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In a breakdown of the toughest nonconference schedules for the 2016 season, ESPN's Chris Low ranks the three most difficult as belonging to USC, Oklahoma and Florida State.

USC will face Alabama, Utah State and Notre Dame; Oklahoma will duel with Houston, Louisiana-Monroe and Ohio State (all before the month of September's closed out); Florida State will tango with Ole Miss, Charleston Southern, South Florida and Florida. Rounding out the Top-5, according to Low, are Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh. Of note, not a single SEC team cracked his list. Though dealing with each other offers its own set of challenges.
Source: ESPN.com
Feb 8 - 7:44 PM

USC signed four-star T Frank Martin II.

Martin visited Texas A&M and Utah in November, but USC was always a logical landing spot given that he calls Santa Ana home. The 6-foot-5, 302-pounder finds himself at No. 196 in the ESPN 300. Their scouting rundown notes that he's a "[p]rospect with size and strength to generate some push and [one who] flashes ability to quickly get into defenders, deliver a good pop and generate a good initial surge." At the same time, he'll sometimes "get overextended and fall off blocks." He'll need to fine tune his footwork, technique and pad level before he's polished enough to contribute to HC Clay Helton's gang.
Feb 8 - 1:14 PM

Pro Football Focus analyst Kevin Connaghan writes that USC LB/S Su'a Cravens "excelled in coverage, holding quarterbacks targeting his coverage to a 52.3 passer rating over the past two seasons."

A spicy meatball of a stat right there. Cravens' coverage skills are so finely attuned because he actually began his career as a safety before finishing his final two seasons with the Trojans as a linebacker. Noted Connaghan, "He thrived in that hybrid role [covering the slot at LB], showing the ability to set the edge and play the run at a high level, and also contribute as a pass rusher." A recent four-round mock draft by NFL Media analyst Chad Reuter had the Bengals selecting Cravens with pick No. 55 in the back half of the second round.
Feb 7 - 6:00 PM

Rivals recruiting director Mike Farrell noted that USC four-star S Jamel Cook "was a big pull for the Trojans [after he committed to Florida State]."

Cook turned a long-standing commitment to the Seminoles on its head when he opted to jump for USC on National Signing Day. "Pete Carroll made a living pulling top east coast kids to USC and it helped him win national titles," Farrell wrote, "so if Clay Helton can start doing the same then Trojans fans will be happy." That's a hefty chunk of hyperbole, but there's no denying that USC was one of the big winners on Wednesday. They finished with Rivals' No. 8 class for the cycle, this after entering the day lounging in the 30's on the outlet's board.
Source: rivals.com
Feb 6 - 8:38 PM

Rivals recruiting director Mike Farrell named USC four-star DE Connor Murphy his biggest "Boom or Bust" prospect in the 2016 recruiting class.

"Murphy has solid bloodlines and a good work ethic, but he can be easy to block at times because he’s so long," Farrell wrote. "Long" might be an understatement in this case, as the new Trojan measures out at 6-foot-7, 255 pounds. While it's possible that he's undone by that, Farrell actually sees Murphy falling into the dynamite category, writing, "I honestly think he’s going to be a BOOM because I like his length, drive and physical nature."
Source: rivals.com
Feb 6 - 5:48 PM

Rivals recruiting director Mike Farrell named USC four-star T E.J. Price the "Biggest Project" of National Signing Day.

Wrote Farrell, "Physically he looks the part and will get bigger and stronger in college, but he needs work on his footwork as a tackle and he could be a holding penalty threat inside if he doesn’t work on hand placement." The 6-foot-6, 311-pounder was also in play for Georgia before he opted to sign with the Trojans. ESPN's Craig Haubert believes "Price has the ability to come in and contribute," but Farrell thinks there's a ways to go here. "He’s still raw and is a few years away," he concluded.
Source: rivals.com
Feb 5 - 10:55 PM

USC signed four-star ATH Trevon Sidney.

Sidney committed to USC over the summer and like every one of HC Clay Helton's commitments entering National Signing Day on Wednesday, he stuck to his word. The 5-foot-11, 164-pounder has the skill set to play either slot receiver or corner at the collegiate level. ESPN 300 (where he ranks No. 144) notes that if he's to reach his upside, it's an absolute must that he add weight to his frame. He doesn't necessarily have race car speed, but works well in space.
Feb 5 - 7:29 PM

USC AD Pat Haden will resign effective June 30, 2016.

Haden won't be done with the Trojans completely, as he'll be helping to oversee the renovation of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum through June 2017, but that role's a separate matter. He's been USC's athletic director since 2010. In late October, he announced that he would be stepping down from the CFP selection committee, perhaps the first step in his eventual exit plan. As for who will replace Haden, the university will hire a search firm to find the right person.
Feb 5 - 1:55 PM

USC four-star T E.J. Price described his National Signing Day choice as "an academic decision."

In addition to the book learnin', there's also some football in Price's future. Of that, he said, "Of course the coaches. It’s the football season, so the coaches have to make me comfortable for me to even take a trip out there. I love the coaches, that’s the reason why I got out there in the first place." The 6-foot-6, 311-pounder considered Georgia in addition to the Trojans, but his mother indicated that the firing of Mark Richt might have changed the equation. Price was ranked the No. 184 recruit by Rivals.
Source: rivals.com
Feb 4 - 6:32 PM

USC OC Tee Martin was named the 247Sports Recruiter of the Year.

Martin had come close to Recruiter of the Year honors each of the last two recruiting cycles, but he's finally speared his white whale. Said the 37-year-old, "I communicate the facts. USC is a football powerhouse, it’s a Top 15 university and Los Angeles is a great place to live. I don’t sell. That’s what it is. I’m more of a communicator of facts." Those are nice facts, Coach. We have another one for you. On Tuesday, USC was a ho-hum 33rd in the 2016 Rivals class rankings. With Signing Day in the books, they jumped all the way to 8th. Fact. "It starts with the head coach, the coordinators, the recruiting coordinator, every assistant coach and especially the off the field guys that never get the credit and no one knows about," Martin said. "It’s a credit to everybody." The 2016 season will be Martin's first full-time season as an offensive coordinator.
Feb 4 - 3:47 PM

USC C Max Tuerk is aiming to work out in late April for NFL teams, according to Rob Rang.

Tuerk tore a ligament in his knee against Washington in early October, and Rang notes the mobile center is "100 percent sure he will be back next year." Tuerk will likely weigh in under 300 lbs but should fit a team that wants their center to get to the second level or pull out in space.
Source: Rob
Feb 4 - 9:42 AM

Four-star WR Keyshawn Young signed with USC.

Young took official January visits to Florida State and Louisville (in addition to the Trojans) before he made his final choice. The 5-foot-11, 163-pounder played his high school ball at Miami Senior High School. Not only was he a skilled defender and receiver there, ESPN 300 offers the delightful note that he also excelled at kicking. He's not a particularly refined route runner at this stage in his career and will need to put on muscle with the Trojans. ESPN sees similarities with Miami's Stacey Coley when Coley was coming out of high school. For reference's sake when trying to project Young, Coley finished the 2015 campaign with 103 catches for 1,464 yards and 11 touchdowns. Should Young eventually produce similar numbers, this could be a sneaky steal of a Signing Day coup.
Feb 3 - 8:00 PM

Four-star DE Connor Murphy committed to USC.

He chose the Trojans over Michigan. Murphy is ranked No. 230 overall and No. 27 defensive end recruit in the class of 2016 by Scout. Murphy is a "great looking prospect from a physical standpoint," Scout wrote. "Has all of the tools to be a big time player. Is tall, long, has good strength and can run. Still developing and raw physically, but the future is bright as he continues to grow. Could potentially play DT, DE or even OT."
Feb 3 - 6:18 PM

Five-star ATH Jack Jones committed to USC.

Jones made his commitment in the presence of Snoop Dogg. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder could be used in a number of different ways at the collegiate level. Scout.com believes he could be a star corner. He's already there as a wide receiver and with a strong elusive element to his game, he could be the next electric return man to prowl the Trojan sidelines. Overall, Scout ranks him 15th. At the position of "athlete," though, there's nobody higher on their list.
Feb 3 - 5:24 PM

USC signed four-star T E.J. Price.

This one-time Georgia commit -- Price is from Lawrenceville, Ga. -- decided to head to the West Coast and pitch in with Clay Helton's rebuilding efforts. He also spurned Michigan State, LSU and Auburn. Price reminds ESPN of Arkansas' Denver Kirkland. "Kirkland was an ESPN 300 OL prospect in the 2013 class, a big man with a nice combination of size and athleticism," wrote Craig Haubert. "Initially Kirkland was more of raw, developmental prospect, but he continued to get better during his high school career and was able to contribute as a freshman at Arkansas. We see some similarities in ability, growth and upside with Price." Price was the No. 90 player in the ESPN 300. "His best football is very much ahead of him, and there is still work to be done, but Price has the ability to come in and contribute," Haubert wrote.
Source: ESPN.com
Feb 3 - 4:51 PM


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