USC: Jennifer Song

USC gets passing grades in Academic Progress Rate report

June, 9, 2010
All USC sports stayed away from potential penalties in the NCAA's annual Academic Progress Rate report, released today for the 2008-2009 academic year.

The report measures four full academic years, dating to 2005-2006.

In football, the Trojans earned a multiyear score of 965, third in the Pac-10 conference behind Stanford and Cal. In basketball, the Trojans' four-year APR is still a lowly 924 — under the line the NCAA sets for imposing penalties — but the hoops program escaped punishment because of a 980 score in 2008-2009, showing an upward trend from previous years.

Possible punishments can include a loss of scholarships, but the NCAA typically exercises that power only in drastic circumstances.

In terms of APR, USC's best sport was women's golf, with a perfect score of 1000 — although that number will decline in the years to come with the departure of golfer Jennifer Song after just two years of school. Two other women's sports, soccer and rowing, scored better than 990.

The highest-scoring men's sport was baseball, with a score of 988 that put Chad Kreuter's squad above the 90th percentile among all baseball programs nationwide and earned the team a spot on the NCAA's Public Recognition List. Along with women's golf, baseball was one of two USC teams to earn such an award.

The NCAA reported that baseball scores were going up for many schools, because of what the athletics governing body termed a "number of sport-specific policy changes supported by the baseball community and NCAA presidents and chancellors."

USC's lowest score was turned in by the men's golf team, which earned a score of 913 for the 2008-2009 academic year. Coach Chris Zambri's squad, which tied for 15th nationally at last week's NCAA championships, also escaped punishment because of a four-year score of 976.

According to the NCAA, APR "includes eligibility, retention, and graduation as factors in the rate calculation and provides a much clearer picture of the current academic culture in each sport." It also "provides a real-time 'snapshot' of a team’s academic success each semester by looking at current academic progress of every student-athlete."

Recapping Wednesday

June, 2, 2010
A few USC-related news on this Wednesday:
  • To start it off, high school junior quarterback Cody Kessler (Bakersfield, Calif./Centennial) committed to USC on Wednesday, becoming the second signal-caller in the Class of 2011 to commit to the Trojans after Max Wittek (Corona del Mar, Calif./Mater Dei) did so in April. Kessler told our Greg Biggins: “I’ve liked USC for a long time and it’s a dream come true to be able to play there. They have so much tradition and have been the dominant program in college the last six or seven years. I have a great relationship with coach (Clay) Helton and coach (Lane) Kiffin and the depth chart sets up really well when I get there and I think I’ll be able to come in and compete for playing time pretty early. Kessler plans to enroll early next spring, a la Matt Barkley, but will face tough competition come the fall of 2011 with three other scholarship quarterbacks — Barkley and Wittek, plus 2010 recruit Jesse Scroggins (Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood).
  • In more football news, USC announced Wednesday that linebacker Jarvis Jones has been granted his release and will look to transfer. The release marks the end of an interesting sequence of events with Jones at USC, as the 6-foot-3, 234-pounder came into school nearly two years ago as a highly touted surprise commit and earned early playing time under then-coach Pete Carroll. Jones proceeded to sprain his neck against Oregon and sat out the rest of the season. On the eve of spring practice, Kiffin revealed to reporters that Jones' neck condition had not improved: “I’m not very positive about the possibilities of him playing here, at all," Kiffin said in late March. "I don’t know how to describe it from a medical perspective. There’s a serious concern that hits or a number of hits could lead to permanent damage. Obviously, Jarvis’ safety is the No. 1 issue.” Jones, a native of Columbus, Ga., was not cleared by the end of spring practice, and — although he was never officially ruled out by the university — was doubtful to suit up in a USC uniform again. Now, he is reportedly considering Louisiana State, Clemson, Florida State and Memphis.
  • Two golf tidbits: first, sophomore Jennifer Song was named Pac-10 Golfer of the Year on Wednesday after earning All-American honors this season. Song, who will leave USC to turn professional, finished fifth at the NCAA championships last month. She posted six top-five finishes on the year. Secondly, the USC men are currently tied for 16th at the NCAA championships in Chattanooga, Tenn., led by freshman Martin Trainer's one-under-par 71 in the second round Wednesday. The Trojans are a collective nine-over 585 after two days of play.

Women's golf falls just short

May, 21, 2010
USC women's golf came within one stroke of winning the 2010 NCAA Championship Friday, nearly completing a sizable comeback but missing out on the final hole.

The Women of Troy opened the fourth and final round trailing Purdue by seven strokes but took the lead on the back nine — only to soon give it back to the Boilermakers. The two teams headed into the par-five 18th hole with Purdue in front by two, but USC sophomore Jennifer Song had an opportunity to send the round to a playoff with a 12-foot birdie putt.

Song, competing in her last tournament as a college golfer, missed to give Purdue the one-stroke victory, 1153-1154.

Five USC golfers competed in each of the four rounds, with Song turning in the best performance: a 5-under 283. She finished tied for fifth among all individuals at the tournament after earning second place a season ago. Senior Belen Mozo tied for 21st in the tournament with a 4-over 292 and shot a 1-under 71 on Friday, as did freshman Cyna Rodriguez, who shot 6-over 294 for the week.

USC's score of 1154 would have been good enough to win the NCAA title in every year except 2004. When the Women of Troy won the title in 2003 and 2008, their totals were 1197 and 1168. The one-stroke margin between Purdue and USC was the closest finish at the NCAA's since 1996, when Arizona defeated San Jose State in a playoff.

The Women of Troy have now competed in 13 consecutive NCAA Championships, with five consecutive top-four finishes.

Weekend recap

April, 12, 2010
Plenty of USC-related happenings over the weekend and on this gloomy Monday in Los Angeles:
  • Information on services for former USC kicker Chris Limahelu, who passed away last week from prostate cancer at age 59: The viewing will be held this Friday night, April 16, from 5-8 p.m. at the Custer Christiansen Mortuary in Covina, Calif., with the service scheduled for Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Covina Methodist Church.
  • The praise keeps coming in for running back Dillon Baxter, who inspired comparisons to ex-Trojan Reggie Bush after his impressive performance in the team's irst scrimmage of the spring Saturday. Baxter broke a Bush-worthy 50-yard run — video here — and carried nine times for 94 yards on the day. USC next returns to the practice field Tuesday at 4 p.m for the seventh of 15 scheduled spring practices.
  • We wrote Saturday on USC baseball's 2-6 record through eight Pac-10 conference games. Since then, it's only gotten worse. The Trojans lost again Sunday, falling 4-3 at the hands of visiting Cal. Facing a 4-1 deficit, USC rallied in the eighth inning to score two runs and put runners on the corners with only one out, but the Trojans couldn't drive the tying run in. First baseman Ricky Oropesa leads the conference with 11 homers this year, but USC's postseason potential looks bleak at best, with a 15-17 overall record and now a 2-7 Pac-10 record. A three-game series at now-No. 3 ranked Arizona State looms this weekend.
  • According to a report out of New Jersey, Rutgers will file tampering charges against the USC basketball program regarding the recruitment of guard Mike Rosario. Rosario, a sophomore who averaged 16.7 points per game with the Scarlet Knights last season, would have three years to play two if he were to transfer, but Rutgers reportedly plans to block any transfer to USC — and Florida and Kansas, for that matter. Interestingly, USC coach Kevin O'Neill denied all tampering charges to the O.C. Register, and sources told the Los Angeles Times that no one in the program has had any contact with Rosario. In other basketball news, the regular signing period begins Wednesday for Class of 2010 prospects, but USC's four recruits — Bryce Jones, Maurice Jones, Garrett Jackson and Curtis Washington — all signed during the early period in November, so expect the Trojans to remain quiet.
  • Other sport news: the No. 1-ranked women's water polo team hasn't lost since February 7, a span of 16 matches; USC sophomore Jennifer Song shot a final round 69 Sunday to finish second overall and lead the Trojans to third place in the PING/ASU Invitational held in Tempe, Ariz; the Trojans won both the men's and women's discus competitions over the weekend at the Pomona-Pitzer Invitational.

Monday links and notes

April, 5, 2010
A few USC-related tidbits to relay on this rainy-turned-sunny Monday in Los Angeles:
  • Trojan baseball returns to Dedeaux Field on Wednesday to host Cal State Bakersfield in a non-conference midweek game. The team has lost four of its last six games, making fourth-year head coach Chad Kreuter's seat just a little bit hotter. Kreuter has been almost exactly a .500 coach in his time with the Trojans, and with 14 wins and 14 losses so far this season, his all-time record stands at 97-99. There has been somesome speculation among those close to the program Kreuter may be on his way out in the near future — and if you look closely, athletic director Mike Garrett has been essentially avoiding the topic of baseball in some of his "From the Desk of the A.D." blog entries on USC's official blog.
  • USC sophomore golfer Jennifer Song finished as the top amateur at the first LPGA Major of the 2010 season over the weekend. Song finished 21st overall at 1-over par for the weekend at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, held in Rancho Mirage. She had been in the top 10 overall halfway through the tourney on Friday after shooting 71's each of the first two rounds and told the L.A. Times: “Everybody comes to win the tournament. I’ll be really happy if I make the top five. I don’t think about the cut when I come to a tournament. For me, internally, I think it keeps me in a positive state. I just keep telling myself to believe in myself because I have the game." Song announced earlier this year she will leave USC and turn professional following an amateur tournament this June.
  • Our Ted Miller offers a feature on USC center Kristofer O'Dowd. O'Dowd, Miller notes, was lauded by many to be the best center in the nation prior to last season, but the Arizona native struggled after dislocating his right kneecap and starting only seven games. Now, O'Dowd is fighting through an injury in spring practice and leading the young offensive line. His success this season at center will be crucial to a successful season from A highlight from the piece comes in a quote from O'Dowd, who's displayed humility often in his time at USC: "What hurt the most was knowing I could play at a certain level and knowing what I could do but I wasn't getting there. That was the most frustrating thing.



C. Kessler413292350536
J. Allen25013375.39
J. Davis1255504.44
N. Agholor97122312.611
J. Smith5165812.95