USC football recruiting 2014: California talent leads Trojans' class

Ethan Miller

USC has just 15 commitments at this point, but there is a lot of four-star talent in that group.

USC is set to welcome 19 new players Wednesday in new coach Steve Sarkisian's first recruiting class. This class has a large focus on rebuilding up front for the Trojans, with nine of their 18 commitments projecting as offensive or defensive linemen. Though they rank noticeably behind several other Pac-12 rivals, Steve Sarkisian still should have plenty of talent to work with, as nearly half the class is rated four-stars, and a significant number are already available for spring.

USC's class at a glance
Total commits
Five-star prospects Four-star prospects
19 2 8

Update, Feb. 5: USC has had a big Signing Day, adding the top cornerback in the country (Adoree' Jackson) and the top offensive guard in the country (Damien Mama), as well as five-star athlete JuJu Smith and three-star corner Lamont Simmons.

The Trojans already welcomed five members of their recruiting class in January, a group headlined by 4-star guard Toa Lobendahn and 4-star JUCO defensive end Claudeson Pelon. The former turned down six other offers, including ones from Florida and Texas A&M in favor of USC, while the latter opted for the Trojans over five other Pac-12 suitors, Baylor and Florida State. Both hold top ten rankings at their positions this season -- Lobendahn is slotted as the 9th best guard in the 2014 class, while Pelon is considered to be the 2nd best JUCO defensive end.

Gardena (Ca.) Serra dual-threat quarterback Jalen Greene is also already on campus, and is the only non-lineman of the group. The 15th ranked dual-threat quarterback in the 2014 class according to the 247sports composite, Greene chose the Trojans despite being recruited by Washington, Boise State, Colorado, and Fresno State.

A pair of 3-star commitments, defensive end Don Hill out of Boise (Id.) Timberline and Claremont (Ca.) High School's tackle Jordan Austin, round out the Trojan early enrollees. Hill is one of the two best players out of the state of Idaho for 2014, while Austin is a national top 100 offensive tackle.

The top prize among USC's currently unsigned recruits is Corona (Ca.) Centennial guard Viane Talamaivao, a former Alabama commit. Tipping the scales at 6'3, 310 pounds, Talamaivao is a top five guard in the 2014 class, and the 86th ranked player overall on the 247sports composite. Before committing to USC, though, he was sought after by many high level programs across the country, including Florida State, Wisconsin, and Miami.

Talamaivao could be joined on a future USC offensive line by fellow four-star guard Chris Brown. The 6'4, 290-lb. Brown played at Los Angeles' Loyola High, where he earned a consensus four-star rating. Brown has been named the No. 13 guard among this year's recruits and No.26 player in the state of California. He chose USC in December over Oregon, UCLA, Texas A&M, and Washington.

Santa Ana (Ca.) Mater Dei cornerback Jonathan Lockett is another player the Trojans will be all too happy to have, seeing as they won his commitment over schools like UCLA and Notre Dame. A top 20 corner -- and 4-star player -- this season, Lockett figures to make life difficult for opposing wide receivers when he sees the field.

His primary attributes as a corner are his quick feet and smooth hips. Lockett is not a freakish athlete in terms of measurable traits such as speed and overall size, but he carries excellent ball skills and transitions well out of his backpedal. This allows him to ‘lead the route' as a receiver takes an outside release and run with them down the sideline on vertical routes.

From a coverage perspective, he seems most comfortable in off­-man. He is an efficient mover who has the confidence to not prematurely open up his hips. He stays square and shows good route recognition which assists him greatly in being able to mirror receivers as they come out of their breaks and drive on the ball.

New Trojan head coach Steve Sarkisian will also be happy to find a fax from Ventura (Ca.) St. Bonaventure tight end Bryce Dixon, come Wednesday. The 6'4, 200 pound Dixon chose the Trojans at the All American Army Game in January, and is arguably the top tight end in the country -- he checks in at number two on the 247sports composite, and at 104th overall among 2014 recruits.

USC is also still hoping make some key additions on Signing Day. The Trojans could potentially land five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson, five-star athlete John "JuJu" Smith and/or four-star guard Damien Mama. All three are set to announce Wednesday, and any one of them would provide a boost to USC's class. They will be making their announcements on ESPNU throughout the day -- Mama at 11:15 a.m. ET, Jackson at 2:10 p.m. and Smith at 4 p.m.

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