The 5 Recruits That Will Make or Break USC's National Signing Day

Rick McMahan@@RickMcMahanSenior Writer IJanuary 21, 2014

The 5 Recruits That Will Make or Break USC's National Signing Day

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    As USC Trojan head coach Steve Sarkisian and his recruiting staff survey the college football recruiting landscape, they will find some familiar names looming in front of them when Feb. 5 comes and it is time to collect signatures on letters of intent.

    For Trojan fans, some of those names will also be familiar, and they will wait with bated breath to see if Sark and company can deliver the goods with these premier prep players.

    This slideshow will look at five players—three of which are players the Trojans have been pursuing for months—and two others which would make all concerned with the Cardinal and Gold very happy should they jump on board with USC.

    Depending on exactly how many scholarships USC will have available—a number which continues to evolve—the Trojans have a chance to make a huge splash with their 2014 recruiting class.

    And here are the players who can make that happen...

OL Damien Mama

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    As promised, the first three players profiled in this slideshow will be very familiar to Trojan fans, and we begin with big Damien Mama, a 5-star offensive lineman from St. John Bosco High School in Bellflower, Calif.

    At 6'4", 370 pounds, Mama would be both a figurative as well as literal "huge" get for USC, and many pundits, such as from, are predicting the Trojans will indeed land Mama.

    Also lending itself to the notion that Mama will wind up at USC is the following tweet from national recruiting analyst Gerard Martinez, in which the big offensive lineman is shown in Trojan garb: 

    Damien Mama, Viane Talamaivao and JuJu Smith going viral. #UceCrew minus @T_Lo55 #USC

    — Gerard Martinez (@gmartlive) January 18, 2014

    However, Mama is a devoutly religious young man as well, and as a Mormon, Trojan fans should be wary of a January 31 visit he will make with BYU, an institution that will encourage his desire to take a two-year Mormon mission after his first year of college.

S/WR John 'JuJu' Smith

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    Another 5-star prospect, John "JuJu" Smith has been on USC's radar for at least two years.

    Smith is a playmaker on both sides of the ball, and if he signs with the Trojans, he will have an opportunity to do just that.

    For fans of the program, they can be heartened by predictions made by recruiting services such as, which offer 76 percent of their prognosticators saying Smith will be a Trojan when all is said and done.

    However, the best thing USC has going for them in acquiring Smith's signature is that, according to (subscription required), his uncle is Johnny Nansen, who now coaches running backs for the Trojans.

CB/WR Adoree' Jackson

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    The third name on this list is yet another with whom Trojan fans are very familiar, and his signature for USC will definitely put a smile on Coach Sark's face.

    Adoree' Jackson is a 5-star cornerback who is considered to be one of the very best in the nation not only at his position, but also overall when it comes to the 2014 prep class.

    A difference-maker on both sides of the ball, Jackson's athleticism is evident in that he is also a world-class track athlete who will compete in that sport as well for whatever program is lucky enough to sign him.

    Many pundits at think USC will sign him and in fact, 82 percent of their prognosticators have Jackson winding up with the Trojans.

DT Josh Frazier

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    It's funny, but a week ago, I wouldn't have thought for a moment that USC had any chance to sign 4-star defensive tackle, Josh Frazier.

    However, in the last week, the Alabama commit has now been labeled a "soft verbal," and all of a sudden Frazier has "medium" interest in the Trojans as he will visit them the week of January 24.

    USC needs interior defensive linemen, and Frazier is one of the best in the nation where his 6'3", 330-pound frame is especially adept at stuffing the run.

    Is it really possible that USC can flip a committed player from mighty Alabama?

    Sure, and one need only look back two months ago when it secured a verbal from former Crimson Tide commit, Viane Talamaivao.

    While not signing Frazier wouldn't break this class, getting a signature from big Josh would certainly help make this class for Sark and company.

TE Bryce Dixon

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    A couple of weeks or so ago, when 4-star tight end Bryce Dixon gave USC his verbal pledge,  most people thought that it was a done deal and that Dixon would be donning the Cardinal and Gold for his college career.

    However, that notion might be under assault, as Dixon remains a USC verbal but won't give the Trojans his last visit before signing day.

    Instead, that honor goes to UCLA on Jan. 31, and while the Trojans will host Dixon this week, the timing of that UCLA visit has to have USC fans nervous as Dixon is a special talent at a position of need.


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    Unlike a year ago when USC left scholarships on the table, the 2014 class has a bevy of premier prep players the Trojans covet, many of whom would love nothing more than to ply their trade for the men of Troy.

    Unfortunately, that isn't likely to happen with the limited scholarships that the Trojans have available this year.

    Instead, the over 20 players that have either visited or will visit USC since last week will represent a portion of players that Sark and his staff will have to scrutinize carefully before offering one of their precious scholarships.

    In the meantime, the Trojans will have to settle for the undersized class they have available in 2014, which will be certainly more palatable if they secure the guys listed in this slideshow.

    That's not too much for Sark to ask for in his first year as USC's main man is it?

    Of course it isn't.