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June 8, 2006

Two days, two camps

This weekend USC will hold its annual skill and lineman camps for high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors.

While many top recruits from the class of 2007 will choose to attend USC's Rising Senior Camp later this month, the skill and lineman camps have proven to produce just as many future Trojans.

Usually held in April, Sunday's lineman camp has a tradition of hosting some of Southern California's top center, guard and tackle prospects. Last year, Alex Parsons and Zack Heberer both made names for themselves at the camp, receiving scholarship offers shortly after dominating performances.

On the offensive line, notable names such as Matt Summers-Gavin, Mike Harris, Chris Harris and Todd Huber will battle in the trenches for scholarship offers. Martin Coleman, who committed to USC in April, is also expected to attend Sunday's camp.

With the Trojans' depth at offensive line an issue, it's possible this position will produce more than one scholarship offer. Last month, Huber made a name for himself at the Palo Alto NIKE Camp, but Summers-Gavin has been MIA from the camp circuit because of track.

Who to watch: While Summers-Gavin has had a fairly low key spring on the field, off the field he continues to pile up scholarship offers from schools coast-to-coast. There's a good chance Summers-Gavin will leave Sunday's camp with one more offer to add to his collection.

The defensive linemen that are expected to attend Sunday's camp are equally impressive. While Everson Griffen is scheduled to attend Arizona's Elite Camps this Sunday, USC should get a closer look at Scotts Valley (Calif.) defensive end Russell Jenkins. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound all-league standout is another recruit whose stock is ready to sky-rocket throughout the PAC-10. However, with a hamstring injury suffered during spring ball, Jenkins could be limited in his performance.

Another lesser-known, but equally talented player that should attend this weekend's camp is Palo Alto defensive tackle Fred Koloto. Built like a bigger version of Rey Maualuga, Koloto was one of the most impressive looking prospects to show up at USC's Junior Day in April.

While not confirmed, Apaiata Tuihalamaka could also make an appearance at this weekend's camp. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounds defensive end had an impressive NIKE Camp showing in Palo Alto, wowing observers with incredibly quick feet and agility. Tuihalamaka was recently sent scholarship offers from UCLA and Miami, which couldn't have gone unnoticed by USC.

Who to watch: Koloto could sneak up and surprise the Trojans with a camp performance reminiscent of Alex Parsons last year. Like Parsons, Koloto is an undersized interior lineman at 6-foot-4, 260-pounds. However, from what little we've seen of Koloto, his explosiveness off the ball makes him one of the most talented two-way linemen in the East Bay. Koloto could easily play defensive tackle or guard in college.

They got Skillz

The USC Skills Camp is for quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs to learn from and perform for the Trojans' coaching staff. Among USC's incoming class of freshman recruits, Kenny Ashley, Travon Patterson, Alfred Rowe and Vincent Joseph all participated in the skills camp.

This year's camp will feature two Trojan commitments at the quarterback position. While Samson Szakacsy and Aaron Corp already have scholarship offers from USC, Saturday's camp will give both an opportunity to become more comfortable with the Trojans' playbook. It will also give them a feel for future quarterback coach Steve Sarkisian.

Who to watch: Being a non-contact camp, Corp's ability to run the football will play second fiddle to his ability to pass in the pocket. How will he match up with Szakacsy as a pure pro-style quarterback?

The running back position will likely be absent of elite names such as Marc Tyler. However, the fullback position will feature two players with more than a dozen scholarship offers between them. Jordan Campbell and D.J. Holt both started off the year known for their prowess on the defensive side of the ball, but over the past two months, their versatility has garnered the attention of USC.

Campbell, who also plays linebacker, will use both camp days to perform for the USC staff. After Saturday's skills camp, Campbell will return to play defensive end at Sunday's lineman camp. A scholarship offer from USC at either position would likely result in the Trojans' seventh commitment in the class of 2007.

Who to watch: At 5-foot-11, 220-pounds, Campbell has the physical tools to play in the offensive backfield as a fullback, but does he have the experience to make an impact at Saturday's camp? Campbell did spend a brief period of time playing wing-back for Norco as a sophomore, but at USC, he'll have to run and catch his way to a scholarship offer at a foreign position.

Speaking of catching, Saturday's camp should host an intriguing group of receivers. Intriguing because each player could end up playing offense or defense in college. Led by Brandon Carswell and Anthony Boyles, the Trojans could be evaluating two speedy receivers, or two tall cornerbacks. Another highly touted athlete that could make his mark at receiver is Malachi Lewis.

After running a 4.31 40-yard dash at the Ventura County Coaches Combine in April, Lewis ran an equally impressive 10.81 in the 100-meters at a league meet in May. With track season ending last week, Lewis may opt to perform at the Rising Senior Camp, but the USC coaching staff seems reluctant to offer the 6-foot-4, 215-pound, 2,000 yard rusher a scholarship until they see him play in person.

Another intriguing prospect at Saturday's camp will be Aaron Corps' teammate, Michael Reardon. The 6-foot-6, 250-pound tight end could make a splash at the lineman camp as a defensive tackle or offensive tackle. With a size 16 shoe, Reardon has plenty of growth potential to move inside the trenches at the next level.

Who to watch: This is a position full of potential sleeper prospects. While Boyles and Lewis will be the players everyone asks about Monday morning, Michael Calvin is a receiver with height, speed and a good amount of buzz coming into this weekend's camp.

Defensive Backs Demand a Look

With Chris Galippo sitting out this camp with a back injury, the linebacker position is fairly absent of high profile recruits. With linebackers being in short supply on a state and national level this year, the Rising Senior Camp may not even host many big name recruits at this position. Instead, eyes will be focused on the defensive backfield, where players like David Ross and Antwoine Baker will compete for Trojan scholarship offers.

Ross and Baker were supposed to both perform at the Palo Alto Camp last month, but Ross had the prom scheduled on that same weekend. The Trojans have had high interest in both these rangy cornerbacks for quite sometime, even telling Ross that he was a 4.50 40-time away from a scholarship. Baker will be making his second camp appearance this month, as he returns to Los Angeles after a solid camp performance in Austin (Texas).

Another possible attendee that could garner plenty of attention is Todd Doxey. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound safety has been labeled the best player in San Diego by several local high school coaches, but little is known about Doxey from a testing point of view.

Who to watch: Ross is quickly becoming one of the West Coast's most highly-prized recruits. Recently, Michigan came west to offer the 6-foot, 175-pound cornerback a scholarship offer. If Ross shows progress in the classroom and on the field, he may leave Howard Jones Field with more than just a camp T-shirt.

For complete camp coverage from this weekend, stay tuned to USCFootball.com. Peristyle members click here for an unofficial list of expected campers.


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