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Monday, October 7, 2013
Recruiting notebook: USC coaches hit trail

By Blair Angulo

Josh Rosen
ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Josh Rosen is a big target for USC, which has struck out on 2014 quarterback prospects so far.

BELLFLOWER, Calif. -- Before leaving the USC campus on Friday night, interim head coach Ed Orgeron told reporters it was time for the staff to become visible on the Los Angeles recruiting scene. He and assistant coach Tee Martin wasted no time following the evening practice session, heading directly to Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco for an intriguing matchup against Los Angeles Crenshaw.

Upon arrival, Orgeron did everything short of kissing babies.

The popular coach posed for photographs, shook hands and drew hearty laughs. His first public appearance since the firing of Lane Kiffin was a huge success. Orgeron carried a vibrant smile, pacing both sidelines and waving at whoever shouted to get his attention.

Recruits certainly noticed their presence, too.

“I felt special when they told me they were coming out here to watch me play,” said ESPN 300 athlete Jaleel Wadood following St. John Bosco’s 75-35 victory. “That was a great energy boost for me. It was an honor to have coach Orgeron and coach Tee out here watching me. I feel blessed.”

Wadood caught a 55-yard touchdown pass from ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Josh Rosen on their first offensive play and the rout was on. Still, Orgeron and Martin stayed for the entirety of the blowout. There was plenty of reason to stay, of course. ESPN 300 offensive guard Damien Mama, USC defensive end commit Malik Dorton and Rosen, the No. 1-rated quarterback in the 2015 class, were playing.

“I’m glad the USC coaches came out to watch us. That was big,” Mama said. “They’ve offered about five of us, so this shows they have some faith to come see us. They believe we’ve earned our scholarship offers. The coaching situation there gives me a whole new view. I’m waiting to see who they hire, who they let go, what schemes they change and what happens to the offense. The beginning of the season started off really rocky, so seeing a change was good.”

The same sentiment applies to Wadood, even though he remains solidly committed to Cal. Yet the Trojans figure to continue their push for one of the area’s top overall players and the four-star prospect, in return, will keep his ears open.

“They’re still recruiting me hard, so I want to keep giving them a look,” Wadood said. “I do love Cal a lot. That’s my No. 1 choice right now. But it means a lot for the USC coaches to keep coming around and keep recruiting me. It shows they really want me. Even though I’m committed, I’m not just going to shoo them off. I’m going to treat them with respect and let them recruit me.”

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