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September 17, 2008

USC gets No. 2 for 2010

Woodland Hills (Calif.) Taft running back D.J. Morgan dreamed about being a Trojan long before he became one.

Attending the Ohio State, USC match up Saturday, Morgan was officially invited to the family, although his place at the table had been reserved for months.

"Before I committed, I've always dreamed about going to USC," said Morgan. "I never saw O.J. Simpson, Marcus Allen and those guys play, but my dad would tell me about them. We would watch film, and I said to myself, 'I want to be great like them'.

"I want to go the the league, but most of all, I want to go to USC and graduate. That's always been my dream, and now it's a dream come true."

While USC pummeled the Buckeyes on the field Saturday, Pete Carroll already had his eye on one of the future's brightest stars.

"They told me they wanted me to be a part of the team, and a part of the Trojan family," said Morgan. "This was just before the Ohio State game, so I went down there Saturday and talked to the coaches. Pete Carroll told me what being a part of USC was all about.

"I talked to my parents about committing over the weekend, and decided to come back down Tuesday to make my decision."

Joining San Diego (Calif.) Mission Bay junior running back Dillon Baxter, Morgan becomes USC's second commitment for the class of 2010. While still two years away from donning the Cardinal & Gold, Morgan acknowledges that taking a place at the table means earning a spot in the stable.

"My dad raised me to compete," said Morgan, who ran for 1,185 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore. "When I asked him if I could commit early to USC, he told me to follow my heart.

"He told me not to be afraid of how many running backs they have, or what other people say. He knew it was my dream to play at USC since I was little, and said, 'Dreams are meant to come true, so make your dream come true'."

Saturday night, Morgan beat the Buckeyes with talent and creativity. However, the seed of USC's football success was planted long before Saturday's win over Ohio State.

"During his first year, he recruited my brother," said Morgan. "Back then, he told my mom he was going to take the program to the top.

"He kept his word, and my mom remembered that. She said she would be proud to have me play for him because he keeps his word.

"SC allows their players to use all of the potential they have. I know that whether I'm playing at running back or in the slot, they'll find ways to get me the ball.

"I even saw Joe McKnight take a snap in the last game. They really use the abilities of their players. Pete Carroll is true to his word."

Several of Southern California's top juniors attended Saturday's game with Morgan. While the Trojans' class of 2009 sits atop the recruiting rankings, the class of 2010 is ready to make their own headlines.

"We definitely want to be just as strong, if not stronger," said Morgan. "We want to keep the reputation going and fight on. I've been talking with a couple of my friends. Dietrich Riley - I'm trying to get him over (to USC)."

Morgan, like many Trojan tailbacks before him, excels in several sports. Running a 4.40 electrically timed 40-yard dash as a sophomore at USC's Skills Camp in 2007, Morgan won the 110 and 400-meter hurdles at the Junior Nationals in North Carolina and Youth Track Championship in Nebraska.

At USC, his speed will be utilized in football and track.

"The coaches are encouraging me to run track and play football," said Morgan. "They're good with me doing both sports, so it would be me telling them no rather than them telling me no."

With track, football and school to juggle, Morgan didn't think twice about making an early decision on college.

"It feels good because I can concentrate on school, and I know that now I have another family to go to in a few years," said Morgan. "One thing that really made me and my parents feel like committing was when the coaches said that I had a family at USC no matter what.

"Even if I have a career ending injury, my scholarship is still there. That's how serious they are about their program - they take care of their recruits."

But how serious is Morgan about making USC his first and last commitment?

"I'm still going to take my visits because that's something my parents want me to experience," said Morgan. "But I'm a pretty solid with my commitment to USC right now."

USCFootball.com will bring you more on D.J. Morgan throughout the season.


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