O/NSO: 2017 recruiting edition

By Greg Katz – WeAreSC

The Obvious: As part of the 23-player USC Trojans recruiting Class of 2017, which already has five players enrolled for the spring semester, eighteen prep football stars signed letters of intent on Wednesday, thus reinforcing the cardinal and gold narrative that the Men of Troy have returned to being a national force both on the field and in recruiting.

The Not So Obvious: Depending on your recruiting scouting service, the Trojans finished in the top ten of 247 (No. 4), ESPN and Scout (No. 5), and Rivals (No. 6). That’s a consensus No. 5 class and please allow head coach Clay Helton and his staff to take bow. Now all that’s left is the O/NSO to tell you what you may or may not know of the newcomers. In other words, The Obvious and The Not So Obvious.

The Obvious: The Trojans signed safety Bubba Bolden (6-3, 190) from Las Vegas, Nevada (Bishop Gorman HS).

The Not So Obvious: Bolden wore No. 11 at Bishop Gorman, a Trojans number that is currently retired (Matt Leinart). Did you know that other notables from Bishop Gorman High include current USC high jumper Randall Cunningham ll, golfer Tommy Armour lll, former NFL quarterback David Humm, former Nevada governor Bob Miller, and Michael Gaughan, current owner of the South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa?

National Ranking: Scout #39, Rivals #61, ESPN 300 #129, 247 #75

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 61

The Obvious: The Trojans signed running back Stephen Carr (6-0, 210) – photo above – from Fontana, California (Summit HS).

The Not So Obvious: Carr wore No. 7 in high school, a Trojans number currently worn by wide receiver Steven Mitchell Jr. Did you know that Summit is part of the Fontana School District, and its football team won the CIF Championship in 2011-2012?

National Ranking: Scout #8, Rivals #38, ESPN 300 #30, 247 #44

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 20

The Obvious: The Trojans signed defensive end Hunter Echols (6-5, 240) from Los Angeles, California (Cathedral).

The Not So Obvious: Echols wore No. 9 at Cathedral, a Trojans defensive number currently available. Did you know that notable Cathedral High alumni include former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, actor Dwayne Hickman (The Many Lives of Doby Gillis), 10-time Grammy Award winner Bobby McFerrin, and 1952 Summer Olympic Silver medalist Bob McMillen?

National Ranking: Scout #234, Rivals #68, ESPN 300 #110, 247 #213

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 128

The Obvious: The Trojans signed safety Juliano Falaniko (6-4, 220) from Pago Pago, America Samoa (Leone HS).

The Not So Obvious: Falaniko wore No. 7 at Leone, a Trojans defensive number currently worn by safety Marvel Tell lll. Did you know that minority enrollment of Leone HS is 100% of the student body (majority American Indian and Asian), which is equal to the state average of 100%, and Leone High School operates within the Doe-terr of American Samoa School District?

National Ranking: Scout #NR, Rivals #NR, ESPN 300 #NR, 247 #NR

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: NR

The Obvious: The Trojans signed tight end Josh Falo (6-6, 235) from Sacramento, Calif. (Inderkum High).

The Not So Obvious: Falo wore No. 1 at Inderkum High, a Trojans offensive number currently available. Did you know that prominent Inderkum alumni include NFL football players Eric Pinkins and Vince Mayle?

National Ranking: Scout #183, Rivals#96, ESPN 300 #92, 247 #80

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 136

The Obvious: The Trojans signed corner Je’Quari Godrey (6-2, 185) from Oakland, California (Bishop O’Dowd HS).

The Not So Obvious: Godfrey wore No. 22 at Bishop O’Dowd, a Trojans defensive number currently available. Did you know that Bishop O’Dowd’s head football coach is former Southern California superstar prep tailback (Lompoc High), former Washington Husky running back legend, and former Oakland Raider Napoleon Kaufman?

National Ranking: Scout #NR, Rivals #NR, ESPN 300 #NR, 247 #NR

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: NR

The Obvious: The Trojans signed wide receiver Randal Grimes (6-4, 205) from Las Vegas, Nevada (Sierra Vista HS).

The Not So Obvious: Grimes wore No. 9 at Sierra Vista, a Trojans offensive number currently available. Did you know that famous Sierra Vista alumni include baseball player Chris Carter and Internet star Ricegum (Bryan Le)?

National Ranking: Scout #NR, Rivals #NR, ESPN 300 #NR, 247 #NR

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: NR

The Obvious: The Trojans signed offensive lineman Austin Jackson (6-6, 290) from Phoenix, Arizona (North Canyon High).

The Not So Obvious: Jackson wore No. 77 at North Canyon, a Trojans number currently worn by OL Chris Brown. Did you know that prominent North Canyon alumni include NFL football player Nick Sundberg and professional soccer player Jordan Stagmiller. Jackson’s grandfather, Melvin, played for John McKay’s legendary Trojans (1974-75) and was part of the 1974 national champions?

National Ranking: Scout #30, Rivals#77, ESPN 300 #54, 247 #21

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 35

The Obvious: An early spring enrollee, the Trojans signed wide long snapper Damon Johnson (6-0, 205) from Glendora, California (Glendora HS/Citrus JC).

The Not So Obvious: Johnson wore No. 26 at Glendora, a Trojans number currently worn by walk-on corner Davonte Nunnery. Did you know that notable Glendora alumni include former NBA player Tracy Murray, former MLB players Phil Ouellette and Aaron Row, and current Washington Husky offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith? Current Trojans quarterback Matt Fink is also a former Glendora alum.

National Ranking: Scout #NR, Rivals #NR, ESPN 300 #NR, 247 #NR

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: NR

The Obvious: The Trojans signed corner Greg Johnson (5-11, 195) from Los Angeles, Calif. (Hawkins High).

The Not So Obvious: Johnson wore No. 3 at Hawkins, a Trojans number currently retired (Carson Palmer). Did you know that Hawkins High is part of the largest school construction building program in the history of Los Angeles Unified? The school consists of three small learning communities (CHAS, RISE, and C:\DAGS). Hawkins opened in 2012 with the first graduating class in 2014.

National Ranking: Scout #97, Rivals #103, ESPN 300 #116, 247 #180

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 102

The Obvious: The Trojans signed linebacker Levi Jones (6-3, 220) from Austin, Texas (Westlake High).

The Not So Obvious: Jones wore No. 17 at Westlake a Trojans number currently worn by DB Keyshawn “Pie” Young. Did you know that prominent Westlake alumni include NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Nick Foles, actress Angela Bettis, MLB player Kelly Bruber, NBA center Chris Mihm, and two-time Olympic swimmer Josh Ilika?

National Ranking: Scout #179, Rivals #79, ESPN 300 #65, 247 #120

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. T91

The Obvious: An early spring enrollee, the Trojans signed linebacker Tayler Katoa (6-2, 220) from Layton, Utah (Layton HS).

The Not So Obvious: Katoa wore No. 10 in high school, a Trojans number currently worn by LB John Houston. Did you know that other Layton High notables include voice actress Christine Cavanaugh (Dexter’s Laboratory and Chuckie in Rugrats and Gosalyn Mallard from Darkwing Duck) and professional mixed martial artist Court McGee?

National Ranking: Scout #NR, Rivals #NR, ESPN 300 #NR, 247 #NR

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: NR

The Obvious: The Trojans signed tight end Erik Krommenhoek (6-5, 245) from Danville, California (Monte Vista HS).

The Not So Obvious: Krommenhoek wore No. 11 at Monte Vista, a Trojans number that is currently retired (Matt Leinart). Did you know that famous Monte Vista alumni include NFL players Zach Ertz and Casey Merrill, Golden State Warriors GM and former UCLA basketball player Bob Meyers, TV producer David Zuckerman, and Olympic water polo player Maggie Steffens?

National Ranking: Scout #NR, Rivals #NR, ESPN 300 #NR, 247 #NR

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: NR

The Obvious: The Trojans signed wide receiver Joseph Lewis IV (6-2, 205) from Los Angeles, Calif. (Hawkins High).

The Not So Obvious: Lewis wore No. 4 at Hawkins, a Trojans offensive number currently available. Did you know that Hawkins High school opened in the year of 2012 with the first graduating class in 2014?

National Ranking: Scout #24, Rivals #50, ESPN 300 #16, 247 #73

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 31

The Obvious: The Trojans signed defensive end Jacob Lichtenstein (6-5, 255) from Weston, Florida (Cypress Bay HS).

The Not So Obvious: Lichtenstein wore No. 56 in high school, a defensive Trojans number currently available. Did you know that famous Cypress Bay High alumni include CFL player Buddy Jackson and rapper Jake Miller?

National Ranking: Scout #NR, Rivals #NR, ESPN 300 #NR, 247 #NR

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: NR

The Obvious: The Trojans signed center Brett Neilon (6-2, 295) from Rancho Santa Margarita, California (Santa Margarita Catholic HS).

The Not So Obvious: Neilon wore No. 62 at Santa Margarita Catholic, a Trojans number currently available. Did you know that prominent SMCHS alumni include former Trojans Heisman winning quarterback Carson Palmer and NBA star Klay Thompson?

National Ranking: Scout #NR, Rivals #NR, ESPN 300 #182, 247 #209

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: NR

The Obvious: The Trojans signed defensive lineman Brandon Pili (6-4, 320) from Portland, Oregon (Westview High).

The Not So Obvious: Pili wore No.65 at Westview, a Trojans defensive number currently available. Did you know that prominent Westview alumni include MLB players Trevor Crowe and Carson Kelly, WNBA basketball player Kara Braxton, and MLS soccer player Erik Gurtado, and that Pili is originally from Alaska?

National Ranking: Scout #NR, Rivals #NR, ESPN 300 #NR, 247 #NR

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: NR

The Obvious: The Trojans signed safety Isaiah Pola-Mao (6-4, 200) from Phoenix, Arizona (Mountain Pointe High).

The Not So Obvious: Pola-Mao wore No. 9 at Mountain Pointe, a Trojans defensive number currently available Did you know that prominent Mountain Pointe alumni include baseball players C.J. Cron, Kevin Cron, Joe Mather, actress Rachel Melvin (Days of Our Lives), WNBA player Nicole Powell, golfer Nick Scheib, and Summer Olympic volleyball performer Reid Priddy?

National Ranking: Scout #140, Rivals #99, ESPN 300 #222, 247 #107

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 116

The Obvious: An early spring enrollee, the Trojans signed quarterback Jack Sears (6-3, 195) from San Clemente, California (San Clemente).

The Not So Obvious: Sears wore No. 16 at San Clemente, a number currently worn by Trojan tailback Dominic Davis. You already know San Clemente is also the alma mater of some kid named Sam Darnold. However, did you know that other prominent San Clemente alumni include NFL players Kyle Murphy, Travis Wilson, Chase Rettig, Bill Kenney, Trevor Insley, Brian de la Puente, MLB player Kolby Allard, 2008 Olympic volleyball gold medal winner Gabriel Gardner, and 2010 Playboy Playmate Katie Vernola?

National Ranking: Scout #117, Rivals #177, ESPN 300 #103, 247 #166

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 103

The Obvious: The Trojans signed defensive lineman Jay Tufele (6-3, 295) from South Jordan, Utah (Bingham High).

The Not So Obvious: Tufele wore No. 78 at Bingham, a Trojans defensive number currently available. Did you know that prominent Bingham alumni include NFL players Kevin Curtis, Bruce Hardy, and Star Lotulelei, NBA player Fred Roberts, and actress Jamie Bergman?

National Ranking: Scout #36, Rivals #37, ESPN 300 #119, 247 #14

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 41

The Obvious: The Trojans signed offensive tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker (6-4, 300) from Oakland, California (Bishop O’Dowd HS).

The Not So Obvious: Vera-Tucker wore No. 75 at Bishop O’Dowd, a Trojans number currently available. Did you know when Bishop O’Dowd first opened in 1951 and tuition and fees were just $100?

National Ranking: Scout #175, Rivals #176, ESPN 300 #56, 247 #141

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 112

The Obvious: An early spring enrollee, the Trojans signed defensive lineman Marlon Tuipulotu (6-3, 295) from Independence, Oregon (Central High).

The Not So Obvious: Tuipulotu wore No. 51 at Central, a Trojans defensive number currently worn by ILB walk-on Joel Foy. Did you know that prominent Independence alumni include pop artist Jasmine Ash, NFL player Jeff Charleston, actor Patrick Page, and radio personality Greg Nibler?

National Ranking: Scout #53, Rivals #126, ESPN 300 #109, 247 #13

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: No. 60

The Obvious: An early spring enrollee, the Trojans signed offensive tackle Andrew Vorhees (6-6, 290) from Kingsburg, California (Kingsburg HS).

The Not So Obvious: Vorhees wore No. 55 at Kingsburg, a defensive number currently available. Did you know that Kingsburg alumni include former NFL player and coach Monte Clark, NFL players Jimmy Johnson and Goran Lingmerth, Olympic decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson, and women’s pole vault pioneer Melissa Price?

National Ranking: Scout #NR, Rivals #237, ESPN 300 #NR, 247 #NR

Composite USA Today recruiting services ranking: NR

The Obvious: And finally, two players that didn’t sign but are viewed as solid commits are offensive lineman Jalen McKenzie (Concord, Calif./ Clayton Valley) and defensive lineman Terrance Lang (Pasadena, Calif./Maranatha).

The Not So Obvious: Not to worry, one is expected to be a blueshirt (McKenzie) and the other a greyshirt (Lang).  As the late Hall of Fame sportswriter and columnist Loel Schrader used to write after another John McKay recruiting signing bonanza, “Them that has gits!” UPDATE – On Saturday, Terrance Lang had a change of heart and signed a letter of intent to play football at the University of Colorado.

Greg Katz

Katz has been with WeAreSC since 2002, which includes contributions to Scout and ESPN.com. A member of the Football Writers Association.

2 Replies to "O/NSO: 2017 recruiting edition"

  • yale February 4, 2017 (2:23 pm)

    Read Lang will not grey shirt…signed with Colorado
    I know I read the blue shirt signed…McKenzie…hope so,looks like a starter in another year

  • Cory February 5, 2017 (7:15 pm)

    Where have you been hiding? Wondered when you would post our recruiting Bonanza? What’s up with all the NR’s on ratings, most of them were solidly rated, not NR????????

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