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USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin saw some of Jamaal Charles in junior RB Ronald Jones II when he recruited Jones to Los Angeles.

"He reminded me of Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs. That type of skill set," Martin said. "Just a guy who runs and it’s easy for him. It doesn’t look like he’s working hard and he’s running by everyone." ESPN ranked Jones II, a Texas product, as the No. 1 running back in the class of 2015. In 2015, Jones II broke Charles White’s USC freshman rushing record with 987 yards. Last year, he again led the Trojans with 1,082 yards. Jones ran for 742 yards over the final six games of the regular season after Justin Davis went down. "Everybody knows he's a great runner, but when you really look at where he is from day one when he started at USC to where he is now, he's become a better pass-catcher out of the back field, he's becoming a better third-down pass-protection guy," HC Clay Helton said. "He's really becoming a more complete player and an every-down player."
Source: ESPN
Feb 23 - 1:51 PM

Rotoworld's Josh Norris ranks USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster as the class' No. 10 overall receiver.

Our draft guru is lower on the youngest receiver in the class than most. "Crossing routes and downfield routes over the middle," Norris wrote. "Can be good after the catch when hit in stride. Nice speed/size combination." Norris suggested that Smith-Schuster could be "Corey Davis after taxes."
Source: Rotoworld
Feb 23 - 11:13 AM

A western regional scout from an AFC team insists USC OL Zach Banner is an NFL tackle.

"He's a really big guy. That's his body type," the regional scout said. "If he doesn't work his tail off to manage it, there is no doubt his weight will shoot way up again. Everyone is going to write him as a guard but I'm writing him as a tackle. They all have issues. I think we could work around him at tackle." NFL Media's Lance Zierlein compares Banner to Trent Brown. "Rare size, but some teams will question whether he can bend enough to be a functional NFL guard," Zierlein wrote. "As a tackle, he lacks quickness to consistently protect the passer, and teams might focus too heavily on that shortcoming. Teams who focus on Banner's strength -- drive blocking -- should be rewarded with a starting right guard who is average in pass protection, but who can help turn run creases into running lanes."
Source: NFL.com
Feb 22 - 3:24 PM

Per Bovada, USC redshirt sophomore QB Sam Darnold is now the favorite to win the 2017 Heisman Trophy.

Darnold opened at 9/1 late last month, behind JT Barrett (6/1), Lamar Jackson (7/1) and Baker Mayfield (11/2). But Darnold surged to the head of the pack in Bovada's most recent odds, released Wednesday. Now, Jackson, the 2016 winner, is tied with 2016 finalist Mayfield for second at 13/2 odds. Alabama running back Bo Scarborough (9/1) and Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts (10/1) round out the top five. Barrett's odds fell to 12/1.
Feb 21 - 12:59 PM

Four-star 2018 LB Palaie Gaoteote, the No. 1 outside linebacker in the country, committed to USC.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder ranks as ESPN's No. 41 overall prospect and Rivals' No. 24 overall prospect in the 2018 cycle. He held offers from most of the country, including Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, UCLA and Washington. The Trojans have been on an epic recruiting heater since the end of the 2017 cycle.
Source: ESPN
Feb 20 - 1:55 PM

A former USC assistant coach explained to NFL.com's Lance Zierlein that WR JuJu Smith-Schuster "absolutely loves football."

"He came in as a safety and probably could have gone pro as a safety," the assistant added. Smith-Schuster's 2015 season is one of the most productive from a receiver in this class, with 89 catches for 1,454 yards and 10 touchdowns. The following year was a disappointment. One difference is JuJu averaged 1.2 yards more after the catch as a sophomore.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 20 - 10:31 AM

In NFL Media analyst Chad Reuter's most recent four-round mock draft, USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is not selected until pick No. 69.

Reuter projects Smith-Schuster to the Titans (via one of the picks the Rams gave up for Jared Goff) at pick No. 69. This feels like an accurate placement given recent draft buzz -- or lack thereof -- regarding the 6-foot-2, 215-pounder. Earlier this month, Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline passed along that he was hearing from two separate sources that Smith-Schuster is being viewed as a second- or third-rounder. Getting the wideout in the third round would be an absolute steal in our opinion.
Source: NFL.com
Feb 18 - 2:19 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline hears that while training with Clemson WR Mike Williams and Western Michigan WR Corey Davis, USC WR Darreus Rogers has "looked the equal" of those two first-rounders to-be.

This has particularly been the case during pass-catching drills, where Pauline reports that Rogers was "oftentimes the best receiver of the three when the trio worked together." The analyst adds that the true concern with the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Rogers is in his top-end speed. "My suggestion: don’t automatically dismiss Rogers if he’s not swift during the [C]ombine and pay attention to his pass-catching workout," Pauline concludes. Rogers could find interest in the later rounds on Day 3 of the draft.
Feb 17 - 8:44 PM

Rivals recruiting analyst Adam Gorney passes along that uncommitted four-star 2018 LB Palaie Gaoteote is a "top target" for Ohio State.

Gorney believes that Gaoteote will ultimately commit to HC Urban Meyer and crew, though he cautions that UCLA could play spoiler on this one. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder ranks as Rivals' No. 24 overall prospect in the 2018 cycle. ESPN views him in a relatively similar light, slotting Gaoteote into their master list at No. 41 overall. The latter outlet notes that assuming he can put on a bit more playing weight, his highest collegiate upside would come at outside linebacker.
Source: Rivals
Feb 17 - 7:45 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline relays that sources saw USC CB Adoree' Jackson receiving care for his lower leg and ankle from a trainer or physical therapist at a recent workout.

Our trusted analyst has gone full Game of Thrones here, getting valuable intel from the little birdies he's spread across the land. Since Jackson was carted off the field with a serious ankle injury at the Rose Bowl against Penn State, this situation demands the draft community's full attention. Jackson is seen as a late-Rd. 1 or early-Rd. 2 prospect.
Feb 16 - 12:56 PM

USC redshirt freshman T E.J. Price is still enrolled at the school.

Price hasn't been with the football program since September due to "some personal family issues," per HC Clay Helton, and he's been rumored to be transferring since then. That he hasn't yet provides hope that he might return to the Trojans after all. The 6-foot-6, 311-pound Price was ranked as the No. 184 overall recruit in his cycle by Rivals.
Feb 10 - 2:54 PM

The New York Daily News printed a column about whether the Jets should tank next season headlined: "Suck For Sam."

The Sam in this case is USC redshirt sophomore QB Sam Darnold, who'll first be eligible for the NFL Draft after next season (2018). The Daily News reports that although some in the Jets' building like North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky, he isn't expected to last until No. 6. Unless New York talks itself into one of the crop's other signal-callers, it may choose to wait until next year to pull the trigger on a top-notch QB prospect. Next year's QB class, led by Darnold and UCLA’s Josh Rosen, is expected to be more top-heavy than this one. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Darnold threw 31 touchdowns with only nine interceptions in going 9-1 as a starter last year. "Suck for Sam might be worth the gamble," concluded Manish Mehta.
Feb 10 - 2:15 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline spoke to two separate sources who view USC WR JuJu Smith-Schuster as a second- or third-round selection.

"They feel there is nothing special about his game; he’s not a downfield threat, he runs average routes and some contend he does not catch the ball well," Pauline writes. This jives very closely with CBS Sports' Dane Brugler's opinion -- Brugler wrote in mid-January that he would be caught off guard if Smith-Schuster was drafted in the first round. His work at the NFL Scouting Combine later this month is looking increasingly crucial if the former Trojans star is to remain in the first-round conversation.
Feb 9 - 4:53 PM

USC suspended K Matt Boermeester indefinitely while the university investigates a "code of conduct issue."

Deadspin reports that "[t]wo tips have described a January incident involving Boermeester and his ex-girlfriend." No further details of that alleged incident are available. "The university is investigating a code of conduct issue with Matt Boermeester," the school said in a statement. "While this student code of conduct issue is being investigated, the student will not be representing the university as a member of its athletic team."
Source: Deadspin
Feb 8 - 1:35 PM

Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline reports that there is a concern among some scouts that USC OL Zach Banner "does not or cannot bend his knees."

Pauline relays that scouts "love" Banner's size and athletic ability, but beyond those facets of his game, there is some cause for concern. In addition to his lack of knee-bend, the 6-foot-8, 361-pounder (he's a big boy) could be flagged by some teams on the medical front due to past hip injuries. Pauline believes he will be drafted in the fourth round or thereabouts this spring.
Feb 5 - 4:48 PM


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