NCF On The Trail: Jordan Lasley

GARDENA, Calif. -- The thrill hasn’t gotten old for Chuck Kimbell.

When former USC wide receiver Marqise Lee walked across the Radio City Music Hall stage last month after being selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second round of the NFL draft, his high school position coach cracked a wide smile from across the country, knowing yet another of his pupils had accomplished a lifelong goal.

Kimbell hardly had any time to bask in the moment, though. Just six picks after Lee came off the board, the Seattle Seahawks took former Colorado receiver Paul Richardson, another graduate of Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra, where Kimbell has coached for a dozen years.

Shifting power: Los Angeles 

January, 23, 2014
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It's tough to imagine one college football player changing the fortunes of his program and its closest rival over the course of more than a decade.

But that might just be the case with Reggie Bush, whose on-field actions helped USC become the dominant recruiting force in Southern California between 2006 and 2012, and whose off-field actions largely led to the NCAA taking 30 scholarships away from USC for the 2012-2014 seasons and creating a hole in the Southern California recruiting scene large enough for UCLA to climb through.

When the heavy sanctions were brought down upon USC in the summer of 2010, it was thought to be a now-or-never situation for UCLA. The Trojans were 10-1 in the previous 11 games against the Bruins and had the virtual first pick of just about any recruit in the region.

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USC's recruiting resolutions for 2014 

December, 31, 2013
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A new year usually brings new aspirations. But in the recruiting world, hanging up a new calendar signifies the final stretch. It’s the beginning of the end.

[+] EnlargeAdoree Jackson
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comNo. 7 overall Adoree Jackson would be a big get for USC's coaching staff.
With national signing day just six weeks away, we take a quick glance at potential New Year’s resolutions for USC recruiting:

1. Sign an elite prospect

USC fans want both Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) to become Trojans, but either one would do, really. Whereas the 2013 class had the likes of Su’a Cravens and Max Browne as headliners, the current group lacks similar star power. ESPN 300 members Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) are no slouches, but Jackson and Smith would certainly take the class to the next level. New head coach Steve Sarkisian and his staff would like nothing more than to finish strong heading into spring practice and the ever-important 2015 recruiting cycle.


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Local QB Jalen Greene flips to Trojans

December, 22, 2013
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Steve Sarkisian intends to implement an uptempo offense at USC, and he added a key ingredient to that formula Sunday afternoon.

The Trojans picked up a verbal commitment from dual-threat quarterback Jalen Greene (Gardena, Calif./Serra), who recently decommitted from Boise State and flipped to Washington during an official visit. His pledge to the Huskies lasted less than a week, though, as USC made a push prior to the dead period in an effort to add a quarterback to its recruiting class.

The prospect revealed the reasons for his decision.

"I'm ready to get in there and start competing," said Greene, who intends to enroll in time for spring practice. "There were other schools that were recruiting me, but I just wanted to focus on USC and Washington. Coach Sarkisian called me after he made the move and told me really wanted me. I'm excited because it's the same offense we ran in high school."

The 6-foot-2, 194-pound Greene, a three-star prospect, is rated No. 26 among dual-threat signal-callers in the 2014 class. He comes from a program that has been a pipeline for the Trojans in recent years, with receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee being the notable stars. USC is also in pursuit of teammate Adoree' Jackson, a five-star athlete who, along with Greene, watched the Trojans from the stands at the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday, as well as UCLA receiver commit Jordan Lasley.

USC whiffed on No. 1-rated pocket passer Keller Chryst (Palo Alto, Calif./Palo Alto) in the summer when he committed to Stanford. Former interim head coach Ed Orgeron then made a run at Miami commit Brad Kaaya (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade) after taking over for Lane Kiffin, but the Elite 11 finalist said Saturday that he had not heard from the Trojans since Sarkisian arrived from Washington.

Last year, USC landed No. 2-rated pocket passer Max Browne (Sammamish, Wash./Skyline) but he redshirted this past season. The Trojans also hold a commitment from 2015 quarterback David Sills (Elkton, Md./Eastern Christian Academy), who made a much-publicized decision when he was only 13.

Greene passed for 2,544 yards and 33 touchdowns in his senior season. He also rushed for 1,209 yards and 14 scores as he helped Serra to an appearance in the divisional title game.

The decision gives the Trojans 15 commitments in the class. Greene became the fifth to commitment since Sarkisian was hired on Dec. 2.

Breaking down USC's '14 class by position 

December, 19, 2013
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A recent string of commitments heading into the dead period has left USC with only five remaining slots in its 2014 recruiting class. The Trojans have 19 total spots to use, as long as four of them are mid-year enrollees.

Here's a position-by-position look at how USC could allocate those empty spots, with a projection of how many players at each position the Trojans will try to sign:

Offensive line: 6

The Trojans hold five commitments on the offensive line, two of those from mid-year enrollees who already have signed financial aid agreements. They might not be done, though, as a big fish is still out there and possibly leaning toward signing with his childhood favorite. If the coaching staff decides a scholarship would be more important at another position, the Trojans might have to part ways with a prospect from this bunch.


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Recruits react to UCLA's win over USC 

December, 1, 2013
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Many of the area’s top recruits were on hand at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where UCLA claimed a second consecutive victory over crosstown rival USC on Saturday night.

The long list included ESPN 300 prospects Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), as well as No. 1-rated tight end Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada) and four-star linebacker Dwight Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra).

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USC, UCLA differ in recruiting strategy 

November, 29, 2013
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When USC enters the Coliseum Saturday to take on crosstown rival UCLA, it will do so with some of the area’s top recruits looking intently from the stands, many of which hold scholarship offers from both schools.

Some had to wait longer than others for the option to attend college nearby. More often than not in recent years, UCLA has been quicker than USC in sending out offers to mutual targets. In fact, of the 12 in-state prospects from the 2015 class that the Trojans have already offered, only four-star offensive tackle Zach Robertson (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) added USC to his list of suitors before the Bruins joined the chase.

Yet USC’s recruiting efforts are not necessarily harmed by this seemingly cautious approach. UCLA beat USC in offering the likes of Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial), Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra), but the Trojans added them to their recruiting class nonetheless.

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UCLA, USC have chance to seize the city 

November, 27, 2013
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Not all regular season games are created equal on the recruiting trail, and while one game won't make or break a recruiting class, this weekend's showdown between UCLA and USC could come awfully close.

USC has dominated its series of late -- winning 12 of the last 14 years -- but in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately recruiting world, UCLA’s 38-28 win last season looms large. It caught the attention of recruits in the 2013, '14 and '15 classes and sent a message that the Jim Mora era with the Bruins was off and running.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: Pac-12 

November, 18, 2013
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A huge win at USC was witnessed by a number of big-time recruits, while Washington added a second commitment to its 2015 class and UCLA provided another statement to recruits, utilizing the talents of a two-way freshman. Also, a USC commit had a big day, and the top tailback in the West region went even bigger, in this week's Pac-12 weekend recruiting wrap.


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USC commits, targets revel in upset win 

November, 17, 2013
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USC interim coach Ed Orgeron had already revitalized the Trojans’ recruiting efforts, sending out several local offers and picking up four commitments in the weeks since taking over for Lane Kiffin.

That momentum grew exponentially Saturday night at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where a loaded list of top-flight recruits saw USC upset Stanford in front of a crazed crowd that rushed the field in jubilance. Five-star cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), ESPN 300 athlete John “JuJu” Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and ESPN 300 tight end Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) were among the top targets in attendance.

The list featured all but one of USC’s nine verbal commits, as longtime pledge Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) couldn’t make the trip but watched intently from home.

“Going into the game, I knew it was going to be a dog fight,” Lobendahn said. “I wanted the Trojans to battle no matter what and they did that. I wasn’t going to lose faith in them no matter what, but I’m so glad we got the W and so happy for Coach O and the team. I’m super mad I couldn’t go celebrate.”

Lobendahn could get the scoop from USC receiver commit Shay Fields Jr. (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), who was in the middle of the celebration.

“The locker room was really crazy,” Fields said. “Everybody was dancing and going crazy in there. The recruits were loving the intensity inside that locker room. Now I’m trying to get everybody (to join me).”

Fields had a number of recruits to choose from, as the Trojans drew the presence of local recruits whom have made pledges elsewhere, including Cal athlete commit Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), Miami quarterback commit Brad Kaaya (West Hills, Calif./Chaminade), Cal running back commit Tre Watson (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and UCLA receiver commit Jordan Lasley (Gardena, Calif./Serra).

“It definitely gives me something to think about,” Wadood said. “It was a huge win for SC. I’m still trying to decide if I will take an official visit. My last one will be between Washington and USC.”

Kaaya, a four-star pocket passer who landed an offer from childhood favorite USC shortly after Orgeron took the helm, surprised his mother with tickets for her birthday.

“It was exciting to watch,” Kaaya said. “Funny thing is, the first college football game I ever saw was Stanford-USC at the Coliseum when USC lost. This time, it seemed like the situation switched and USC came out on top.”

For three-star offensive tackle Jordan Austin (Claremont, Calif./Claremont), the game also served as a chance to build a relationship with a future teammate.

“It was pure excitement in the locker room following the well-deserved win,” Austin said. “I hung out with Jordan Poland primarily, but we did not talk much about recruiting. Rather, it was just friend to friend.”

The Class of 2015 was also well represented, with No. 1-rated signal-caller Josh Rosen (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), No. 4 cornerback Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and No. 7 wide receiver Cordell Broadus (Diamond Bar, Calif./Diamond Bar) headlining a group that also included No. 2 outside linebacker John Houston Jr. (Gardena, Calif./Serra) and No. 12 defensive tackle Rasheem Green (Gardena, Calif./Serra).

“It was a great game,” Broadus said. “The atmosphere was very electric.”

The job Orgeron and his staff have done has not been lost on recruits. ESPN 300 defensive end Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) has been open to visiting other schools while being committed to the Trojans, but that would all disappear if Orgeron were to get hired.

“Recruits want the coaches to stay on staff really bad; at least I know I do,” Dorton said. “If those guys stay, I’m definitely coming.”

Three-star outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne), who last month became the first recruiting class member from the Los Angeles City Section, left the Coliseum with a smile on his face.

“It was great. I had a good time and I feel like I made the right choice,” Nwosu said. “After the game, we went in the locker room and it was crazy in there. All the coaches were getting turned up.”

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Shift in strategy could pay off for USC 

November, 7, 2013
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Interim head coach Ed Orgeron wasted little time to reignite USC's recruiting when he stepped into his role earlier this season.

Orgeron sent out a flurry of offers that Lane Kiffin apparently was hesitant to extend during the final weeks of his tenure.

These weren’t five-star prospects the Trojans were suddenly offering, either. Many weren’t even four-stars.


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Pac-12 recruiting storylines: Oct. 31 

October, 31, 2013
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Arizona State and Oregon added to top-40 classes earlier this week, as the Sun Devils grabbed another ESPN 300 prospect and the Ducks flexed their muscles in Texas. USC softened its policy against in-season visitors, while UCLA will look to take advantage of hosting a committed visitor of its own this weekend.

Arizona State adds another

It didn't come as much of a surprise when ESPN 300 outside linebacker D.J. Calhoun (El Cerrito, Calif./El Cerrito) verbally committed to Arizona State this past Sunday, but that didn't make the commitment any less important for the Sun Devils. Head coach Todd Graham's program is picking up steam on the recruiting trail as it puts together wins on the field. Calhoun joins teammate Jalen Harvey and four-star tackle Sam Jones (Highlands Ranch, Colo./ThunderRidge) as recent commitments for Arizona State, while quarterback Manny Wilkins (Novato, Calif./San Marin) continues to do an excellent job in selling the program to recruits. It wouldn't be a surprise to see the Sun Devils eventually reel in California prospects Michael Lazarus (Berkeley, Calif./Berkeley), Kammy Delp (Pomona, Calif./Diamond Ranch) and Demario Richard (Palmdale, Calif./Palmdae), as the buzz -- especially in California -- continues to grow. Arizona State now has the nation's No. 25 recruiting class -- up three spots due to the updated ESPN 300 -- and sits just behind No. 24 Stanford and No. 20 Arizona as the third-best class in the Pac-12.

Hollins hollers for Oregon


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USC targets are unsung players at Serra 

October, 19, 2013
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GARDENA, Calif. -- Five-star athlete Adoree’ Jackson makes perennial Southern California powerhouse Gardena (Calif.) Serra go with his speed, explosiveness and flair.

Four-star linebacker Dwight Williams brings personality, Boise State quarterback commit Jalen Greene brings confidence and 2015 standouts Rasheem Green and John Houston Jr. bring promise.

Somewhere in between those highly touted recruits stand receiver Jordan Lasley and defensive end Olajuwon Tucker. They might not be big names yet, but they bring just as much impact to Serra.


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WeAreSC recruiting mailbag 

October, 18, 2013
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WeAreSC recruiting reporter Blair Angulo answers reader questions in his mailbag every week. Have a USC recruiting question of your own? Submit it via Twitter @WeAreSCstaff or @bangulo.

@jboyd_2: Coach Ed Orgeron and Tee Martin seem to be reaching out and offering more since Lane Kiffin was fired.

WeAreSC: That is correct. Seven offers have gone out in the three weeks since Kiffin was let go, with four of those offers going to prospects committed to other schools. It’s been a mix of no-brainers (ESPN 300 quarterback Brad Kaaya) and surprises (three-star safety Uchenna Nwosu), but the aggressive strategy appears to be paying off. Recruits seem to be reconsidering the Trojans with Kiffin gone, and the outlook might only improve once the coaching situation is sorted out.

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Early Offer: Starks back in action 

October, 16, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: After transferring to Cherry Creek in Colorado, four-star running back Nathan Starks was finally able to get back on the field last Friday night, and that could help his recruiting stock; USC continues to make a strong local push; and the battle for one of the nation’s top defensive backs is getting heated.


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