything one way or the other unless that does happen,” Fink said. “I’d probably wait because USC is pretty much like a family to me now. I’d probably wait and see about the new staff.”
For now, though, there’s little doubt that Fink is all USC, and if everything goes to plan, he’ll be on campus and enrolled in January.
“The plan is still to enroll early,” Fink said, “and I’m taking my official the second week of December.”
News and notes
– ESPN 300 defensive tackle and Trojans commit Keyshon Camp (Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson) will take an official visit to USC this coming weekend (Nov. 6).
– ESPN 300 wide receiver Theo Howard (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake) verbally committed to UCLA on Sunday over USC, Texas A&M and others.
– ESPN 300 wide receiver N’Keal Harry (Chandler, Ariz./Chandler) will announce his decision on Monday at 1:30 MT. He will choose from a final five that includes Arizona State, Oregon, Texas A&M, USC and Washington.
– USC offered ESPN 300 wide receiver Binjimen Victor (Coconut Creek, Fla./Coconut Creek) early last week, joining a list of well over 30 schools that includes the likes of Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Miami (Fla.) and Ohio State.
– Class of 2017 wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr. (Calabasas, Calif./Calabasas) released a top 5 on Sunday that included (in alphabetical order) Alabama, Clemson, Nebraska, Ohio State and USC.
– Class of 2017 defensive end Haskell Garrett (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman) also recently announced his top 5, and USC made the cut along with Penn State, Texas A&M, UCLA and Oklahoma.
– USC received a verbal commitment from T.J. Brock (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade) for track and field. The defending CIF state 100-meter champion, he’s also a talented Class of 2016 defensive back and wide receiver who will likely join the Trojans football team at some point in the future.
A look at the stats some recruits recorded in their games this past weekend
Class of 2016
* TE Cary Angeline (Exton, Pa./Downingtown East) – USC commit
– Caught three passes for 63 yards and one touchdown, and also returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown in a 45-0 victory over West Chester (Pa.) East.
* DL Keyshon Camp (Lakeland, Fla./Lake Gibson) – USC commit
– Had nine tackles including five tackles-for-loss with two sacks in a 24-20 victory over Sebring (Fla.).
* QB Matt Fink (Glendora, Calif./Glendora) – USC commit
– Completed 5 of 10 passes for 62 yards, while also rushing for 81 yards and one touchdown in the victory over Claremont.
* WR Velus Jones (Saraland, Ala./Saraland) – USC commit
– Caught a 31-yard touchdown pass on offense, and came up with an interception on defense in a 34-30 loss to Eight Mile (Ala.) Blount.
* WR Michael Pittman (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) – USC commit
– Had six receptions for 143 yards and one touchdown in a 56-7 victory over Moorpark.
* CB/WR Jackie Jones (Long Beach, Calif./Poly)
– Had five receptions for 97 yards and one touchdown, as well as 25 yards rushing in a 53-9 victory over Long Beach (Calif.) Jordan.
* LB Mique Juarez (Torrance, Calif./North)
– Completed 9 of 15 passes for 98 yards and one touchdown, while also rushing for 127 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-14 victory over Lawndale (Calif.) Leuzinger.
* CB Byron Murphy (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro)
– Had six receptions for 99 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-33 victory over Phoenix (Ariz.) O’Connor.
Class of 2017
* RB Stephen Carr (Fontana, Calif./Summit) – USC commit
– Rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, while also making two touchdown catches in a 54-6 victory over Fontana (Calif.) Kaiser.
* WR Amari Rodgers (Knoxville, Tenn./Catholic) – USC commit
– Returned the opening kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown, and also caught an 18-yard touchdown pass in a 51-0 victory over Maynardville (Tenn.) Union County.
* WR Terrell Bynum (Anaheim, Calif./Servite)
– Had 92 receiving yards and one touchdown in a 30-20 victory over Cota de Caza (Calif.) Santa Margarita Catholic.
* RB Najee Harris (Antioch, Calif./Antioch)
– Rushed for 105 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries in a 62-9 victory over Antioch (Calif.) Deer Valley.
* WR Tyjon Lindsey (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman)
– Caught three passes for 129 yards and one touchdown in a 70-3 victory over Las Vegas (Nev.) Palo Verde.
* TE Colby Parkinson (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian)
– Caught two passes for 45 yards in the victory over Moorpark.
Class of 2018
* QB Matt Corral (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian)
– Completed 13 of 19 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over Moorpark.
* RB T.J. Pledger (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade)
– Rushed for 108 yards and four touchdowns on 10 carries in a 48-0 victory over Encino (Calif.) Crespi.
* RB Nathan Tilford (Upland, Calif./Upland)
– Rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, and also compiled an interception on defense in a 38-7 victory over Rancho Cucamonga