The Insider Report

Xavier Grimble

Time to panic, right? Here it is, halfway through the recruiting season and USC hasn't already clinched the No. 1 team ranking. In fact, the Trojans are ranked No. 14 by Scout.com, several blips behind Stanford (eighth) and a spot in arrears of the dreaded Fighting Irish of Notre Dame.

Oh, woe is me. What happened to the vaunted Pete Carroll recruiting machine that terrorized college football for nine years, that always brought in super-dupers from around the nation and the best of the best in California?

The answer is – nothing has changed. Just an altered strategy after a 2009 class turned slightly sour at the end, when a couple of players jumped ship after earlier pledging their lives to Troy.

Carroll has never liked early commitments, but he went with the tide in college football last year and learned that his previous instincts were correct. That is, don't count on commitments unless the athlete is so firmly in the USC camp that he has little or no desire to loved and courted by every school in the land, even after making a commitment.

So, proceeding more slowly, Carroll has mustered eight commitments and isn't concerned about losing any of them. One of the eight is Xavier Grimble, a 6-4, 245-pound tight end from Bishop Gorman High in Las Vegas who is considered the No. 1 prospect at that position in the country. And another tight end commitment, Randall Telfer of Rancho Cucamonga, is talented enough that eventually there will be a dogfight for the starting job.

So, don't worry about Pete, his recruiting-coordinator son, Brennan, and the remainder of a persuasive cast of USC recruiters. When the final numbers are in, the Trojans will be up there or ahead of the nation's major powers in final team recruiting rankings

EARLY RETURNS:

Here are the early returns and the number of athletes committed to some of the nation's powerhouse programs: Texas, 19 (all from Texas); Oklahoma, 11; Michigan, 14; Ohio State, 5; Penn State, 8; Florida State, 3; Alabama, 14; Florida, 14; Georgia, 8; LSU, 14; Tennessee, 8 (Lane Kiffin is bringing in three JC linemen); Notre Dame, 5. Surprisingly, three of the Domers' recruits are five-star prospects.

AND AWAY WE GO:

Let's run through the list of Trojan prospects with offers and comment briefly on each. Next week we'll talk about the top prospects who don't have offers.

--Wide receiver Kyle Prater from Proviso West in Hillside, Ill. Would take next to a miracle to lure an out-of-state receiver rated the best in the nation to choose a West Coast school, but Carroll has produced miracles for the past eight years.

--Middle linebacker Jeff Luc from Treasure Coast High in Port Saint Lucie, Fla.. Medium interest, but has a high opinion of Ken Norton and what the USC linebackers have accomplished under his watch.

--Running back Lache Seastrunk, Temple, Tex. Will attend USC's Rising Stars camp, so there's definite interest. There's been a rumor swirling that he committed to Auburn, but it's doubtful that actually happened.

--Defensive tackle Garrison Smith, Douglass High in Atlanta. Said he will make an official visit to USC. So, there's interest.

--Defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat, Plano West, Plano, Tex. Will attend Rising Stars camp. Father Jim was a teammate of Ken Norton with the Dallas Cowboys.Lamarcus Joyner from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. A longshot, at best.

--Running back Malcolm Jones from Oaks Christian High in Woodland Hills. Brother Marshall is a Trojan, but Malcolm is probably headed for Stanford. He knows how good Marc Tyler is.

--Safety Sean Parker, Narbonne High, Harbor City. USC has a good chance of landing him, but he will not make a decision on a school until he takes his five official visits. He will more than likely announce his commitment on signing day.

--Defensive end Ronald Powell, Rancho Verde High, Moreno Valley. It's USC and Florida, with the Trojans holding a slight lead in our opinion, despite a recent unofficial visit to Gainesville.

--Linebacker Hayes Pullard, Crenshaw High, Los Angeles. Offered by USC, but everybody knows where Crenshaw players are headed – and that's Westwood.

--Wide receiver Robert Woods, Serra High, Gardena. Top schools are USC, UCLA and Cal. Toss-up, but we believe he stays local.

--Running back Anthony Barr, Loyola, L.A. Family has ties with Notre Dame. Will more than likely end up a linebacker.

--Offensive tackle Jake Matthews, Missouri City, Tex. Not likely to leave the state of Texas for his college football.

--Defensive tackle Cassius Marsh, Oaks Christian, Woodland Hills. Withdrew commitment to Cal. Likes USC. Mother isn't sure. Mom will meet with USC coaches and give the Trojans a chance because Cassius really likes USC.

--Wide receiver Kenny Stills, La Costa Canyon, Encinitas. USC, Oklahoma or Cal are the likely destinations for Stills in our opinion. If we had to make a prediction, we'd pick USC. Ask a Notre Dame fan about Stills, and they will tell you Stills is all Irish.

--Defensive tackle Ricky Heimuli, Salt Lake City. Will attend USC Rising Stars camp and said, "You have no idea how excited I am about the offer from USC."

--Wide receiverDemarco Cobbs, Tulsa, Okla. Good chance for USC, unless he has a poor visit to USC later this month. But how often do these kids have a bad visit at USC?

--Tight end Christian Thomas, Highland High, Palmdale. USC may already have filled its quota of tight ends. May wind up at UCLA.

--Safety Marquis Flowers, Millennium High, Goodyear, Ariz. The Trojans have a chance. Flowers was scheduled to attend the Rising Stars Camp, but summer school might keep him at home.

--Defensive tackle Sione Potoae, Lakes High, Lakewood, Wash. Washington commit who will attend of the USC Rising Stars camp.

--Linebacker Josh Shirley, Henry J. Kaiser High, Fontana. USC or UCLA. Also likes Tennessee, but we predict he stays closer to home.

--Cornerback Demetrius Wright, Corona High. USC has inside track. Will attend Rising Stars camp. Definitely one of the most physically dominating CB prospects along with Josh Shaw.

--Linebacker Christian Jones, Lake Howell High, Winter Haven, Fla. Has USC offer and may visit Troy.

--Safety Dietrich Riley, St. Francis, La Canada. Recruited first as a defensive back, but wants to be a running back. USC now recruiting him as a running back. Was admittedly leaning to USC a year ago, but is now open to other schools and will take all of his official visits.

--Offensive tackle Chaz Green, Tampa, Fla. USC aggressively recruiting Green, but too early to make a call. Will probably end up a Gator.

--Safety Tony Jefferson, one of the top prospects in the nation from Eastlake High, Chula Vista. USC ‘s chances are good.

--Cornerback Joshua Shaw, Palmdale. USC, Notre Dame, Oklahoma. Will attend Rising Stars camp. "I have really, really, really high interest in USC," is what Shaw told us last night. "I would put USC, Notre Dame and Oklahoma in the same category (High interest).

--Defensive end Lynden Trail, Booker T. Washington High, Miami, Fla. Excited about USC offer. He told us Florida is No. 1, USC No. 2.

--Defensive end Delvin Jones, Palmetto High, Miami, Fla. Early on, Jones said USC was No. 1, but he hasn't been as convincing in later conversations.

--Wide receiver/CB Anthony Jefferson, Los Angeles Cathedral. One of top cornerback prospects in nation. Seriously considering USC. Will attend Rising Stars camp.

SCROGGINS VISITING THE SOUTH

It has been a very busy couple of weeks for the top quarterbacks on the West Coast since the commitment of Scout's top-rated signal caller, Jake Heaps, to BYU. After Heaps made his college choice, two other big name quarterbacks took themselves off the market, with Nick Montana choosing Washington and Peter Thomas picking Arizona State.

While those three quarterbacks can now relax and get ready for their senior season of high school, Lakewood's Jesse Scroggins remains a very busy kid.

This week the Lakewood standout will attend camps at Tennessee and Florida, two schools that are really coming after him hard.

When he returns to Los Angeles Scroggins will compete at USC's Rising Stars Camp for a possible scholarship offer, and if he does receive an offer, don't expect Scroggins to be scared off by USC's star-studded depth chart.

"Competition is my No.1 thing. I love competition," Scroggins said. "That's most people's fear but it is my No.1 aspect in life."

At this point, USC, Florida, Tennessee and LSU are showing Scroggins the most attention and he plans to make a college choice by the end of summer.

SHAW HAS THREE:

Palmdale elite CB Josh Shaw told SCPlaybook last night," I have very, very, very high interest in USC. You can put USC, Notre Dame and Oklahoma in the same category (High interest)." More coming on Shaw tomorrow.

TAFT TRIO SHINE AT USC SKILLS CAMP:

Hybrid LB/DE Brent Williams, DT Antwaun Woods and OL Brandon Mitchell all had outstanding performances at USC's June 14 Linemen Camp and all three have high interest in the Trojans.

"It was great and something I will never forget," said Williams about his experience at USC's Linemen Camp. "I got to work with the entire USC coaching staff and that was an opportunity I wanted to take advantage of. And I just had a great chance to shine and there was good competition as far as the O-line is concerned. There were guys I had a chance to go against I've seen at other camps. I did pretty well against everyone I went up against (understatement)."

Woods said by phone after the camp, "USC said they need to see my grades improve, but I think they are going to offer. I have a couple D's I need to make up and will do that in summer school. I have always loved USC and going to USC together is something Brandon, Brent, D.J. and I have always talked about. It will be great to have that opportunity."

Brandon Huffman said, "Woods and Jalen Grimble will be the top two defensive tackle prospects on the West Coast next year."

We will have more from the Taft trio later this week.

- Kevin Carden contributed to The Insider Report


Palmdale DB Joshua Shaw revealed a top 3 of USC, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.

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