Trojan Fanfare:Analyzing another top 10 recruiting class

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By Bill Port

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The Newest and Best Men of Troy:

Analyzing the nation’s 7th ranked recruiting class

You guys nabbed a verbal committ from QB Matt Barkley, the guy who is to ’09 what Terrelle Pryor is to ‘08 and Jimmy Clausen in ‘06. Tell me about him…..
 

What can I say about Matt Barkley.  He is a stud.  A standout coming from a high school that has produced quarterbacks like Matt Leinart and Colt Brennan, Barkley is THE GUY for 2009.  Thankfully, all of the talks of him going to UCLA turned out to be hogwash, it would have been sad to see such a great high school football player go to the rival college.  The best comparison I can make to Barkley is Carson Palmer.  He has good size at 6’3’’ 220 lbs. and has the arm to be the next great QB to come out of USC.  There aren’t many negatives with Barkley, and he still has a year of high school left.  The only problem I see with the situation is his playing time.  Depending on who starts in 2008, he will join Mark Sanchez (if he stays for his senior year), Mitch Mustain, and 2007 recruit Aaron Corp who won’t play as a freshman. Mustain will go the next year, meaning Barkley will battle for the job as a junior.  As long as he develops like USC QBs of the past have, he will get everyone’s attention…even if his only starts come as a senior.

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we’ve discovered the genealogy of Notre Dame QB and 2007 #1 recruit Jimmy Clausen
 

What’s going to happen at tailback next year? All those blue chip recruits at one position…enough carries to go around?

Yes, USC is full of running backs.  When I think of the Trojan’s backfield, I think of the team I control in NCAA Football 2008 for PS2.  By this I mean, after a while the team becomes so dominant, you can get so many good players and some studs don’t even play.  A fine example of this is the one and only Matt Cassel.  He took less that 50 snaps in college, and got moved to Tight End one year, but I digress.  I thought Emmanuel Moody would push Joe McKnight and Stafon Johnson to be the go-to tailback, but Moody transferred to Florida so that is out of the question.  So McKnight and Johnson should split the carries for the most part, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see McKnight get the majority of them.  Of the eight running backs on the depth chart last year, three graduated and one transferred, the decision on playing time should be slightly easier.
What did you like most about this year’s recruiting class? Who jumps out at you when it comes to helping fill needs?

When it comes to filling needs for USC, when a senior graduates, the guy behind him steps up and could be a star but you never previously knew about it.  Obviously, they need to fill in some spots at the defensive line.  One guy that stands out among the newcomers is Jurrell Casey.  He went to Poly HS, a powerhouse in California.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see this guy making a push for a job in the near future.  I also think the defensive back position is a little weak, so I am happy to see that the Trojans signed 3 guys that will enroll in the fall, and 1 that will come to the team in the spring.  Hopefully, the transfer, Shane Horton can make an impact.  Filling in for Sam Baker on the line will not be easy, But Daniel Campbell from Texas is a 330 pounder that could fill the void.

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The program loses talent to the NFL every season, and of course just re-loads, but who’s loss will hurt most this time?

USC always has a ton of talent stepping up, but one spot that will be hard to fill is defensive end where Lawrence Jackson played.  His back-up was also a senior.  The loss will hurt in the immediate future, but Pete Carroll has his ways of finding diamonds in the rough.  Everson Griffin could be the guy in 2008, but we’ll have to wait and see what the Trojans do with the ends on the d-line.

Are you surprised to see that Ray Maualuga stayed?

To be honest, I was a bit surprised.  He really boosted his stock with his performance against Illinois in the Rose Bowl, where he appeared to be everywhere, all over the field.  As long as there isn’t a big injury, he will be one of the best players to enter the 2009 draft.  I think he knows this as well, and that is why he stuck around.  Hopefully, he can take the momentum from the end of this past season into next season, and be the animal on the defensive side of the ball.
 All questions asked by Paul M. Banks
 
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