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July 15, 2009

Commentary: First thoughts on newcomers

Each summer, a fresh new crop of youngsters march onto USC's campus eager to impress. Typically, those newcomers are trying to catch the eye of the Trojan coaches.

Well, the USC coaches won't get a look at their new guys on the field until fall camp starts. So instead of being judged by guys like ex-NFL great Ken Norton Jr. and future Hall of Fame coach Pete Carroll, this guy has taken on the job.

Here are some quick, snap thoughts on the newest Trojans on campus.

Devon Kennard

The five-star defensive end looks physically ready to go now. He's got a really compact, tight frame despite being 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds. He runs with a low center of gravity, and he's very quick of the edge. I'm going out on a limb by saying he looks like he'll be a good player.

T.J. McDonald

I haven't seen a lot him on the field as of yet, but McDonald, like all of the safeties, seems like a sponge. With talented veteran guys ahead of him on the depth chart, McDonald's wise to sit back and learn now in preparation for fall camp.

Hebron Fangupo

Dude. Is. Gigantic. It's like déjà vu, seeing a huge Tongan guy at defensive tackle. He's taken a liking to the other Tongan players on the team - a nice support group to have. It's hard to get a great idea on line play during seven-on-sevens and 11-on-11s, especially interior line play.

Kevin Graf

Graf is a very big kid. He seems like he's a very smart kid and a hard worker. He looks a little soft right now, but next to Tyron Smith, who doesn't?

Jarvis Jones

Jones is one of the biggest freshmen I have ever seen. He's built like a power forward with broad shoulders. He seems comfortable in his surroundings, which is always key for an out-of-state recruit.

John Martinez

He looks like a center. He's built like Jeff Byers sort of. He's been working with Kristofer O'Dowd a lot - not a bad mentor.

Byron Moore

Moore's been kind of quiet and hasn't been taking a lot of reps. He's been spending his time bonding with the rest of the secondary, and he seems to be waiting to know the schemes more before taking on a bigger role in workouts.

Marquis Simmons

Simmons is kind of a more jacked-up version of Sean Combs when
Diddy
decided to run the New York City Marathon. Haven't seen him do much, but the kid certainly doesn't like wearing a shirt.

Jawanza Starling

Hello, Clarice, I mean, Jawanza. Quid pro quo. I wish I could stay on the field longer, but I'm having an old friend for dinner. Whew, got all of The Silence of the Lambs references out of the way (for now). Starling's started to get in the mix some on the field. He's got great length and looks like a player.

Frankie Telfort

The first time I spoke with Telfort, I thought I was talking to someone twice his age. He's very, very mature. He looks like an absolute beast, and he can probably do my homework. In fact, he's writing this for me right now. (Just joking. I haven't used nearly enough pre-med jargon).

James Boyd

Boyd's not shy. He's been talking plenty of trash and seems very confident. He's clearly gifted. He throws like a quarterback and runs like a receiver. He's lean, but he certainly looks like he could be a dominant force on the edge.

De'Von Flournoy

I haven't seen Flournoy get a lot of action. He's not very big, but he seems to have a good attitude. He loves USC and wears tons of Trojan gear, including tube socks, after workouts.

Torin Harris

Harris has gotten torched by the likes of Joe McKnight a couple of times this summer but to his credit, he gets right back out on the field. He's anxious to learn.

Kevin Greene

Like McDonald, Greene has proven to be quite the bookworm. He's been on Michael Morgan's hip since arriving on campus, learning how to make the transition from defensive end to linebacker - something Morgan did when he got on campus.

Jake Harfman

I have yet to see Harfman kick a football, but he looks like he has a really strong leg. Harfman probably has a strong everything. Seriously, USC recruits kickers that should be fullbacks…

Simione Vehikite

… and fullbacks who should become kickers. Ha. Just joking. Vehikite looks like a prototypical fullback. He dropped the first pass thrown to him this summer, and he took the subsequent razzing with a smile. He'll get better learning behind Stanley Havili and D.J. Shoemate.


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