Tales From The Road: USC

Every Wednesday, the WeAreSC staff will take a quick-hit look at some of the top recruits and storylines facing USC recruiting for the week.

This week’s targets: Assistant coach Ed Orgeron dropped by River Ridge (La.) John Curtis Christian over the weekend to see safety Mattrell McGraw, No. 2-rated receiver Malachi Dupre and four-star linebacker Kenny Young in their spring scrimmage. Assistant coach Mike Ekeler checked in with ESPN 150 linebackers Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South) and Nyles Morgan (Crete, Ill./Crete-Monee) at their respective schools on Monday, while three-star outside linebacker Michael Smith (Miami, Fla./Northwestern) said he also received a visit from USC. On Monday night, local receiver Brandon Burton (Gardena, Calif./Serra) became the first Class of 2016 prospect to land a Trojans scholarship offer.

Prospect performance: Last weekend’s Nike Football Training Camp in Oakland had a USC flavor to it. Five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) shined in one-on-one drills, just a day after winning his section’s track and field title with a record-setting long jump of 25 feet. Jackson received an invitation to The Opening, as did fellow USC targets Joe Mixon, Michiah Quick and Adarius Pickett. Trojans defensive tackle commit Tashon Smallwood (Fresno, Calif./Central) also turned in an impressive performance in pass rushing drills. Fast-rising cornerback John Plattenburg (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and guard Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch), whom have garnered interest from USC assistant James Cregg, took home DB and OL MVP honors, respectively.

Area of interest: The Southeast region has been fruitful to the Trojans in the past, so it’s no surprise Tee Martin and Orgeron, the assistants in charge of the area, have once again set their sights on that corner of the country. Orgeron hit the region hard the last two weeks, making stops along the Florida coastline in search of the next Leonard Williams. Four-star offensive guard Isaiah Wynn (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood) was one of the subjects. “He said USC wants me,” Wynn recalled. The Trojans are in the thick of it for No. 1-rated receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead), five-star athlete Speedy Noil (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr) and ESPN 150 defensive tackle Gerald Willis III (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr), among others.

Word on the street: From Derek R., via e-mail: If USC takes one running back in this class, is it Joe Mixon or Royce Freeman?

They differ in running style and body type but, theoretically, the Trojans would be happy to sign either one of them. Freeman, more of the power back, landed his offer last week and would fit well with the grind-it-out scheme of new running game coordinator Mike Summers. With that being said, Mixon’s multi-faceted skill set might be unmatched, at least on the West Coast. He could easily be ranked in the ESPN 150 at both receiver and safety, as well. I would give the nod to Mixon at this point, especially if it meant that good friends D.J. Calhoun and Adarius Pickett of El Cerrito (Calif.) would join him.

What to watch: This weekend’s Prime Time Polynesian linemen camp in Corona (Calif.) should draw plenty of talent, including USC defensive end commit Austin Maloata (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and top targets Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and Ainuu Taua (Lompoc, Calif./Lompoc). The setting usually allows for the top-rated prospects to match up one on one, so there should be plenty of intrigue with that group of linemen scheduled to attend. Delp, who continues to generate interest, is also expected to compete.