By Johnny Curren
USC recruiting notebook – Juarez puts on a show
With his North Torrance (Calif.) team having gone down in defeat to Redondo Beach (Calif.) Redondo Union in their season-opener one week earlier, ESPN 300 linebacker and USC commit Mique Juarez was determined to do everything that he could to ensure that the Saxons came away with a victory over Rolling Hills Estates (Calif.) Peninsula this past Friday, and it’s safe to say that’s exactly what he did…and then some.
Lining up at quarterback, linebacker, safety, defensive end as well as on special teams as a punt and kick return man, Juarez put on a one-man show. On offense, the dynamic 6-foot-2, 226-pound athlete passed for three touchdowns, rushed for three scores and ran for a two-point conversion, and he also made his presence felt on defense, coming up with some big hits in a 40-14 victory.
But even after all that, Juarez said afterwards that he wasn’t satisfied with his performance, noting that he isn’t where he wants to be right now, physically, after suffering a hamstring injury at The Opening this past summer that threw a wrench into his offseason conditioning regimen.
“I’m not playing at my highest potential right now,” Juarez said. “I know I have some improving to do, but other than that, I give myself some good credit. But my team did everything to help me out here today.”
On the recruiting front, Juarez gave a verbal pledge to USC this past January, and while he’s been open with the fact that his recruitment is still far from over, he says that, at least at this point, he’s still all Trojan.
“As of right now I’m still standing with USC,” Juarez said. “Nothing has changed. I’m just enjoying the process still, obviously, but nothing has changed.”
Before finishing, however, he did add:
“You never know. Anything could happen.”
That tone of uncertainty has been a mark of Juarez’s recruitment from the beginning. In addition to the Trojans, he has heavy interest in UCLA, and on Friday he said that he’s hoping to set up official visits to Nebraska, Ole Miss and Oregon, as well as to either Michigan or Oklahoma. Neither USC nor UCLA are in line for official visits due to the fact that he’s already visited each campus on a number of occasions unofficially, and he plans to continue to do so.
As for what is keeping him with the Trojans right now, Juarez said that it’s primarily his relationship with linebackers coach Peter Sirmon and the rest of the staff.
“They’re special people to be around,” said Juarez, who said that Sirmon envisions him filling a role similar to Su’a Cravens at ‘sam’ linebacker. “They’re always there, they’re always trying to talk to me, and just being around them, you feel good about them.”
With Juarez still evaluating things, he said that he’s going to be keeping close tabs on the different programs under consideration this fall, particularly USC and UCLA.
“I’m just going to be watching the players that they compare me with.” Juarez said. “I want to see how they use them, especially USC because they have a lot of linebackers over there, and I want to see how they use those guys – the reps they get. And as for UCLA, I want to see how they use Myles Jack. Obviously, he’s going to be a stud. But I just want to see what they do with their best players, how they use them and what they do with them, so it’s going to play a big role.”
Whether or not the Trojans hold on and win out in the Juarez sweepstakes remains to be seen, and it’s something that might not be completely settled until signing day.
“As of right now, I committed to USC, and I’m good with the decision that I made,” Juarez said, “but as I said, anything can happen.”
News and notes
– Class of 2017 defensive end Jarez Parks (Sebastian River, Fla./Sebastian River), the No. 45 ranked prospect in the ESPN Junior 300, received an offer from USC late last week.
– Class of 2016 linebacker and Trojans pledge Daelin Hayes (Ann Arbor, Mich./Skyline) took an unofficial visit to Notre Dame this past weekend, but remains committed to USC.
– ESPN 300 cornerback Byron Murphy (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro) recently narrowed his list of schools under consideration to eight, and USC made the cut. Others on the list include Arizona State, Texas A&M, Texas, Washington, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and Arizona.
– Among the recruits who took in USC’s victory at home against Arkansas State this past weekend were Class of 2016 Trojans commits Liam Jimmons, Trevon Sidney and Tyler Vaughns, Class of 2016 prospects Cameron Smith and Tre Webb, Class of 2017 Trojans commits Stephen Carr and Thomas Graham Jr., and Class of 2018 prospect Christian Tutt.
A look at the stats some recruits recorded in their games this past weekend
CLASS OF 2016
* QB Matt Fink (Glendora, Calif./Glendora) – USC commit
– Completed 9 of 13 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, while also rushing for 62 yards in a 24-14 victory over Alta Loma (Calif.).
* LB Daelin Hayes (Ann Arbor, Mich./Skyline) – USC commit
– Had 8 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble on defense, while also catching a seven-yard touchdown pass on offense in a 45-6 Okemos (Mich.).
* WR Josh Imatorbhebhe (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett) – USC commit
– Had two receptions for 74 yards and one touchdown in a 31-19 victory over Powder Springs (Ga.) Hillgrove.
* WR Velus Jones (Saraland, Ala./Saraland) – USC commit
– Returned the opening kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and caught four passes for 51 yards in a 45-7 victory over Robertsdale (Ala.).
* LB Mique Juarez (Torrance, Calif./North Torrance) – USC commit
– Passed for three touchdowns, rushed for three touchdowns and scored on a two-point conversion run in the victory over Peninsula.
* WR Michael Pittman (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) – USC commit
– Caught 12 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns on offense and recorded a sack on defense in a 35-33 victory over San Diego (Calif.) Cathedral Catholic.
* WR Tyler Vaughns (La Puente, Calif./Bishop Amat) – USC commit
– Caught nine passes for 109 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over Servite.
* TE Devin Asiasi (Concord, Calif./De La Salle)
– Caught three passes for 68 yards for 37-31 victory over San Mateo (Calif.) Serra.
* WR Theo Howard (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake)
– Caught four passes for 99 yards in a 28-18 loss to Mesa (Ariz.) Red Mountain.
*CB/WR Jackie Jones (Long Beach, Calif./Poly)
– Caught seven passes for 41 yards, returned one kickoff for 57 yards, and he also compiled 10 tackles and one pass deflection in a 20-17 victory over Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne.
* CB Byron Murphy (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro)
– Rushed for 64 yards and one touchdown, and caught eight passes for 96 yards in a 20-12 loss to Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle.
Class of 2017
* Stephen Carr (Fontana, Calif./Summit) – USC commit
– Rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries in a 48-35 victory over Etiwanda (Calif.).
* DE Haskell Garrett (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman)
– Had six tackles (4 solo) including 1.5 for a loss in a 38-20 victory over South Jordan (Utah) Bingham
* RB Najee Harris (Antioch, Calif./Antioch)
– Rushed for 396 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries, while also making two receptions for 94 yards and two touchdowns in a 47-22 victory over Milpitas (Calif.).
* ATH Greg Johnson (Los Angeles, Calif./Hawkins)
– On offense Johnson rushed for 123 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries, while also catching one pass for nine yards, and he also came up with an interception on defense in a 18-14 victory over Eagle Rock (Calif.).
* WR Joseph Lewis (Los Angeles, Calif./Hawkins)
– In the victory over Eagle Rock, Lewis caught three passes for 49 yards and one touchdown, had one carry for 14 yards, and made 4 tackles with one sack and one interception.
* WR Tyjon Lindsey (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman)
– Caught six passes for 137 yards and one touchdown in the victory over Bingham.
* RB Nathan Tilford (Upland, Calif./Upland)
– Rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries in a 63-7 victory over Venice (Calif.).
Class of 2018
* Jalen Hall (Los Angeles, Calif./Hawkins)
– Caught four passes for 49 yards in the victory over Eagle Rock.