Commentary

Meet the 2012 recruiting class

A quick rundown of the most recent recruiting class for the USC Trojans

Updated: February 1, 2012, 9:42 PM ET
By WeAreSC staff

LOS ANGELES -- The first year of scholarship restrictions didn't dilute the quality of USC's recruiting class, as the Trojans celebrated the arrival of another talented group of players on Wednesday.

Nelson Agholor


WR
6-foot-1, 180 pounds
ESPNU 150 ranking: 47
ESPN Scout grade: 82
Tampa/Berkeley Prep
2011 stats: 10 rec., 117 yds., two TDs; 212 car., 1,983 yds., 28 TDs, 35 tackles, three INT
Bio note: Agholor is originally from Lagos, Nigeria, and moved to the United States when he was five years old.
Quote on committing to USC: "Really dealing with some great people over there. I love the opportunity to play alongside Marqise Lee and Robert Woods and the opportunity to catch passes from a Heisman candidate like Matt Barkley."
Kyle Williams evaluation: A talented athlete, Agholor could play both receiver and running back. From his route-running to his body control with the football, Agholor moves and changes direction fluidly. With his natural abilities, he immediately will give the Trojans another big play and speedy threat on offense.
Reminds us of: Marqise Lee

Zach Banner


OT
6-foot-8, 305 pounds
ESPNU 150 ranking: 122
ESPN Scout grade: 80
Lakewood, Wash./Lakes
Bio note: Banner will play football and basketball at USC. His biological father is former Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Lincoln Kennedy.
Quote on committing to USC: "Everything I was looking for, USC had and then some."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Banner has tremendous height and size for his age. He shows good athleticism for his size, and it will only get better has he grows into his body. His long arms and large frame gives him the look of a left tackle. Banner is most effective within a 5-yard radius, but he has shown glimpses of moving well in space.
Reminds us of: Jonathan Ogden

Gerald Bowman


S
6-foot-1, 215 pounds
Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College
2011 stats: 52 tackles, one INT, one sack, one forced fumble
Bio note: Bowman was a standout tailback at Imhotep (Pa.) Charter school and rushed for 1,659 yards and eight touchdowns his senior season.
Quote on committing to USC: "It just came down to where I wanted to be. I built a great relationship with the USC staff. I felt as though that was the best fit for me."
Kyle Williams evaluation: A true headhunter, it's scary to think of T.J. McDonald and Bowman roaming around in the backfield. A big, hard-hitting safety who looks to sell out on every play.
Reminds us of: Kevin Ellison

Morgan Breslin


DE
6-foot-3, 245 pounds
Walnut Creek, Calif./Diablo Valley College
2010 and 2011 stats: Breslin finished with 28 sacks during his two junior college years.
Bio note: Led the state in sacks and tackles during both years at Diablo Valley College.
Quote on committing to USC: "It was not really a question. When USC offered me, I was running up and down the street."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Breslin should add experience to the Trojans' young defensive line. His high motor and relentless pursuit to the quarterback is what caught the attention of the USC coaching staff.
Reminds us of: Nick Perry

Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick


TE
6-foot-4, 261 pounds
ESPNU 150 ranking: 105
ESPN Scout grade: 80
Rocklin, Calif./Whitney
2011 stats: 29 rec., 433 yds., five TDs, 35 tackles, five sacks
Bio note: Cope-Fitzpatrick is the No. 1 rated tight end in the country.
Quote on committing to USC: "I'm thrilled to be a Trojan. This is like a dream come true for me, to play for USC. This is definitely one of the best days of my life, and I can't believe I'm a Trojan."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Fitzpatrick has good hands and speed for a tight end his age and size. A dual threat with his blocking and receiving abilities, Fitzpatrick will give opposing defenses headaches when trying to match personnel against him.
Reminds us of: Scott Galbraith

Jahleel Pinner


FB/TB
5-foot-11, 231 pounds
ESPN Scout grade: 75
Mission Viejo, Calif./Mission Viejo
2011 stats: 113 car., 559 yds., 20 rec., 258 yds, 10 TDs
Bio note: Could play fullback or tailback at USC.
Quote on committing to USC: "I like how USC uses the fullback, and I can see myself in that Stanley Havili role."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Pinner definitely looks to be a workhorse and a downhill power runner. Pinner was used at both running back and fullback in high school. Has the ability to be an effective receiver out of the backfield, especially in the screen game. If he can make the transition from high school to college, look for Pinner to be competing for the starting fullback job heading into week one.
Reminds us of: LenDale White in his running style

Darreus Rogers


WR
6-foot-1, 195 pounds
ESPN Scout grade: 80
Carson, Calif./Carson
2011 stats: 64 rec., 1,251 yds., 8 TDs, 16 car., 137 yds., one TD
Bio note: After catching 12 passes and scoring two touchdowns in the first half of a game last fall, Long Beach Poly double covered Rogers in the second half. The Poly coaches said it was the first time in nine years they have used double coverage on a wide receiver.
Quote on committing to USC: "Fight on baby! A Heisman candidate, Marqise Lee, Robert Woods, I feel comfortable playing for them. That's it right there."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Rogers is a physical presence when he lines up outside. He has a large frame and long arms, which he uses to his advantage when going up against smaller corners. Rogers moves very well for a player his size and at times looks to run clean routes. On occasion, he looks to be effective with the "stop and go", which can be difficult for such a big receiver. At the next level, he'll most likely make his plays going across the middle. With large hands and the ability to catch almost everything he touches, Rogers can quickly be a quarterback's best friend.
Reminds us of: A shorter Mike Williams

Jabari Ruffin


LB
6-foot-3, 230 pounds
ESPNU 150 ranking: 36
ESPN Scout grade: 82
Downey, Calif./Downey
2011 stats: 99 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 42 rec, 549 yds., seven total TDs
Bio note: Ruffin is a big fan of USC safety T.J. McDonald and had a poster of him up on his wall.
Quote on committing to USC: "Growing up in Southern California, I've always followed USC football. My dream was to one day run out of the Coliseum in that cardinal and gold, and for this to become a reality is unreal to me."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Ruffin has good size and length for a linebacker transitioning to the college level. A very talented athlete capable of playing running back and receiver on offense in high school, as well as playing linebacker or safety on defense. However, his future with the Trojans is at outside linebacker. Ruffin looks to possess the speed to make plays from sideline to sideline. His ability to cover the tight end will be beneficial to the Trojans against teams like Stanford that utilize multiple tight ends. He shows to have a good closing burst, whether it's across the middle of the field or rushing the passer off the edge.
Reminds us of: Marcus Cotton

Kevon Seymour


CB
5-foot-11, 170 pounds
ESPN Scout grade: 80
Pasadena, Calif./Muir
2011 stats: 46 tackles, one sack, five INT, 27 rec., 518 yards, 11 total TDs
Bio note: Kevon has a twin brother, Keon, who is a highly recruited baseball player.
Quote on committing to USC: "The coaches make me feel very comfortable every time I go there. And the school has great tradition."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Seymour has the speed and quickness to play any skilled positions on the field. He mostly plays safety on defense, but it looks like his more natural position is at cornerback. Possesses quick feet and flips his hips well in coverage. Because of this, he'll be able to react quicker and make up ground against better receivers at the college level. Will be an immediate impact as a returner. Has great field vision and already looks to be planning his second move before completing his first and seems to find another gear when he gets the ball in his hands.
Reminds us of: Justin Wyatt

Josh Shaw


S
6-foot-2, 195 pounds
ESPNU 150 ranking: 28 (class of 2010)
ESPN Scout grade: 83
Palmdale, Calif./University of Florida
2011 stats: 22 tackles, one tackle for loss and one pass breakup for the Gators.
Bio note: Shaw has filed paperwork with NCAA in hopes of gaining immediate eligibility with the Trojans.
Quote on committing to USC: "I always felt like USC was home. I grew up watching SC football."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Shaw is another big physical defensive back prospect the Trojans picked up this year. With his age and experience he immediately will add depth to the secondary. Look for Shaw to compete for early playing time this spring if he's eligible.
Reminds us of: Josh Pinkard

Devian Shelton


CB/S
6-foot-1, 177 pounds
ESPNU Scout grade: 74
Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood
2010 stats: 41 tackles, three passes defensed.
Bio note: Committed to Arizona and Oregon State before making a signing-day commitment to USC.
Quote on committing to USC: "This was the craziest 48 hours of my life, but it all worked out. It was real difficult, because I have a lot of coaches that I'm cool with, but I had to make a decision. I know there will be great coaches at USC."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Shelton could play both corner and safety when he first comes in. He's a little taller than normal for a Trojans cornerback, but his aggressiveness on the line and in press coverage accompanied with speed makes him an attractive player for the position. As a freshman, Shelton should add solid depth to a now experienced secondary.
Reminds us of: Terrell Thomas

Jordan Simmons


OG
6-foot-5, 325 pounds
ESPNU 150 ranking: 88
ESPN Scout grade: 80
Encino, Calif/Crespi
Bio note: Also played basketball at Crespi and averaged 3.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game as a junior.
Quote on committing to USC: "Oregon is a great school too, but USC is still USC, and I felt like it had everything I was looking for, so there was no need to leave home."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Did a good job in his one-on-ones at the Nike camp, which was one of the main reasons why he was awarded offensive lineman of the camp. He is a true offensive guard at the next level. The fact that he played tackle in high school displays his athleticism, but unless the Trojans are decimated with injuries at the tackle position there is a good chance that he'll never play the position again. Simmons should add solid depth in the middle, as the Trojans offensive line is still intact from last season.
Reminds us of: John Drake

Scott Starr


LB
6-foot-3, 230 pounds
ESPN Scout grade: 79
Norco, Calif./Norco
2011 stats: 96 tackles, 5.5 sacks
Bio note: Starr's father played middle linebacker at Kansas State.
Quote on committing to USC: "This is really a dream come true for me. Ever since I was little, I wanted to play football for USC and to have this become a reality is really amazing."
Kyle Williams evaluation: He has the look and feel of the next Brian Cushing, but Starr has some work to do before he truly can be given that comparison. Judging by his work ethic, it looks like he is up for the challenge. A tough player who seems to have no problem coming downhill and delivering a hit. Starr seems to have a good football IQ and uses it to find the ball. A true competitor, but would like to see him bring that same fire on every play. Starr should have an immediate impact on special teams this season.
Reminds us of: Brian Cushing

Max Tuerk


OT/OG
6-foot-5, 290 pounds
ESPNU 150 ranking: No. 63
ESPN Scout grade: 81
Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita
Bio note: Tuerk led his Santa Margarita Eagles to a 42-37 victory over San Jose Bellarmine to capture the Division I state title.
Quote on committing to USC: "Fight on! I've always liked USC a lot, and I'm thrilled to be a Trojan right now. This is a dream come true."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Tuerk is a safe and solid commit for the Trojans. Originally a tight end, Tuerk just finished his second season at offensive tackle. Like many of the great athletic offensive tackles in college and in the NFL, most of them started their carrier as a tight end. He does play both offense and defensive line, but his more natural postion is on the offensive side of the ball. Can play both tackle and guard spots initially, giving the Trojans much needed depth at both positions. How well Tuerk develops in the offseason, as well as his performance in fall camp, will determine if he's ready to compete for a starting job.
Reminds us of: Sam Baker

Chad Wheeler


OT
6-foot-6, 260 pounds
ESPN Scout grade: 75
Santa Monica, Calif./Santa Monica
Bio note: Wheeler has played only two years of high school football.
Quote on committing to USC: "It was a great honor to get that USC offer. There is so much tradition there. It's amazing to get this opportunity."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Wheeler is a project who needs to put on a good 35 to 45 pounds. His work ethic, tenacity and overall potential looks to be what caught the eyes of the Trojans coaching staff, and he should fit in to offensive line coach James Cregg's "get after them" philosophy. He enrolled for the winter semester, but don't look for Wheeler to be the answer on the O-line just yet. After a couple years of coaching and in the weight room, look for Wheeler to be competing for a spot in the future.
Reminds us of: Travis Draper

Leonard Williams


DE/DT
6-foot-5, 265 pounds
ESPNU 150 ranking: 50
ESPN Scout grade: 82
Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland
2011 stats: 103 tackles, 10.5 sacks
Bio note: Originally from Los Angeles, Williams didn't begin playing organized football until his freshman season at Mainland because he was always too big for Pop Warner.
Quote on committing to USC: "I was all set to go to Florida. Ever since I was little, that was my team. But after experiencing all this, I found out what was truly the best for me."
Kyle Williams evaluation: With size and power, Williams dominated at the high school level. However, when he steps on campus he'll have to take to his coaching and hone his skills. If Williams can learn from his coaching and combine it with his strengths, he will be a disruptive force at the college level.
Reminds us of: Shaun Cody

DeVante Wilson


DE
6-foot-4, 235 pounds
ESPN Scout grade: 76
Corona, Calif./Corona
2010 stats: 59 tackles, 9.5 sacks
Bio note: Originally committed to USC last year but greyshirted after tearing his ACL during the summer.
Quote on committing to USC: "I'm very excited, and this is a dream come true for me. I grew up a fan and always wanted to play for SC."
Kyle Williams evaluation: Wilson is a true pass rusher coming off the edge. While not playing football last season, a true winter and summer offseason of training at the college level is key if Wilson is to see playing time this season.
Reminds us of: Kori Dickerson