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USC Football Recruiting: 7 Players to Watch in High School All-Star Games

Trenise FerreiraUSC Lead WriterJanuary 1, 2014

USC Football Recruiting: 7 Players to Watch in High School All-Star Games

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    The High School All-American Games take place this week, and the nation's top recruits will showcase their talents to a national audience.
    The High School All-American Games take place this week, and the nation's top recruits will showcase their talents to a national audience.USA TODAY Sports

    The high school All-American games are just around the corner, and the nation's top seniors will bring in the New Year by showcasing their talents to a national audience before joining the collegiate ranks next fall. 

    For USC fans, the All-American games will serve as an opportunity to get a first look at the future of Trojan football, as well as check in on the targets who could end up at USC come national signing day. USC has three commits playing in the U.S. Army All-American Game and none in the Under Armour one, but there are a number of guys up from grabs who are worth a look. 

    With just over a month to go until national signing day, the impression left in these games will resonate down the stretch of the recruiting trail. 

    Before we look at the prospects, here's the vital game-day information:

    Under Armour All-America Game

    Date: Thurs., Jan. 2,

    Time: 1 p.m. PT

    TV: ESPN

     

    U.S. Army All-American Bowl

    Date: Sat., Jan. 4

    Time: 10 a.m. PT

    TV: NBC 

Toa Lobendahn, 4-Star OG

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    Toa Lobendahn is a 4-star offensive guard (247Sports) slated to be an early enrollee for USC in the spring.
    Toa Lobendahn is a 4-star offensive guard (247Sports) slated to be an early enrollee for USC in the spring.247Sports.com

    Committed/Uncommitted: Committed (early enrollee)

    All-Star Game: U.S. Army All-American Bowl (Jan. 4 10 a.m. PT, NBC)

    The Army All-American game will be Lobendahn's last hurrah as a high school athlete, as he is one of USC's early enrollees for the spring. When the 4-star guard performed in The Opening last summer, he was one of the headliners, so expect him to be a leader and to stand out in this bowl game as well. 

    Lobendahn is a physically commanding presence up front and needs little molding before he is game-ready. He could very easily be an early contributor on the offensive line. 

    Much like fellow USC commit Viane Talamaivao, Lobendahn's Polynesian heritage could prove to be useful to the Trojans, in terms of recruiting. Expect him to spend plenty of time at the All-Star Game networking with other USC targets.

Viane Talamaivao, 4-Star OG

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    Viane Talamaivao flipped from Alabama to USC while Ed Orgeron was the interim head coach.
    Viane Talamaivao flipped from Alabama to USC while Ed Orgeron was the interim head coach.247Sports.com

    Committed/Uncommitted: Committed

    All-Star Game: U.S. Army All-American Bowl (Jan. 4, 10 a.m. PT, NBC)

    Talamaivao is a dominant run-blocker, and his presence should bolster the strength of the offensive line, especially as USC goes about utilizing the no-huddle under Steve Sarkisian. Aside from what he brings to the table physically, Talamaivao is an excellent recruiter for the Trojans, much like Lobendahn. He's trying to influence fellow offensive linemen Damien Mama and athlete John "JuJu" Smith to join him at USC. 

    The 4-star offensive guard could contribute immediately in Troy and will be an important player to follow during USC's 2014 fall camp.

Damien Mama, 5-Star OG

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    Damien Mama would be a major get for USC, and is looking more and more like a Trojan lean as Signing Day Approaches
    Damien Mama would be a major get for USC, and is looking more and more like a Trojan lean as Signing Day Approaches247Sports.com

    Committed/Uncommitted: Uncommitted

    All-Star Game: U.S. Army All-American Bowl (Jan. 4, 10 a.m. PT, NBC)

    Mama was a pivotal player for St. John Bosco, as he helped lead them to a California state championship this season. He is one of USC's most important targets on the recruiting trail, and the Trojans are vying for his commitment alongside UCLA, Alabama and BYU. As it stands now, recruiting scouts say he is a USC lean. 

    He was named a second-team All-American by 247Sports.com in 2013 and was an invite to Nike's The Opening last summer.

    The 5-star offensive guard has a good relationship with USC commit Viane Talamaivao, and a desire to play with his friends could see him sign with Troy come national signing day. If he goes that route, he also stands a chance to compete for playing time early on. 

Bryce Dixon, 4-Star TE

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    Bryce Dixon is a 4-star TE that could add depth to a very thin corps at USC.
    Bryce Dixon is a 4-star TE that could add depth to a very thin corps at USC.247sports.com

    Committed/Uncommitted: Uncommitted

    All-Star Game: U.S. Army All-American Bowl (Jan. 4, 10 a.m. PT, NBC)

    Bryce Dixon is the top tight end target for the Trojans, and the thin corps the Trojans have could be a selling point for him. The 4-star prospect has narrowed it down to USC and UCLA and is expected to announce his commitment at some point during the bowl game, according to a report by Scott Schrader of 247Sports.

    Interestingly though, Dixon still intends to take visits to both schools after he announces his commitment. So even if he chooses UCLA, USC could still court him and potentially flip him by national signing day. If so, he would be able to learn much from current Trojans Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer before both depart for the NFL after the 2014 season. 

    Look for Dixon to put his size and athleticism on display in the Army All-American Bowl.

Adoree' Jackson, 5-Star ATH

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    Adoree Jackson is a two-sport athlete and will look to run track and play football in college.
    Adoree Jackson is a two-sport athlete and will look to run track and play football in college.USA TODAY Sports

    Committed/Uncommitted: Uncommitted

    All-Star Game: Under Armour All-American Game (Jan. 2, 1 p.m. PT, ESPN)

    Like Bryce Dixon, Adoree' Jackson is expected to announce his commitment after his All-Star Game performance according to the Orlando Sentinel's Chris Hays. USC has been courting Jackson for some time now, and the 5-star athlete has shown interest in return by sporting cardinal and gold socks at one passing camp and tweeting his support of Steve Sarkisian as USC's new head coach earlier in December. 

    Jackson took an official visit to USC last month, and the Trojans seem to have all the momentum as signing day draws nearer. It also helps that his good friend, quarterback Jalen Greene, is to be an early enrollee in Troy this spring. The two attended USC's Las Vegas Bowl and appeared to like what they saw.

    Furthermore, Jackson, who had 17 interceptions in his senior season, told Hays he wants to be a two-sport athlete in college. The Trojans have a good track and field program, which could further encourage him to attend Southern Cal.

    Look for Jackson to put his ball-hawking skills on display, a skill that USC's secondary is in great need of. That said, if he were to commit to USC, it's likely he would spend time at wide receiver as well.

John "JuJu" Smith, 5-Star ATH

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    JuJu Smith is a USC lean going into the U.S. Army All-American Bowl this week.
    JuJu Smith is a USC lean going into the U.S. Army All-American Bowl this week.247Sports.com

    Committed/Uncommitted: Uncommitted

    All-Star Game: Under Armour All-American Game (Jan. 2, 1 p.m. PT, ESPN)

    Smith is another two-way athlete the Trojans are vying to get. He is scheduled to take his final official visit to USC on Jan. 17, and though Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State are in the mix, USC is considered to be the favorite at this time. 

    Ranked the No. 1 safety in California, Smith will likely line up as a wide receiver in the Under Armour All-American Game. That will give USC fans a chance to see what he can do on the other side of the ball. If he does end up a Trojan, he will certainly add depth at wide receiver and in the secondary.

Tony Brown, 5-Star CB

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    USC is keen on Tony Brown, but does the 5-star cornerback feel the same?
    USC is keen on Tony Brown, but does the 5-star cornerback feel the same?247Sports.com

    Committed/Uncommitted: Uncommitted

    All-Star Game: Under Armour All-American Game (Jan. 2, 1 p.m. PT, ESPN)

    Brown is another talented cornerback USC is vying to land, though it might be a stretch, as the 5-star cornerback is leaning toward LSU. His sister signed with the Tigers for track and field, which could influence him to go to SEC country. He did visit USC to check out their track and field program as well, and the interest there could boost the Trojans up his list.

    He's been recruited by Clancy Pendergast and Tommie Robinson, both of whom are no longer on the Trojan coaching staff. That could have an impact on his final decision, and it means Sarkisian has a challenge ahead of him in terms of luring Brown to Troy.

     

     

    All recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports unless noted otherwise.

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