USC Football: Ranking the Trojans' Top 10 Recruiting Targets for 2015
The 2015 recruiting cycle is just getting started, and already the top talent is starting to separate itself from the pack.
USC has already doled out dozens of offers for next year's class, and per usual, the Trojans are going after the most elite talent available.
In 2014, Steve Sarkisian made a strong push to lock down offensive line talent, and he got it done come national signing day. For this next cycle, the Trojans will look to load up on defensive line talent, as well as add bodies to the thinning wide receiver and running back corps.
Listed in order of their current interest level in joining the Trojan family, here's a look at the top 10 targets for USC in 2015.
QB Ricky Town
He's already committed to USC, but that doesn't mean the Trojans should stop courting 5-star quarterback Ricky Town. A lot can happen between now and next February, so Sarkisian and USC will need to stay in Town's good graces.
The 6'4", 205-pound prospect participated in the first Nike Football Training Camp event this past weekend, and he stood out amongst the elite quarterbacks in attendance. He displayed the arm strength and physical upside that have USC keen on him. According to Gary Paskwietz of ESPN.com (subscription required), Town also differentiated himself as a leader by stepping up to be the first to participate in position drills.
He is the top-rated pro-style quarterback in his class and the top-rated prospect overall, per 247Sports.com. If he seals his fate with USC, his skill set would allow him to flourish in the Trojans system.
Hailing from St. Bonaventure High School (Ventura, Calif.), he has a couple of teammates in Bryce Dixon and Davonte Nunnery who are set to join USC this summer. Their influence will likely keep Town committed to Troy through the next year.
CB Iman Marshall
Iman "Biggie" Marshall is a top defensive prospect for 2015 and one that the Trojans would love to land next spring. The 5-star cornerback also participated in NFTC over the weekend, and his performance cemented his status as the No. 3 corner in his class.
He has excellent size (6'1", 190 lbs) and athleticism, plus the quickness that allows him to make plays on the ball with ease. He could switch over to wide receiver if called upon to do so, as those same quick hands that make him a ball hawk also make him a reliable receiving target.
His true value comes on defense, but his versatility coupled with USC's thin wide receiver corps makes Marshall even more of an attractive target.
A Long Beach Poly talent, he is considered a USC lean as of now, thanks to the recruiting efforts of wide receivers coach Tee Martin and defensive backs coach Keith Heyward.
LB John Houston
John Houston is a 5-star linebacker who is considered to be the best inside linebacker prospect in his class and the No. 5 prospect overall in California. Another attendee of this past weekend's NFTC camp, Houston came away with linebacker MVP honors (subscription required).
He is very athletic and boasts speed and the ability to fluidly change directions. Over the weekend, he also displayed strong coverage skills, which would suit him well in Justin Wilcox's defense at USC. His lean 6'3", 205-pound frame will support the additional weight that he will need to pack on during his senior year and at the college level.
The inside linebacker goes to Junipero Serra High School in Gardena, Calif., and given USC's history with that program, it's likely that Houston will stay a USC lean throughout his recruitment process.
RB Malik Lovette
In 2014, there weren't many running backs to go around, and 2015 is shaping up to be the same way. Because of this, USC has recently extended an offer to 3-star RB Malik Lovette, a 5'11", 180-pound back out of Redlands East Valley (Redlands, Calif.).
Because of his size, he's projected as a slot receiver at the next level, which he discussed over the weekend at NFTC.
“They are offering me as a running back,” Lovette told ESPN.com's Blair Angulo (subscription required). “They did make it clear that I would be going back and forth between running back and slot receiver. They plan to use me mainly at running back, though. They mentioned that the offense we run at my high school is very similar, so it’s a perfect fit.”
Lovette is interested in USC, with California, UCLA, Washington, Notre Dame and Texas A&M also being in the mix for him.
WR Cordell Broadus
Cordell Broadus is well-known in Troy, partly for his athleticism and partly for being the son of rapper and longtime USC fan, Snoop Dogg. Back when fans and entertainers alike were allowed to roam the sidelines of Trojan football practices, Snoop Dogg was a regular attendee.
Now, it's his son that has the interest of Troy.
The 4-star wide receiver now attends Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), but he played his junior year at Diamond Bar High in Diamond Bar, Calif. His stock is steadily rising after an impressive junior campaign of 60 catches for 685 yards and eight touchdowns.
Broadus was yet another USC target who participated in NFTC over the weekend, and he performed well. At 6'2", 195 pounds, he has a big frame with reliable hands and body control.
UCLA is also aggressively pursuing Broadus, and with the way the Bruins have improved over the past two seasons, they stand a real chance to lure him away from Southern California. His recruitment will be an interesting one to follow over the next year, as it will likely pit these two bitter crosstown rivals against each other.
DE Terry Beckner Jr.
Terry Beckner Jr. hails from East St. Louis, Ill. and is one of the most elite defensive ends in his class. The 5-star talent is the No. 2 prospect at his position and No. 1 overall in Illinois. He stands at 6'4", 268 pounds, and for now, the Trojans are his favorite.
In 2013, his efforts led his East St. Louis High School team deep into the playoffs, as he registered 99 tackles and eight sacks on the season. That kind of production has defensive line coach Chris Wilson recruiting him hard and trying to sway him away from the Midwest in favor of Southern California.
Beckner holds offers from nearly every major powerhouse program, with Ohio State and LSU vying for his attention the most, outside of the Trojans.
DE Keisean Lucier-South
His first name alone suggests he should have a future in Troy, and 4-star defensive end Keisean Lucier-South is quickly rising up USC's priority list for this recruiting cycle.
The 6'5", 215-pound talent earned MVP honors at this weekend's NFTC Camp, and also locked up an invite to this summer's elite training camp, The Opening. Lucier-South told the media in attendance (subscription required) at NFTC that he will no longer be a dual-sport athlete, and instead will focus solely on football this offseason.
When USC hosted Junior Day earlier this spring, Lucier-South was not in attendance, as he had a basketball game that day. His decision to only pursue football this spring surely has the USC coaching staff excited because now they scout him more actively. The defensive end also said at NFTC that he will visit USC and the Trojans in the coming weeks.
“I really want to meet the new coaching staff,” Lucier-South said to ESPN.com's Blair Angulo (subscription required). “Coach Chris Wilson has sent me letters lately. I like him and, knowing he’s coming from Georgia, I want to have a good relationship with him."
WR Christian Kirk
Arizona 5-star wide receiver Christian Kirk would be an incredible get for the Trojans next spring, but they have a lot of work to do between now and then to lock down his commitment. The 5'10", 195-pound receiver holds offers from just about everyone, and his performance over the weekend at NFTC showed that he is one of the best talents in next year's crop of wide receivers.
He had 65 receptions for 1183 yards and 17 touchdowns for Saguaro High (Scottsdale, Ariz.), which speaks to how productive he is expected to be at the next level. He's a strong, smooth route-runner with the upper-body physicality that allows him to gain the advantage over opposing defenders.
The Trojans have a scarily thin wide receiver corps, and early playing time could be a major selling point for him.
He unofficially visited USC on Feb. 14, and we can expect that Sarkisian and his staff will continue pursuing him.
OT Keenan Walker
Before participating in NFTC on Sunday, 4-star OT Keenan Walker visited USC on Saturday, and he raved about the Trojans both for their fabled tradition and the new changes to the offensive line.
“Coach Drevno is a very, very good coach,” Walker said to ESPN.com's Blair Angulo. “I love the way he coaches and love everything about him. He’s an amazing coach. We got a chance to sit down and talk football. He likes his linemen to work and that’s what I’m ready to do. I’m ready to work.”
That said, the 6'6", 280-pound tackle goes to Chaparral High in Paradise Valley, Ariz. and is a self-described "Arizona dude." Whether the Trojans have enough sway to lure him away from his home state remains to be seen, but he would be a great asset to USC if the coaching staff can pull it off.
DE Rasheem Green
Rasheen Green out of Juniper Serra (Gardena, Calif.) is a 5-star defensive end whom the Trojans will court a lot throughout the next year. He looks like a grown man with a 6'5", 275-pound frame and the skills on the line to back it up.
During his 2013 season, he earned 2013 Mission League lineman MVP honors and was a Rivals Five-Star Challenge participant. An absolute monster on the defensive line, he's the kind of D-lineman that Justin Wilcox needs for his defense at USC.
He's being recruited by Tee Martin and Chris Wilson, and as of last season, he was projected to be a USC lean.
All information provided by 247Sports.com.