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Category: Recruiting

UCLA football: Muir's Tairen Owens follows assistant coach to UCLA

Uclabruins.logoTairen Owens, a running back from Pasadena Muir High, said he has decided to attend UCLA.

Owens, who could play running back or defensive back, had previously committed to Washington. He changed his mind after former Huskies assistant coach Demetrice Martin was hired as the Bruins; defensive back coach.

“Coach Martin recruited me hard to Washington and he recruited me even harder to UCLA,” Owens said. “We have built a good relationship.”

Owens said that UCLA “seemed like a better fit for me, It’s more convenient for me and my family.”

Owens is ranked 41st nationally among running backs by and 73rd by

Last March, he was the first player in the 2012 class to commit Washington.

--Chris Foster

USC football: Pat Haden awaits outcome of Lane Kiffin's NCAA hearing

Haden_640 USC Athletic Director Pat Haden will not venture to predict the outcome of Lane Kiffin’s appearance before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions.

Haden and David Roberts, USC’s vice president for athletic compliance, attended the hearing in Indianapolis over the weekend which resulted from the NCAA’s probe of the University of Tennessee.

Kiffin_250 Now, Haden awaits a decision that could affect the Trojans.

“I have no idea what goes on behind closed doors,” he said Tuesday. “I’ve misread the committee before.”

The NCAA enforcement staff alleges that Kiffin “failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the football program” at Tennessee and that he “failed to monitor” the activities of assistant coaches and an athletics administrator.

If Kiffin is penalized, the punishments could include limits on his recruiting at USC and, possibly, suspension from games.

Haden said he and Roberts addressed the committee for about 10 minutes at the end of the hearing.

“I think we got the point across that the Lane Kiffin we know has been very compliant,” Haden said.


USC's Lane Kiffin loses swagger, gains a steadiness

USC is stripped of its 2004 BCS national championship

 -- Gary Klein

Top photo: Pat Haden. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Bottom photo: Lane Kiffin. Credit: AJ Mast / Associated Press

USC football: Lane Kiffin scheduled to appear at NCAA hearing

USC football Coach Lane Kiffin is scheduled to appear before the NCAA’s Committee on Infractions on Saturday, facing allegations that stem from his short tenure at Tennessee but which might lead to penalties that could affect the Trojans.

Kiffin’s appearance in Indianapolis is part of a broader hearing into Tennessee’s athletic department, which was the subject of a 22-month investigation that led to the firing of basketball coach Bruce Pearl and the resignation of athletic director Mike Hamilton.

Kiffin has declined to comment.

USC Athletic Director Pat Haden and David Roberts, USC’s vice president for athletic compliance, will attend the hearing. Haden said this week that, if asked, he would tell the Committee on Infractions that Kiffin has been “nothing but compliant” during his time at USC.

“It’s a bit part, not a starring role,” Haden said.

Continue reading »

USC football: ranks Trojans commit Arik Armstead top nationwide player in class of 2012

Usc-logo_250 Arik Armstead, a 6-foot-8 lineman who has orally committed to USC, is ranked as the top player in the class of 2012 by, the website reported Monday.

Armstrong, from Elk Grove Pleasant Grove High in Northern California, is the brother of USC defensive lineman Armond Armstead, a two-year starter who has been sidelined during spring practice while awaiting test results involving an unspecified medical condition. Armond Armstead was hospitalized last month after feeling ill and experiencing chest pains. He was cleared Friday to run and lift weights.

Arik Armstead also is a basketball standout and could play two sports in college. He told Dan Greenspan of that he would play defensive line in football.

From Greenspan's story:

While still firmly committed to USC, Armstead does plan to make unofficial visits that correspond with his summer basketball schedule. He identified Arkansas and Notre Dame as potential stops.

“Since the school offered me and showed interest in me, I can't ignore them. I'll show interest back," he said.


USC's Dillon Baxter ready to move forward

USC's Tyron Smith adds to his credentials by putting on the pounds

-- Gary Klein

USC football: 14-year-old quarterback David Sills looking forward to spring practice

Usc USC begins spring practice Tuesday and among the interested observers will be eighth-grader David Sills.

Sills, a 14-year-old quarterback from Delaware, made an oral commitment to the Trojans last year after Coach Lane Kiffin offered him a scholarship based on a video and a recommendation from private quarterbacks coach Steve Clarkson.

The offer and commitment sent shock waves through college football, but Sills has taken it in stride.

“My teammates treat me the same,” he said in a phone interview Monday, shortly after arriving in Los Angeles. “It’s been pretty regular besides doing all the interviews.”

Sills played for the high school varsity at Red Lion Christian Academy last season. He passed for 1,355 yards and nine touchdowns in eight games, with five interceptions.

“It was different,” he said. “I learned what a real football game feels like. When you’re done, you’re sore even if you haven’t been hit a lot.”

Sills said he is working on improving his “mental game” and is looking forward to watching the Trojans and meeting with coaches. Sills said he would watch the first week of workouts and return in the final week.

Clarkson caused a stir last month when he told Times reporter Eric Sondheimer that Auburn had offered Sills a scholarship. But Sills's father said then, and Sills said Monday, that it was teammate who received the offer.

Asked Monday if he were still committed to USC, Sills said “100%.”


USC Football: Mitch Mustain offered pre-file diversion program

Defensive lineman Steve Dillon signs letter of intent with USC

--Gary Klein

USC football: Defensive lineman Steve Dillon signs letter of intent

Usc-logo_200 Defensive lineman Steve Dillon of Palmdale High signed a letter of intent with USC, Coach Lane Kiffin announced Wednesday.

Dillon, 6-foot-3 and 265 pounds, had orally committed to the Trojans, but held off signing a letter of intent.

Eight new players, including quarterbacks Max Wittek and Cody Kessler, enrolled at USC in January and will participate in spring practice, which begins Tuesday.

Dillon and 22 other new players are scheduled to join the Trojans in the summer or fall.

Dillon had 74 tackles, including nine sacks, last season.


Lineman Torian White changes commitment from UCLA to USC

Offensive lineman Aundrey Walker chooses USC

-- Gary Klein

Recruiting: Lineman Torian White changes commitment from UCLA to USC

UCLA lost Torian White to USC, as the Lakewood High offensive linemen reversed direction on his oral commitment to the Bruins.

The 6-foot-6, 275-pound White has become more highly sought since his commitment to UCLA, with USC and Oregon State making a play for him in recent weeks.

UCLA is left with four offensive linemen in the 2011 recruiting class: Los Alamitos High School’s Ben Wysocki, Plano (Texas) East’s Jeff Brendel, Brentwood (Ca.) Heritage’s Will Oliver and Nashville Ensworth’s Conor McDermott. Neither Oliver nor McDermott were highly recruited and are viewed as projects.

The Bruins’ top pickup Wednesday has been Washington D.C. St. John’s College Kevin McReynolds, who is ranked 28th nationally at defensive tackle by

UCLA also signed Claremont defensive tackle Brandon Tuliaupupu, Modesto Christian tight end Raymond Nelson, Santa Clarita Valencia running back Steven Manfro and Danvars (Mass.) Lawrence Academy linebacker Mike Orloff.

Brett Hundley of Chandler (Ariz.), a top-five quarterback, Henderson (Nev.) Liberty defensive lineman  Sam Tai and San Diego Rancho Bernardo linebacker Aaron Wallace Jr. were commitments who enrolled early at UCLA to participate in spring practice.

Riverside College linebacker Ryan Hofmeister signed with UCLA in December.

-- Chris Foster

Recruiting: Offensive lineman Aundrey Walker chooses USC

USC beefed up its offensive line when Aundrey Walker of Glenville High in Cleveland announced that he would join the Trojans.

The 6-foot-6, 355-pound Walker chose USC over Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan State and Ohio State.

SCPlaybook's Dan Greenspan filed this report on Walker's verbal commitment.

Lamar Dawson, a linebacker from Kentucky, also announced that he had chosen USC, as did defensive tackle Christian Heyward from Point Loma in San Diego.

--Gary Klein

USC football: Trojans receive commitment from offensive lineman Cyrus Hobbi

Usc_250 USC Coach Lane Kiffin and his staff show no signs of slowing down on the recruiting front as national signing day looms next week.

On Friday, Cyrus Hobbi, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive lineman from Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro, announced that he would attend USC.

Hobbi, who chose the Trojans over UCLA and Arizona State, is expected to play guard or center for the Trojans.

WeAreSC, and, which track recruiting minute by minute, trumpeted the news.

--Gary Klein


USC football: Receiver Brice Butler to transfer

Butler_400 With national signing day for recruits less than a week away, USC's roster remained fluid with news that receiver Brice Butler will transfer.

Butler, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound junior from Georgia, redshirted in 2008. He caught 20 passes, including two touchdowns, in 2009.

But Butler's playing time diminished last season with the arrival of a new coaching staff and freshman Robert Woods. Butler caught only nine passes, one for a touchdown.

Butler could not be reached for comment. But on his Twitter feed late Wednesday night, he said:

"Always will be a part of trojan nation! No regrets, I just gotta go play fball, which isn't happening here... I love all yall! Always will"

He also added: Was not an easy decision but evaluatin my future and what I want to do, it woulda been difficult here at this point so I made my dec"

Butler would have to transfer to a Football Championship Subdivision school to avoid having to sit out a season.

--Gary Klein

Photo: Brice Butler. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

USC football: Trojans get another Stanford recruit to switch

USC won't know until next season how much Jim Harbaugh's departure from Stanford will affect the Cardinal on the field.

But USC Coach Lane Kiffin and his staff are already feeling an effect.

And welcoming it.

On Monday, USC received an oral commitment from Anthony Sarao, a linebacker from New Jersey who had committed to Stanford. The Trojans also recently got a commitment from Amir Carlisle, a running back from Sunnyvale who had committed to Stanford., and, which follow USC recruiting minute to minute, caught up with Sarao.

Players can sign letters of intent on Feb. 2.

--Gary Klein


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