Thursday, January 12, 2012
Early enrollee profile No. 3: Scott Starr
By Pedro Moura
Going along with our end-of-year lists that looked at the top performers from the 2011 season and the top questions facing USC in 2012, we're now profiling each of the five early enrollees expected to begin classes at USC this spring, continuing through Friday.
We began Monday with No. 1 was safety Gerald Bowman, a product of nearby Pierce College, and No. 2 was defensive end Morgan Breslin of Diablo Valley College.
No. 3 is Norco linebacker Scott Starr, who's already on campus, taking classes and working out with the Trojans.
Norco linebackers have a history at USC over the past five or so years. Former player Jordan Campbell came to the Trojans from the high school; current player Dallas Kelley transferred to USC last year after graduating from Norco and then spending two years at junior college.
Starr has significantly more potential than either of those two. A 6-foot-3, 225-pounder, Starr has sufficient mobility to play any of the three linebacker slots. His fluidity as an athlete is up for debate -- he sometimes appears stiff on film -- but he consistently makes plays, including tackles, sacks, fumbles and interceptions.
He had 210 tackles and 8.5 sacks during his final two seasons in high school and reportedly made a number of big plays at last month's Semper Fi All-Star Game.
So, where does he fit? Good question. USC's three starting linebackers are presumably entrenched for the next two seasons, with Dion Bailey, Lamar Dawson and Hayes Pullard all sophomores next season. But depth isn't exactly established.
Tre Madden, Anthony Sarao and Marquis Simmons are all scholarship players returning in 2012. Madden started a game last season at strongside when Bailey was hurt; Simmons, also a strongside 'backer has played himself into starring special-teams roles but gotten hurt twice now. Sarao redshirted as the third-string weakside linebacker in 2011.
That leaves the backup middle linebacker slot wide open, and hence there are rumors USC is looking at Starr as a potential mike 'backer. The fact he's coming in early and getting a half-year of experience before the 2012 season comes around also adds credence to the possibility that he could be Dawson's No. 2.
That would make sense.
Check back for our profile of Chad Wheeler.