Chat with Garry Paskwietz
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, WeAreSC reporter Garry Paskwietz stops by to chat some USC football.
Paskwietz is the Publisher of WeAreSC and has been covering the Trojans since 1997. Paskwietz is also a co-host of the USC Football radio pre-game show
Send your questions now and join Paskwietz every Wednesday at 5 p.m. ET!
Garry Paskwietz (4:58 PM)
Welcome everyone, let's get started.
Izzy (Fountain Valley)
With Ricky Town seeming to fall on the recruiting lists and Sam Darnold gaining steam how important is it for a each of these players to show well in the Elite 11 QB camp? Do we have a chance with Darnold?
Garry Paskwietz (5:01 PM)
Sure, it's important for both players to show well, and that pretty much goes for anyone at this high profile event. But you are correct in that both Town and Darnold have specific reasons for wanting to do well. Town is a competitive guy and he knows the perception of him has taken a hit this spring, fair or not. The easiest way to combat that before the season starts is to do well at this event. As for Darnold, it would be a cap to an amazing spring if he shows as one of the best in the nation. He was as under the radar as you come prior to spring, now he is part of this event and everyone wants to see if the recent hype is real. i would put SC as the favorite for Darnold right now.
Brad New York [via mobile]
One player who has turned the most heads on offense and defense so faar who is a true freshman
Garry Paskwietz (5:02 PM)
Adoree' Jackson is number one, he has turned heads on both sides of the ball. Jonathan Lockett has done very well since coming out last week for the first time, and I like the interior o-linemen trio of Viane, Damien and Toa (even though Toa was technically here in spring). For a sleeper, I will go with Ajene Harris.
Ej [via mobile]
What are your impressions on why petite chose duke?
Garry Paskwietz (5:05 PM)
One read is that family had a role in it. He had said earlier in the month that his family would have a say, and at that time he sure sounded positive about SC. But he still hadn't taken the visit to USC at that point, and his family was with him when he eventually took the trip. As far as the football goes, David Cutcliffe is a highly respected passing game coach so you can't really say Tyler made an awful choice to want to play in that offense. I'll admit I was a little surprised by the choice as I think Sark has shown that he knows what to do with the tight end as well.
TE is the biggest need on the team, and with Petite now going to Duke does USC have to try and get some lower rated players like Evans, or Snyder? I have also heard good things about Hasani Smith, do you think SC can flip him from San Diego St.
Garry Paskwietz (5:09 PM)
Thomas Hudson from Mitty played well at the SC skills camp but he just committed to ASU, perhaps the Trojans take another run at him. There is still interest in T.J. Wheatley, Jr. as well but Michigan is a player too. There aren't any other real standout targets, Petite was the guy the coaches wanted.
Amir (Sherman Oaks)
What's up GP?!?! Thanks for the chats brother :) If you have 5 spots, of the group Mason, Tell, Holiday, Bell, Langley, Holmes, Ross and Payton; 1) who do YOU take and 2) who do you think SC ends up with?
Garry Paskwietz (5:11 PM)
First of all, I assume there is a reason you don't have Iman Marshall on the list because he would definitely take a spot if we are talking DB types. There are some receivers mixed in there too so here would be my five from that list: Langley, Holiday, Holmes, Mason, Tell. I have a hard time leaving Ross off the list, and I would want to see where Bell is at with his injury before really making a decision. But that 5 would be pretty hard to beat.
Steven Orange County [via mobile]
Seems like J.Lockett might see some playing time this yr..is this proving more and more that these recruiting experts are evaluating kids based off of opinions?
Garry Paskwietz (5:13 PM)
He's looked great so far but anyone who saw him play a lot in high school could have predicted this. it was kind of the same way with Thomas Duarte last year except the Trojans came in too late on him. Lockett is one of those guys who just knows how to make plays and I don't know that he wouldn't be just as impactful on offense (although I prefer him on defense).
Travis TX [via mobile]
Hope all is well Gary, Do you have any insight as to if sark is going to bring back the excitement to the sidelines like the Pete days? Really loved what coach O did with Leinart and McGinnist last year coming out the tunnel.
Garry Paskwietz (5:16 PM)
He already brought back a lot of former players in spring, guys like Ronnie Lott, Keyshawn Johnson, Shaun Cody, Curtis Conway, Mike Salmon, Jeremy Hogue and Craig Gibson were all spotted during spring and I'm sure that will continue into the season. Sark understands how important the former players are to the SC program. I agree with you about the entrances last year, those were a nice touch.
Randall J (Texas)
Hello Garry, I read that the incoming freshman are not allow to workout in USC gear... What happens if they buy it themselves? Thank you and Fight On!!!
Garry Paskwietz (5:17 PM)
The upperclassmen still wouldn't let them wear it. It's a matter of the SC logo gear being earned, and that doesn't happen right away.
Zach (Santa Monica)
Does Telfer look healthy enough to comeback and earn the spot over rising Jalen Cope Fitzpatrick?
Garry Paskwietz (5:18 PM)
i've been very encouraged by the fact that Randall has been getting more and more reps in recent weeks. If this keeps up through the next month, I don't think there's any question he would be ready for camp and the start of the season. And if Randall is healthy, he is clearly the starter.
Tarik LaCour (Salt Lake City, utah)
We have asked alot of questions about who will be the number two receiver this year. What we fail to realize is that Sark's system uses 3 receivers in its base set. Who do you see as the number 3 reciever, I am thinking George Farmer or Steven Mitchell
Garry Paskwietz (5:20 PM)
I think those two are clearly the favorites right now, although Victor Blackwell has done well and if he can show consistency I wouldn't rule him out either. Vic is a veteran guy and he can make a play. Of course, based on what we've seen the last few weeks I don't think you can rule out a role for Adoree' either. Maybe not as the #3 guy or anything but there will more than likely be a role.
Why has Trent Irwin not received an offer? Its too late now but a big mistake. Same goes for Ben Humphries
Garry Paskwietz (5:22 PM)
I don't think wide receiver is a huge priority this year in terms of numbers, and there is already a commit from a JC guy as well as at least four known offers to area receivers for 2016. With all that being said, I think Trent Irwin is capable of being a very impactful player for the Trojans and I would offer him. And Ben Humphreys too.
Do you know what Cyrus Hobbi is up to these days? Did he enroll in another college?
Garry Paskwietz (5:24 PM)
Cyrus will graduate from USC next fall. He is still around the program a lot after giving up his scholarship due to a back injury.
RC (Los Angeles)
Hi Garry. Sills de-committing - does that surprise you? I thought USC was very high on him. Who's USC next target? Thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:27 PM)
Not a surprise, it had been pretty well expected in recent weeks. I think Sark gave David a long look and even sent Clay Helton out to watch him in spring ball. David deserved that after how loyal he had been to SC through the years, even helping to send two promising linemen to SC in Bigelow and Rodgers. But after Kiffin left, the coach who had offered him, there really wasn't an obligation to Sark to keep him. That's a reality of the world of QB recruiting and, to his credit, Sills never complained about that. He came out to SC in spring, he kept up the communication process with the coaches but in the end it just wasn't the right fit. Don't cry for David as he has plenty of other good options, it just won't be at SC like he had hoped. I wish him luck. And the next target is Sam Darnold from San Clemente, who just got an SC offer.
Which player over the last year has improved the most?
Garry Paskwietz (5:28 PM)
I'll say Leon McQuay or Antwaun Woods on defense, and Zach Banner on offense.
Mark (Grand Rapids)
Who is the biggest sleeper from the last recruiting class?
Garry Paskwietz (5:28 PM)
Ajene Harris on offense, Jonathan Lockett on defense.
RC (Los Angeles)
Do you see Kessler surprising many this season with better numbers in Coach Sark's new offense? More explosive this year or just about the same as last year's? Your thoughts, thank you.
Garry Paskwietz (5:30 PM)
I think he would be thrilled if his numbers were anything like the numbers he put up over the last part of the season (except for the 4 losses). My guess is Cody will be a little more efficient, and his rushing numbers will go up a little but not as much as some people think.
Jay Ramirez (Sunnyvale)
Garry, what are your thoughts of how well SC will do this coming season? Will they finish in a top 20 poll?
Garry Paskwietz (5:32 PM)
I definitely think this is a top 20 team, and if they stay healthy I think they are capable of a lot more than that. The front-line talent is there this year and there is always a lot of optimism with a new staff in place. If the Trojans end up in the top 10 there will be a lot of momentum for 2016 to make a run into the playoff. There are some who think a playoff run is possible this year but I'm not ready to say that just yet.
Gregory (From the OC)
Do you believe the five super football conferences will declare their independence from the NCAA?
Garry Paskwietz (5:35 PM)
I think there is a lot of momentum headed in that direction, although my guess is there will still be an association with the NCAA but there will be a lot of autonomy to create some different rules of operation for the 5 super conferences.
Mark (Grand Rapids)
10 years from now who is the better player Cravens or Leonard?
Garry Paskwietz (5:37 PM)
Wow. How do you answer this one? I can't believe I'm writing this but I'm going to go with Su'a. I think Leonard Williams is the best defensive lineman i've seen at SC since Shaun Cody, and that's about as high of praise as I can give to compare him to Shaun. But I think the sky is the limit for Su'a and I'm going to give him the nod.
Demario,NC [via mobile]
Hey Garry i was born&raised in Compton,i have been a USC football fan all my life do u really believe we can play for the national championship this year?why isn't Juju playing safety with all his skills and Adoree' that would be the best defensive backfield in the country.
Garry Paskwietz (5:40 PM)
Health is so important to that kind of run. Ask me again midway through the season and if the Trojans are healthy, you never know what the answer might be then. I do think things are headed in a very good direction right now and I think the Trojans are definitely capable of making a run at the Pac-12 title. Let's check in later on this topic during the season. As for Juju, I'm one of those who prefers him at receiver, even though he is obviously good enough to play safety too. I just think his size and athletic ability are going to prove very tough for opponents to handle, there aren't a lot of 6-2 or 6-3 receivers who can do what he does.
Ground Zero fan (IE)
From what you can tell after watching incoming freshman arrive and play and being able to see their size what corners will make up the 2 deep going into season?
Garry Paskwietz (5:42 PM)
I would put the 4 corners as Shaw, Seymour, Hawkins, Adoree' with Lockett being the next man in the rotation.
George (OC) [via mobile]
I've seen videos of the freshmen during the summer workouts. Have the preferred walk-ons started practicing yet?
Garry Paskwietz (5:43 PM)
sure, there is a tailback from Flintridge Prep, Stefan Smith, who has gotten a lot of work. And CB Jalen Jones comes from Serra, where he played with Famer, Adoree', Greene, Tucker, etc.
Chad (LA, CA) [via mobile]
The videos I've seen it looks like Ajene is ready to contribute. Do you think he plays this year or will redshirt?
Garry Paskwietz (5:44 PM)
He's been such a pleasant surprise but I just don't see where the reps would come from this year if the other receivers stay healthy. i think it definitely would be ideal to redshirt him, especially since he is making a transition to a new position.
Ernesto (Reno) [via mobile]
With Cody Kessler having 2 years left and Max Browne, Jalen Green, Ricky Town "if he signs" on board why is SC recruiting another qb?
Garry Paskwietz (5:48 PM)
Most coaches prefer 4 QB's on a roster at a minimum and there's nothing wrong with having 5 every now and then because you never know what can happen with injury, transfer, etc, and that is one spot you don't want to get caught short. And with 25 rides it will be easier to do that. And, as one former USC recruiting coordinator once told me "whenever there is an extra spot lying around, always pay attention to which position the head coach played or coached as to where that scholarship will be used".
Ed (San Diego)
Hi Garry! I'm not a fan of running the ball out of the shot gun. I like the idea of having Pinner and Vainuku as lead blockers from the fullback position. How much will the team be playing out of the I formation vs. the shot gun.
Garry Paskwietz (5:50 PM)
I'm with you as far as being a fan of the traditional I but don't expect to see much of it this year. The Trojans will be out of the shotgun the vast, vast majority of the time, although there will be some times a fullback is used. Sark said he definitely wants to take advantage of having two quality fullbacks like this, and both can run the ball too.
Any chance Michael Hutchings sees playing time this year?
Garry Paskwietz (5:51 PM)
Without a doubt. He will be the primary back-up to Hayes in the middle and a key contributor on special teams. If Hayes had decided to leave early, the Trojans would have been in good hands with Michael. Now he gets another year of learning from Hayes, which will benefit him, and he'll be more than ready to take over in 2015.
How important are the 7 on 7 tourneys to recruiting?
Garry Paskwietz (5:54 PM)
They are become more and more impactful each year. it's becoming much like AAU basketball, which some people think is not always a good thing. While there are some pitfalls, you can't deny that the extra reps against quality competition in the off-season has to benefit the players in some way, especially the skill receivers, DB's and QB's. And with so many high profile events, the players get a lot of exposure and that has helped to speed up the recruiting process too.
Kevin (Palm Desert, CA)
Thoughts on Sam Darnold? Kid has a good frame and looks like can run well. How is he as a passer?
Garry Paskwietz (5:57 PM)
Very good passer, very impressive athlete. I'm really looking forward to seeing him in action at the Elite 11 and the Opening next week.
When does fall camp start?
Garry Paskwietz (6:00 PM)
If we had to throw one player in a UFC cage to fight a Lion and come out alive, Who is the pick?
Garry Paskwietz (6:00 PM)
Demario,NC [via mobile]
I think USC will have the best recruiting class next year and they will play Alabama&beat them viciously just like they did in 1970,i hope biggie marshall&john houston commit asap
Garry Paskwietz (6:01 PM)
I'll take all that.
Which position group will be USC's most improved unit this season?
Garry Paskwietz (6:01 PM)
Curtis Boyer (LA)
Hi Garry my friend! How many GA's do we have set, I have a friend interviewing with Tee Martin today so was curious?
Garry Paskwietz (6:02 PM)
Hey Curtis - good to hear from you. I know of 3 right now but they can definitely carry more. Good luck to your friend and we will see you in the fall.
Garry Paskwietz (6:03 PM)
That's all the time we have for today, thanks for coming and we will see you next week while we will be reporting live from The Opening event in Portland.