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WeAreSC Mailbag (5-11 edition)


Garry, while Clay Helton is proving to be a very effective recruiter, how would you describe his recruiting style? Is a tenacious enthusiastic recruiter like Carol or more of a soft peddler when talking to recruits? I figure you must hear stuff from parents of recruits that signed with USC. Also curious about Tyson’s approach as well.

I agree. For someone who has a personality that is different from Pete Carroll we’re seeing Clay Helton experience some similar success early in his head coaching career on the recruiting trail, and I don’t think you can overstate just how many recruits mention Helton and their relationship with him as a key factor in their interest in USC. It’s been a pleasant surprise to see that side of Helton come out because it’s not something we saw a lot of when he was an assistant coach, but now that he is the head man he is definitely putting himself out front as the face of the program.  The “Faith, Family, Football” mantra is one example of a Helton stamp that has resonated, especially with several of the Polynesian families who talk about that being right in line with their values. Tyson has a lot of energy and he reminds me of a southern preacher when he talks, he’ll do well in recruiting.


Favorite class through your Sports Information major?

Always nice to answer a question about Sports Information, the greatest major in school history. I would say my favorite class was History of Sports, which was basically a sports trivia class taught by Larry Knuth, a one-time USC assistant track coach. I also liked the broadcasting class, we got to call various “mock” games and do studio work, it was a far cry from the Annenberg facilities the students have today but it was fun stuff back then.


What has caught your eye about new RB coach McCullough? I know he’s big on ball security. Curious to know what you’ve seen that we all haven’t.

The first thing that caught my eye after one of his initial practices was how he went up and asked to take a picture with Sam Cunningham. It was good to see the new USC running back coach showing proper respect for Sam. As for his on-field work, I like the detail he brings which is very consistent with the teaching aspect that he’s known for, and which fits with the rest of the staff. You referenced the ball security drills where he has brought a few new wrinkles as well (pipe fittings and water bottles).


Garry, it’s great to be a Trojan!!!

Who are the 2018 recruits that have lived up to their hype so far?

Who are the recruits that have outplayed their ranking and surprised you the most?

What’s our chances with Tavion Thomas? Hearing we have a real shot of getting him, he reminds me of Eddie George or maybe a faster Lendale.

The top two guys that have lived up to the hype this spring for me are Amon-Ra St. Brown and Palaie Gaoteote, they are as good as it gets on either side of the ball. For guys who have outplayed their ranking, I still can’t see how Solomon Tuliaupupu is ranked #220 by ESPN, he is probably my top defensive priority among the remaining recruits. As for guys who have surprised me, I’m going to say Tommy Brown right now. He’s always been on that bubble in terms of getting an SC offer but from what I’ve seen from him this spring he looks in good shape and ready to be a dominant lineman, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he ends up a Trojan.

It’s ironic that you say Eddie George for Tavion Thomas because I would certainly classify him as a longshot as long as the Buckeyes are interested.


There has been a lot of discussion about how murky the decision process for the stadium renovation has been to-date. Do you see us as having passed the point of no return? Or, do you think that the increasing vocal disapproval, among others besides the so-called ”$100 donors” can cause some reevaluation?

I do think it’s past the point of no return, especially with 73% of the tower inventory having already been sold. When I heard that number last week it really hit home that this is going to happen because it means enough money people are putting their stamp of approval on it.

Garry Paskwietz
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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