With the high school football season less than two weeks away, here are 10 intriguing games involving prospects committed to USC or considering the Trojans:
Phoenix Mountain Pointe at Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, 7 p.m. PT, Fox Sports 1 — ESPN Junior 300 tight end Alize Jones, rated No. 1 at his position in the 2015 class, has drawn comparisons to USC’s Xavier Grimble, a former Bishop Gorman standout. He’ll look to take the next big step on national television, but the opener won’t be easy with Mountain Pointe’s four-star receiver Jalen Brown and four-star lineman Natrell Curtis rolling into town.
Fresno (Calif.) Central at Highlands Ranch (Colo.) Valor Christian, 7 p.m., ESPN2 — USC defensive tackle commit Tashon Smallwood and top target Michiah Quick get the spotlight as part of the 2013 ESPN High School Kickoff. Smallwood will be tested by Valor Christian’s running attack, which features Stanford commit Christian McCaffrey, and Quick will look to get open against 2015 cornerback Eric Lee.
Upland (Calif.) vs. Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei at Santa Ana Bowl — Class of 2017 receiver Nathan Tilford, who landed a USC offer this offseason, is expected to make his much anticipated high school debut alongside 2015 quarterback Tyler Hilinski for a reloaded Upland squad. Mater Dei has Washington cornerback commit Jonathan Lockett and 2015 tight end Kyle Penniston, among others.
Fresno (Calif.) Clovis North at Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco — One of the better teams in the state’s Central Section on a yearly basis, Clovis North is spearheaded by 2015 defensive tackle Jacob Daniel, who showed very well at the Oakland NFTC in the spring. Of course, St. John Bosco isn’t giving away an inch in the talent department. No. 3-rated offensive guard Damien Mama, four-star defensive end Malik Dorton, four-star athlete Jaleel Wadood and 2015 quarterback Josh Rosen are some of the area’s top recruits.
San Jose (Calif.) Bellarmine Prep vs. El Cerrito (Calif.) at Richmond (Calif.) De Anza High School — USC outside linebacker commit D.J. Calhoun and top cornerback target Adarius Pickett might face their toughest challenge of the fall in Bellarmine Prep quarterback Kyle Carta-Samuels, an Elite 11 finalist who has committed to Vanderbilt.
Long Beach (Calif.) Poly vs. Corona (Calif.) Centennial at Mission Viejo High School — Perhaps the biggest regular-season matchup in the state this year, Poly and Centennial are both stacked with noteworthy prospects a year after appearing in separate state bowl games. Poly touts No. 3-rated athlete John “JuJu” Smith, highly coveted 2015 cornerback Iman Marshall and 2015 defensive lineman Joseph Wicker, and Centennial has Trojans defensive line commit Austin Maloata, Alabama offensive line commit Viane Talamaivao and linebacker target Jaylen Johnson.
Mission Viejo (Calif.) vs. La Habra (Calif.) at Cerritos College — USC offensive guard commit Toa Lobendahn, who transferred to La Habra after three years at Lakewood, hopes to cap his high school career with a championship ring before enrolling early at USC. This matchup is an intriguing one before the start of league play.
West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade at Gardena (Calif.) Serra — In a battle that usually determines the Mission League winner, Serra and Chaminade have played some thrilling games in recent years. Serra is led by five-star prospect Adoree’ Jackson, 2015 stars Rasheem Green and John Houston Jr. and 2016 athlete Brandon Burton. Chaminade counters with Elite 11 finalist Brad Kaaya and UCLA safety commit JoJo McIntosh.
Pomona (Calif.) Diamond Ranch at Diamond Bar (Calif.) — Neighborhood bragging rights will be at stake when offensive lineman Kammy Delp, who showed well at The Opening, leads Diamond Ranch against rival Diamond Bar and 2015 standout receivers Kanya Bell and Cordell Broadus.
Encino (Calif.) Crespi at Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany — Crespi’s Marvell Tell, the No. 3-rated safety in the 2015 class, figures to get an opportunity to prove his ranking against Alemany speedster Desean Holmes, who loves to stretch the field through the air. Both prospects bagged USC offers in the spring.