College Football Recruiting: USC Trojans’ Top Ten Recruiting Targets
Cyrus Kouandjio, Offensive Tackle
In spite of NCAA sanctions, the USC Trojans are having another good recruiting year. There are 24 recruits committed or signed including nine early enrollees.
These nine do not count against 2011 scholarship limits and will be available for spring practice which is very important for USC due to depth challenges from 2010.
Here are the current commitments and signees: 2011 USC Football Recruit Watch.
The most important remaining positions to target include offensive linemen (lost three starters) and linebackers (lost two starters), but there are other athletes who will also help the Trojans. Here is the USC football team current breakdown by class and position including current commits.
Here are the top 10 remaining USC recruiting targets.
10. Aundrey Walker, OG, 6-6/355, Glenville HS, Cleveland, OH
Aundrey Walker is one mammoth offensive lineman that can really swallow up defenders while run blocking. He is very light on his feet for a big guy, and could play either guard position or right offensive tackle.
Walker possesses the size to compete for playing time immediately. If he comes into camp in shape, expect him to have an impact early in his career. Not many kids are this big and athletic with a nasty streak.
He has already visited Ohio State and Michigan State. OSU is high on his interest list and many other schools including USC are medium. He is likely to visit USC on Jan. 14.
9. Erique Florence, S, 6-2/185/4.46, Valley HS, Valley, AL
Erique Florence is a top-five safety who tackles very well and shows good instincts in the secondary. He is a future strong safety and needs to add more strength and work on speed when changing direction.
He has visited Auburn, and has scheduled visits with USC on Jan. 14 and Alabama on Jan. 21. All schools are medium interest along with Arkansas who has no scheduled visit yet.
8. Antonio Richardson, OT, 6-6/310/5.2, Pearl-Cohn HS, Nashville, TN
Antonio Richardson is a big lineman with wide shoulders and long arms. He has huge legs and a great powerbase.
Richardson needs to work on his hand placement to improve his pass protection and overall conditioning. But, he is a hard worker and great run blocker. He gets downfield and finishes his blocks.
He can compete early and play four of the five offensive positions.
Richardson’s top six choices are Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Miami, Tennessee, and USC. He may visit USC on Jan. 22.
7. Torian White, OT, 6-6/280/4.95, Lakewood HS, Lakewood, CA
Torian White started out the season as a sleeper, because of an injury that kept him out of action his junior year, but parlayed an outstanding senior season into get an invite to the O-D Bowl All-American game.
He has the size and build for an offensive tackle but needs to develop. He plays too high but he covers a lot of ground when he has to slide step to reach a speed rusher. He is a raw talent who can be coached up.
White committed to UCLA in June 2010 and has a scheduled visit on Jan. 14. He will visit USC on Jan. 28 and Oregon State on Jan. 21. He indicates low interest to USC and Oregon State, but many Trojan fans speculate that he may switch to USC.
6. Troy Niklas, OT, 6-5/265, Servite, Anaheim, CA
Troy Niklas could have a future at offensive tackle, tight end or defensive end at the next level, but USC is recruiting him at OT. He shows toughness and a hard work ethic.
He will need to get stronger in the weight room and play with better leverage in his blocks. A redshirt year could be a possibility, but he is physically gifted with a natural frame and huge wingspan.
Niklas has narrowed his choice to three schools and will visit Stanford on Jan. 14, USC on Jan. 21, and Notre Dame on Jan. 28. Recruited for three positions: offensive tackle (USC), defensive end (Notre Dame) and tight end (Stanford).
5. Cyrus Hobbi, OG, 6-3/285/4.9, Saguaro HS, Scottsdale, AZ
Cyrus Hobbi is one of the top offensive guards in the country and he has the versatility to play every interior line position but his arms may not be long enough for tackle. He has very good body weight and could add another 20 pounds.
He is very natural getting into his pass set and moves his feet well while engaged with a defender. He could be a three-year starter especially at USC.
Hobbi may have officially visited Nebraska and Oregon State but it wasn't enough to put either school in his final three: Arizona State, UCLA, and USC. He will visit USC on Jan. 14 and UCLA on Jan. 21.
4. Marqise Lee, S, 6-1/185/4.62, Junipero Serra HS, Gardena, CA
Marqise Lee is considered to be the top safety on the West Coast, though he has the potential to line up anywhere in the secondary. He is lean with plenty of room to add muscle which could add pop to his tackling. He is one of the top athletes in the country.
A high school teammate of 5-star George Farmer who recently committed to USC, Lee's top three are California, USC, and Oregon (visited Nov. 5). But, he scheduled a visit at Miami on Jan. 21. He will visit USC on Jan. 14.
Looks like it will come down to USC (safety) or Oregon (wide receiver).
3. Lamar Dawson, MLB, 6-2/230/4.60, Boyle Co HS, Danville, KY
Lamar Dawson has excellent size for a middle linebacker. He is an aggressive defender with “linebacker mentality.” He plays fast without being reckless, and enjoys taking on and disposing of blockers then attacking the ball carrier.
He could improve tackling form by getting more knee bend and striking ball carriers lower. His excellent athleticism will allow him to play more than one of the linebacker positions. Because of this he could play early at USC including special teams.
Dawson is still looking at eight schools and has visited Kentucky and Oregon. He has visits scheduled with USC on Jan. 14, UCF on Jan. 21, and Tennessee on Jan. 28.
2. Christian Westerman, OG, 6-5/295/5.13, Hamilton HS, Chandler, AZ
Christian Westerman is muscular with massive shoulders and chest. He has a few technique issues that can be corrected.
Westerman is a great run blocker who dominates opponents and gets downfield to make blocks on smaller defensive players. He can play multiple line positions because of his body type and athleticism.
He has been a longtime Texas commitment but due to coaching changes he is looking around. Getting Westerman to switch would rank as one of Kiffin's best gets, but he has still competition from Auburn and maybe Oregon.
Instead of redshirting at another school, he could play right away at USC, possibly starting at guard and cross train into the tackle position.
Westerman was scheduled to visit USC on Jan. 14, but he canceled on Jan. 11. There are rumors that he may be no longer interested in USC. He is scheduled to visit Texas on Jan. 21. He visited Auburn on Dec. 17.
But, there may be good news about a top linebacker who is currently committed to Stanford. Anthony Sarao is visiting USC on Jan. 14 and seems very interested.
He said, "I was cool with Harbaugh leaving, because I figured everything would still be straight and Stanford's still a great school. But if the whole coaching staff leaves, things can start to get really ugly there."
USC linebacker coach Joe Barry talked to Sarao, and he spent time with George Farmer and De'Anthony Thomas a the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. "I was interested in what he had to say," Sarao said. "I always thought USC was a really good school. I didn't have a chance to talk to the coaches until I was committed. They have a good mix of academics and athletics and I like the coaches."
1. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, 6-7/295/5.20, Demantha Catholic HS, Hyattsville, MD
Cyrus Kouandjio is one of the most athletic big men in the country with a huge wingspan and barrel chest. He moves swiftly and has a natural ability as a blocker.
He uses his long arms to get full extension when run blocking, and moves his feet after contact. He can get downfield and make blocks. It is hard for defenders to run around him on passing plays because of his size.
Kouandjio's top five are Alabama, New Mexico, Iowa, USC and Miami. His brother Arie is at Alabama but no one has been going after him harder than USC. He has said that he doesn’t want to compete with his brother, so that may affect his Alabama decision. He could have the opportunity to start at USC as a freshman and become a star. USC has sent a lot of offensive linemen to the NFL.
He visited Alabama and New Mexico in December and has no other visits scheduled. Kouandjio said he will visit USC in January, although nothing is planned yet.