Monday, December 9, 2013
Notebook: Mama will analyze USC
By Blair Angulo
ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) was a spectator to start the weekend, but he capped it with a championship trophy between his hands.
Mama accompanied good friends and fellow USC targets John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch) to the Inland Empire on Friday night, as the tight-knit group watched Trojans commits Viane Talamaivao and Austin Maloata of Corona (Calif.) Centennial capture yet another CIF Southern Section Inland Division title. On Saturday, it was Mama’s turn to hold the hardware with his friends watching from the stands at Angel Stadium.
As a result, Mama will have a little less time to focus on his recruitment as a 12-day dead period approaches. That might not be bad news for the Trojans.
ESPN 300 lineman Damien Mama is taking his time to analyze USC after the coaching shakeup.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding USC’s next offensive line coach and the scheme new head coach Steve Sarkisian will use, the Trojans appear to lead comfortably for the 6-foot-4, 370-pound lineman.
“I’m going to continue to analyze things and see what type of offense coach Sarkisian brings to the table,” Mama said. “If he brings that same offense from Washington, I’d have to see what happens. Growing up, your aspiration is to go to the league and the fit is pretty big. You have to figure out which is the best fit for you to achieve that goal and reach your potential. It’s a big aspect of my recruiting process moving forward.”
Alabama, BYU and UCLA are also in Mama’s final four, with the Cougars scheduled for an in-home visit sometime this week. The Bruins’ biggest selling point is offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, whom Mama believed would end up with the Trojans last week. He visited Alabama along with Smith, Talamaivao and ESPN 300 tight end Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), and has two remaining trips. USC is in great shape to get one of those players, with the aforementioned group set to visit campus on Jan. 17.
Mama and Talamaivao will be on opposite sidelines Saturday night when St. John Bosco and Centennial meet with a berth in the CIF State Open Division Bowl game on the line.
Commits play for title in front of USC assistants
The ink had hardly dried on their contracts when new USC assistant coaches Keith Heyward and Peter Sirmon accompanied holdover Tee Martin to East Los Angeles College on Friday night to check on a pair of future Trojans.
Three-star outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) and three-star athlete Ajene Harris (Los Angeles/Crenshaw) guided their teams to the CIF Los Angeles City Section Division I title game, but there could only be one winner. With Narbonne driving late in search of the game-tying touchdown, Harris intercepted a deflected pass to seal the win.
Afterward, the two-way standout was complimentary of his soon-to-be teammate.
“He’s a great player,” Harris said of Nwosu. “He comes down real hard. He’s a smart, disciplined player. I look forward to playing with him in the future.”
Martin recruited both players, though Nwosu had a strong relationship with Ed Orgeron and was shocked by his departure. Still, Harris said decision to bring in Sarkisian had no effect on his mindset.
“I’m fully committed to USC,” Harris said. “It has always been my dream school. When I’m at the games and around the players, it just feels like home. I feel comfortable there.”
Nwosu, meanwhile, had an in-home meeting Sunday night with Sirmon, who will take over as linebackers coach. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Nwosu is scheduled to make an official visit to USC the weekend of Jan. 17.
“It was a cool visit,” Nwosu said. “I got to know coach Sirmon a lot more and he’s a cool guy. He introduced himself and told me what I should work on this offseason. He wants me to get stronger and work on my agility.”
WeAreSC recruiting roundup
" Don't be surprised if the Trojans add ESPN 300 receiver Rahshead Johnson (Long Beach, Calif./Cabrillo) to the recruiting class, according to another recruit who played with the four-star prospect during the passing league circuit. Johnson had been committed to Washington for a long time, but backed out of that with the staff shakeup. Sarkisian said in a recent online chat that the lack of depth of receiver is a major priority, as the Trojans currently have only one commitment in the 2014 class: three-star prospect Shay Fields Jr. (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco). USC is also the clear-cut favorite for three-star cornerback Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), even though he remains publicly committed to Washington. Lockett said the recent scholarship offer from Heyward should have a considerable impact on his recruitment, and it’s expected that he’ll soon jump on the opportunity to play with good friend Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) in college.
" Before swinging by Angel Stadium on Saturday night, Heyward and Sirmon were at Los Angeles Salesian, where they saw ESPN 300 linebacker Jamardre Cobb, ESPN 300 athlete Marquis Ware and prized 2015 prospect Kyahva Tezino capture the school’s first CIF divisional crown. Last year at Washington, Heyward managed to sign former Salesian cornerback Jermaine Kelly despite some late advances from the hometown Trojans.