USC Football Recruiting: 5 Defensive Ends on the Wish List for the Trojans
With spring practice now in the rearview mirror and fall practice on the horizon, those who follow college football will turn their attention to recruiting and the relationships that coaches hope will translate into signatures on letters of intent in February.
For the USC Trojans, that process recently produced a verbal commitment from Scout.com 4-star offensive lineman Chuma Edoga—a player coveted by programs throughout the country.
Now head coach Steve Sarkisian and his recruiting staff hopes to build on the momentum of the Edoga verbal as they look to craft a 2015 class that finally has a full complement of scholarships to offer after three years of reductions due to NCAA sanctions.
This slideshow will look at five defensive ends that the Trojans would love to land on national signing day.
Though it is certain that most of these players will ply their trade somewhere else, here are the top defensive ends on USC's wish list.
Note: Unless otherwise specified, all player information is provided by Scout.com.
2015 is a tremendous year for defensive ends, and that fact is made obvious by the inclusion of no less than five ends being placed in Scout.com's top 11 overall players.
And residing at the 11th spot nationally is 5-star Byron Cowart, a 6'4", 246-pound beast from Seffner, Florida.
Cowart has everything one looks for in a D-end, including a body that will easily pack on more weight and a motor that never stops.
Cowart recently made a trip to USC, and according to Mike Herndon of AL.com, the Trojans, Florida, Oregon and Alabama all stand out to Cowart.
Having said that, this looks like a battle between Florida and Oregon for Cowart's services.
Another 5-star player, Keisean Lucier-South may have more upside than any other defensive end recruit.
Despite the fact that Lucier-South is only 220 pounds right now, he sports a 6'5" frame that will easily add weight in a college football strength and conditioning program.
Meanwhile, there may not be a more athletic player at his position than Lucier-South.
Blessed with tremendous speed and even better quickness, Lucier-South is the total package, and recently the Orange, California, prospect made a trip to USC and liked what he saw.
According to Scout.com's Greg Biggins (subscription required), Lucier-South had this to say about the visit: "I actually did visit when I was little but this was my first time on an actual football visit, meeting with the coaches and touring the campus. I loved it, I had a great time and learned a lot about the school."
Lucier-South is holding offers from most of the premier programs in the nation, and at this point, he calls them all "medium" in terms of his interest.
Rated the seventh-best prospect in the nation by Scout.com, Serra High School (Gardena, California) defensive end Rasheem Green is your prototypical player at his position.
At 6'5", 269 pounds, Green already has a college-ready body and his physical talents make him a "can't miss" at the next level.
Of all of the prospects profiled in this slideshow, Green seems the most likely to don the Cardinal and Gold as Serra has been a veritable pipeline to USC and Green has already made several trips to the Trojans campus.
Still, Green doesn't claim any favorites among the 25-plus offers he has already received, although in a conversation with Scout.com's Lindsey Thiry, (subscription required) Green had this to say about the Trojans: "I'm not leaning but they rate a school a like a lot. I liked them since I was young."
That should bring a smile to the faces of those who follow the Trojans.
Continuing with the list of outstanding defensive ends, we find Oscar F. Smith (Chesapeake, Virginia) High School standout Josh Sweat.
Another Scout.com 5-star prospect, Sweat is a 6'5", 230-pound monster whose nonstop motor brings a relentless pursuit of whomever is unlucky enough to have the ball in front of him.
In an interview with Scout.com's Michael Clark (subscription required), Sweat claims not to have any favorites at this point and has suggested he would like to take a visit to USC at some point before he makes a decision.
Though a Sweat decision favoring the Trojans seems unlikely, if he does take that visit to USC, anything is possible—and boy, wouldn't that make fans of the program happy should he decide to pull the trigger in favor of the men of Troy.
The fifth and final player to be profiled in this slideshow is also the third-best prospect in the class of 2015, according to Scout.com.
CeCe Jefferson is a 6'3", 245-pound athlete who is versatile enough to play either inside or out along the line and dominate either way.
Jefferson, who plays at Baker County High School (Glen Saint Mary, Florida), is extremely quick on the outside. He also has great lateral pursuit for a man his size but is strong enough to overpower his opponent on the inside.
Jefferson—as should be expected—is wanted by almost every major program in the nation, and while USC should be considered a long shot, let's not discount the Trojans' proven track record in swaying Floridians to come west to play for the men of Troy.
In addition to the five ends profiled here, USC has also extended offers to no less than seven other players at this position.
In defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox's scheme, ends have to be versatile, and the players featured here are all capable of facilitating the role that Wilcox has in mind.
The Trojans are going to need depth in this unit after the 2014 season concludes, so look for USC to take at least two at this position.
However, given the prep talent in this class available at defensive end, don't be surprised if the Trojans take more if they are willing to come.
Follow me on Twitter: @RickMcMahan
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