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National recruiting analyst Craig Haubert joins ESPN's Phil Murphy at Nike's The Opening to discuss updates to the ESPN Class Rankings for 2015 football recruiting. Six prospects committed Tuesday live on ESPNU.

Pac-12 lunch links

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
2:30
PM PT
I would rather learn what it feels like to burn than feel nothing at all.
We're continuing our preseason position reviews. Please, hold your applause until we are finished.

Here's how we do this. We provide three evaluative categories: "Great shape," "Good shape" and "We'll see."

Hint: You'd prefer your team to be in "Great shape."

"We'll see" doesn't mean you're going to stink at said position. It means just what it says -- we'll see, because there's no way at present to know.

You can review last year's rankings here.

Up next: Linebacker. Teams in each category are listed in alphabetical order.

GREAT SHAPE

Oregon: The Ducks are in great shape with inside linebackers Derrick Malone and Rodney Hardrick returning next to outside linebacker Tony Washington. The only departure they’ll have to account for is Boseko Lokombo, and that spot appears destined for Tyson Coleman once he’s completely healthy following a knee injury that sidelined him for the Alamo Bowl. Sophomore Torrodney Prevot is one of several talented young players to keep an eye on when the Ducks empty their bench during blowouts.

Oregon State: The Beavers are deep at linebacker with D.J. Alexander, Jabral Johnson and Michael Doctor projected to start in their 4-3 scheme. Rommel Mageo was a starter down the stretch last season and should see plenty of playing time, as will Caleb Saulo and Darrell Songy.

USC: Only outside linebacker Devon Kennard is gone from a a solid group that should have a rather seamless transition playing in new defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox's 3-4 defense. Hayes Pullard and Anthony Sarao figure to start inside, with Jabari Ruffin or Quinton Powell playing outside opposite J.R. Tavai.

Washington: The Huskies weren’t fully stocked during the spring, but figure to have one of the best groups in the conference with John Timu playing between Shaq Thompson and Travis Feeney. Cory Littleton can be listed at defensive end or outside linebacker -- UW calls him a rush end -- and is coming off a productive sophomore season.

GOOD SHAPE

Colorado: Addison Gillam led the Pac-12 in tackles per game last year (8.9) and will likely start between sophomore Kenneth Olugbode and senior Woodson Greer. The Buffaloes have depth, too, with Brady Daigh, a reliable backup for Gillam, and outside linebacker Deaysean Rippy, who sat out last season after transferring from Pittsburgh. Rippy was listed as an alternative starter to Greer on Colorado’s post spring depth chart.

Stanford: There might not be a more difficult task in the conference than replacing outside linebacker Trent Murphy and inside linebacker Shayne Skov, both of whom drew All-American accolades in multiple season. Inside linebacker A.J. Tarpley, already a three-year starter, is one of the conference’s unheralded players and outside linebacker James Vaughters is poised for a breakout senior season. Kevin Andersen has seen a lot of playing time over the past two years at outside linebacker, but the other inside spot needs to be ironed out.

UCLA: Like Stanford, the Bruins have a tough task in replacing Anthony Barr and Jordan Zumwalt, but have two talented returners in Eric Kendricks and Myles Jack. UCLA could very well end up one of the best groups in the conference pending the development of Kenny Orjioke, Deon Hollins, Isaako Savaiinaea and Zach Whitley.

Utah: Junior Jason Whittingham is a potential first-team all-conference type player and the Utes are high on Jared Norris, who started seven games last year. The group looked even better when Miami-transfer Gionni Paul was projected to contribute, but the start to his season is expected to be delayed by a broken bone in his foot. Uaea Masina, after contributing on special teams last year, will likely see a lot of playing time.

Washington State: Darryl Monroe and Cyrus Coen return as starters and Tana Pritchard, who saw his role grow as the season went along, will be leaned on heavily. The final spot up for grabs is the ‘buck,’ which looks like it will come down to Kache Palacio, a slight favorite who started at the end of the season, and Ivan McLennan. Chester Su'a could also make some noise after missing last season with an injury.

WE'LL SEE

Arizona: The Wildcats need to replace three-year starter Marquis Flowers and two-year starter Jake Fischer. Scooby Wright started 12 games as a true freshman last season and gives the Wildcats a good piece to start with, but we’ll take a wait-and-see approach once the other pieces are in place. The good news is that Arizona has recruited well at linebacker.

Arizona State: Salamo Fiso returns, but having to replace three of the four starters from a year ago leaves more questions than answers. Early-enrollee D.J. Calhoun drew rave reviews during spring practice, but will have to beat out redshirt junior Antonio Longino for a starting job. Eriquel Florence (devil), and Laiu Moeakiola/Marcus Washington (spur) were also listed as starters at the end of spring practice.

Cal: Jalen Jefferson, Michael Barton and Hardy Nickerson are all back, but after last season’s defensive woes it’s hard to go in with much optimism. The situation at linebacker is clearly better than it was last year, but that’s not inspiring enough not to erase speculation.

OTHER POSITION REVIEWS:
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ESPN 300 athlete Porter Gustin (Salem, Utah/Salem Hills) took time out to talk recruiting and more with WeAreSC's Garry Paskwietz on Tuesday at The Opening.
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BEAVERTON, Ore. -- The first day of The Opening was highlighted by a commitment for the Trojans from Isaiah Langley (Pleasanton, California/Foothill), the No. 7-rated athlete in the ESPN 300 rankings. Langley (6-foot, 164 pounds) is a versatile receiver/corner who will focus on the defensive side of the ball for the Trojans. With good height and long arms to go along with solid coverage skills, Langley is the latest example of USC coach Steve Sarkisian's efforts to upgrade the cornerback spot.

"I'm a lockdown corner," Langley said. "I can bring some kind of physicality, but for the most part I'm a coverage guy."

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ESPN 300 prospect Isaiah Langley has committed to play in-state for the Trojans. Read below to see Tom Luginbill's take on USC's big pickup:


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Travis Haney previews the college football future power rankings and discusses a few teams on the rise and a few teams that have fallen off.

Kenny Bigelow done for season

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
1:30
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LOS ANGELES -- Southern California defensive lineman Kenny Bigelow is out for the season after tearing his right ACL during non-contact drills in a voluntary workout.

The redshirt freshman was expected to compete for a starting spot. He redshirted last year to adjust to the college ranks. Returning starters Leonard Williams and Antwaun Woods will anchor the defensive line, but the third spot remains open.

Bigelow's injury was announced on the school's blog.


(Read full post)


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Some USC fans still have bitter feelings about Pete Carroll's departure.

But the Seattle Seahawks head coach will be inducted into the University of Southern California Hall of Fame in 2015, the school announced Monday.

The former Trojans football coach is one of 16 people who have been named to the hall's 11th class. They will be introduced at halftime of USC's game against Oregon State on Sept. 27 at Los Angeles Coliseum.

Carroll coached at USC from 2001-09, leading the Trojans to two national championships (2003 and 2004), seven consecutive Pac-10 titles (2002-08) and a 97-19 overall record. USC made bowl trips in each of Carroll's nine seasons, winning seven of those games.

Carroll left USC after the 2009 season to join the Seahawks, leading the team to a Super Bowl victory in his fourth season with Seattle.

Some USC fans criticized Carroll when he left, feeling his decision came before the football program came under NCAA sanctions. Carroll has said repeatedly that was not a factor in his decision.

Among the other inductees are former football and baseball coach Jack Del Rio, baseball player Mark Prior and golfer Jennifer Rosales. They were chosen by a 75-member panel of media, previous Hall of Fame members, Trojan head coaches and athletic department senior staff.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


(Read full post)


Pac-12's lunch links

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
2:30
PM PT
Cinnamon. It should be on tables in restaurants along with salt and pepper. Anytime someone says, "Ooh, this is so good -- what's in this?" the answer invariably comes back, "cinnamon." Cinnamon. Again and again.

Watch list week continues with the release of the names on John Mackey Award and Rimington Trophy lists.

Here are the Pac-12 players on both lists:

John Mackey (tight end)

Washington's Austin Seferian-Jenkins won the award last season, but he left early for the NFL and was drafted in the second round by Tampa Bay. Looking strictly at how productive each of these players were as receivers a year ago -- which will always be the most significant factor in this award -- Hamlett has to be considered the conference's early favorite to contend for the award. He had 40 catches for 364 yards and five touchdowns a year ago and the Beavers need a combination of players to step up to replace Brandin Cooks' production.

The midseason watch list will be released on Oct. 13, the semifinalists will be named on Nov. 17 and the finalists will be revealed on Nov. 24.

Rimington (center)

Grasu, a two-time first-team All-Pac-12 selection, might be the favorite nationally after being named a finalist a year ago. Seumalo and Brendel are both team captains that started every game the past two seasons, while Gurrola, a one-time junior-college All-American, helped paved the way for Ka'Deem Carey last season. Shuler was included despite not having started a game for the Cardinal.

Note: A spring list was also released and there were no changes relating to the Pac-12.

Other watch lists
BEAVERTON, Ore. -- There was a lot of activity for USC recruits on Monday as the Elite 11 quarterbacks finished up their second day of on-field work. Participants for The Opening also arrived in anticipation of events starting Tuesday.

Both quarterbacks Ricky Town and Sam Darnold went a trio of activities -- including a half-skelly drill at the end of the session. Town made one of the highlights of the day with a 30-yard touchdown pass that drew praise from Trent Dilfer, one of the coaches for the event. Town did not make the top 10 list from the first day of action as he continues to battle back from a recent right knee injury so it will be interesting to see where he stands as the competition progresses.

Darnold continues to impress as one of the surprise stories of the event. A relative sleeper at the start of this recruiting cycle after being injured early in his junior year, Darnold combines a 6-foot-4 frame with an easy-going demeanor on the the field. One coach at the event said Darnold might be a sleeper to some but being at the Elite 11 isn't too big for him. Darnold will narrow his finalists after the camp is over and the speculation is that USC and Oregon are the schools to beat. Darnold can also observe both Town (USC) and Travis Waller (Oregon) at the Elite 11 event, before he decides at the start of his senior year.

A pair of targets on the Trojan wish list are scheduled to announce their choices this week: offensive lineman Andre James and defensive back/wide receiver Isaiah Langley. James recently took unofficial visits to both USC and UCLA and says he already knows his ultimate destination. The Trojans already have three potential tackles committed in this class, and James could project at tackle as well. James says the other commits will not impact his decision. Langley is tall and lean and can play on either side of the ball, but his future is likely on defense where he would play corner. His top choices are USC, UCLA, ASU, Oregon and Cal.

Defensive end recruit Keisean Lucier-South made it to the event after the first plane ride of his life. "I was sweating and my head started hurting," he said. Keisean said five schools are sticking out right now: USC, UCLA, Florida, Michigan and Oklahoma.

One of the top players from Hawaii, offensive guard Fred Ulu-Perry, is also in the process of shortening his final list. Recent offers from UCLA and Oregon put those schools in consideration but Ulu-Perry took part in the recent USC Rising Stars Camp and said he is willing to wait on an offer from the Trojans because that would put them at the top of his top list.

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