By Johnny Curren
After going down in defeat in an uncharacteristic 52-13 blowout loss to Corona (Calif.) Centennial one week earlier, Class of 2016 USC-commit C.J. Pollard and his Gardena (Calif.) Serra teammates were determined get back on the winning track this past Friday night, and that’s precisely what they did.
Led by a strong showing by the ESPN 300 safety and the Cavaliers defense, Serra rolled to a 43-0 shutout victory over Carson (Calif.) at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium in Long Beach, California, improving their record to 2-1 on the season.
“This win is huge,” said Pollard, who contributed with six tackles and one pass break-up in the win. “This was a big bounce-back week not just for myself, but for the whole team. Coming out like we did last week, allowing 52 points, and I was a part of that, that didn’t feel good. So, this was a real statement game for us.”
Pollard, whose father, Marvin, suited up for the Trojans as a defensive back from 1988-91, committed to USC this past July, and it’s safe to say that his pledge is just as strong today as it was when he gave it.
“I’m very solid with my commitment,” Pollard said. “I stay in contact with [Defensive Backs] Coach [Keith] Heyward. I’m there all the time. I’m a Trojan. I’m always trying to fly around and mimic some of the greats that played for USC.”
Scheduled to take his official visit to USC on the weekend of Nov. 28, with no current plans to visit any other schools, Pollard was in attendance this past weekend at the Coliseum for the Trojans’ 59-9 victory over Idaho, and he’s been particularly impressed with how many freshmen have seen action in the team’s first two games of this season. 14 freshmen saw time against the Vandals, and 13 played the week prior against Arkansas State.
“That’s opportunity central if you ask me,” Pollard said. “Guys are going to get their chance. The best are going to play, they’re going to prevail no matter what. Age doesn’t matter. If you’re good, you’re going to play.”
Capable of lining up just about anywhere in the defensive backfield, Pollard has been told by the USC staff that his future likely lies at safety with the Trojans, and as an active recruiter he’s started to target some other elite players to join him in the secondary there, namely safety Lamar Jackson (Elk Grove, Calif./Franklin) and cornerback Jackie Jones (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) – both ESPN 300 performers.
“Right now I fit in at safety,” Pollard said. “I’m aware that they want to bring in one more safety with me, and I believe three corners, so my goal right now is to try to help recruit the class. So, it would be me and another safety, hopefully Lamar Jackson. I stay in contact with Lamar. I’ve been to a couple camps with him. We’ve built a great relationship – Me, him and Jack Jones. I feel like that’s real big, and I think that’s going to come together.”
But first thing is first, and right now Pollard’s primary focus is helping to make sure that Serra builds off their most recent victory and carries the momentum on to the rest of the season.
“One game at a time, so next week we’ve got (Harbor City, Calif.) Narbonne,” Pollard said. “We’re going to hit the film room tomorrow, start dissecting that, and keep getting better.”
News and notes
– USC offered ESPN 300 cornerback Lavert Hill (Detroit, Mich./Martin Luther King) late last week. The Class of 2016 star is currently committed to Penn State.
– ESPN 300 defensive tackle Jordan Elliott (Houston, Texas/Westside) recently de-committed from Houston. The Trojans are in the mix here along with a host of others.
– ESPN 300 wide receiver Freddie Swain (Citra, Fla./North Marion) has set up an official visit to USC for the weekend of Nov. 28, when the Trojans face UCLA in the Coliseum. He also has October officials set up for Miami (Fla.) and Tennessee right now.
– Among the recruits who took in USC’s victory at home against Idaho this past weekend were Class of 2016 Trojans commits Liam Jimmons, Michael Pittman, C.J. Pollard, Trevon Sidney, Nathan Smith and Tyler Vaughns, Class of 2016 prospect Brandon Burton, Class of 2017 Trojans commit Thomas Graham Jr., Class of 2018 prospect Matt Corrall, as well as junior college defensive line prospect Josh Allen, from Long Beach City College.
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
– Had six receptions for 106 yards and one touchdown on offense, and he also had 2.5 sacks in a 35-21 victory over Philadelphia (Pa.) Roman Catholic.=
* WR Velus Jones (Saraland, Ala./Saraland) – USC commit
– Caught six passes for 119 yards in a 17-9 victory over Gulf Shores (Ala.).
* LB Mique Juarez (Torrance, Calif./North Torrance) – USC commit
– Completed 7 of 13 passes for 140 yards and three touchdowns, and he also scored two touchdowns on the ground in a 48-0 victory over Beverly Hills (Calif.).
* WR Michael Pittman (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) – USC commit
– Had touchdown receptions of 60 and 17 yards, while also making an interception on defense in a 42-6 victory over Los Angeles (Calif.) Venice.
* WR Tyler Vaughns (La Puente, Calif./Bishop Amat) – USC commit
– Had five receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and he also ran for a 10-yard touchdown in a 59-20 victory over Ontario (Calif.) Colony.
* TE Devin Asiasi (Concord, Calif./De La Salle)
– Had two receptions for 51 yards and one touchdown on offense, as well as five tackles with one sack on defense in a 52-15 victory over Anaheim (Calif.) Servite.
* DT Rashan Gary (Paramus, N.J./Paramus Catholic)
– Had two sacks in a 28-0 victory over Sparta (N.J.) Pope John XXIII.
* WR Theo Howard (Westlake Village, Calif./Westlake)
– Had 10 receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-7 victory over Los Angeles (Calif.) Garfield.
* CB Byron Murphy (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro)
– Caught seven passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns in a 49-7 victory over Mesa (Ariz.) Dobson.
* TE Isaac Nauta (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy)
– Had a 33-yard touchdown reception in a 49-7 victory over Cocoa (Fla.).
Class of 2017
* WR Amari Rodgers (Knoxville, Tenn./Catholic) – USC commit
– Caught three passes for 218 yards and three touchdowns, rushed for 112 yards on eight carries and also returned a punt 93 yards for a touchdown in a 35-17 victory over Chattanooga (Tenn.) Notre Dame.
* DE Haskell Garrett (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman)
– Compiled 10 tackles including two tackles for loss on defense, and he also rushed for a two-yard touchdown in a 35-7 victory over Bellevue (Wash.).
* RB Najee Harris (Antioch, Calif./Antioch)
– Rushed for 156 yards and one touchdown on 20 carries in a 26-3 victory over San Leandro (Calif.).
* ATH Greg Johnson (Los Angeles, Calif./Hawkins)
– In a 53-0 victory over Play Del Rey (Calif.) St. Bernard, Johnson completed 2 of 2 passes for 35 yards, rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns on four carries and caught two passes for 48 yards and one touchdown on offense, while also coming up with two tackles with one tackle for loss and one interception on defense.
* WR Joseph Lewis (Los Angeles, Calif./Hawkins)
– Caught six passes for 114 yards in the victory over St. Bernard.
* WR Tyjon Lindsey (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman)
– Caught four passes for 98 yards and one touchdown in the victory over Bellevue.
* QB Tua Tagovailoa (Honolulu, Hawaii/St. Louis)
– Completed 14 of 26 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, while also rushing for one touchdown in a 31-27 victory over Honolulu (Hawaii) Kamehameha.
Class of 2018
* QB Matt Corrall (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian)
– Completed 16 of 24 passes for 216 yards and four touchdowns in the victory over Venice.
* WR Jalen Hall (Los Angeles, Calif./Hawkins)
– Caught two passes for 69 yards and one touchdown in the victory over St. Bernard.