Football adds depth during Early Signing Period

first_imgUSC football entered Wednesday’s Early National Signing Day in an unfamiliar position. The Trojans have been struggling to attract the best high school seniors, coming in at 25th in ESPN’s 2019 football class rankings. Wednesday’s events certainly didn’t shoot the Trojans up the rankings, but USC did leave with a few key victories as they welcomed 18 signees.USC needed to shore up an offensive line that allowed 27 sacks in 2018, and succeeded with the signing of tackle Jason Rodriguez from Oak Hills High School in Hesperia, California. The four-star Rodriguez is USC’s highest-rated signee of the early period and boasts a monstrous 6-foot-6, 326-pound frame. The Trojans also added three-star offensive guard Tilini Livai from Narbonne in Harbor City.“We were really excited to get this young man and what he brings to the table with size,” head coach Clay Helton said about Rodriguez. “He’s one that could step in and help us with depth immediately.”The leading signee early in the day was four-star cornerback Max Williams from Junipero Serra High School in nearby Gardena. The second signee after three-star quarterback Kedon Slovis, Williams was not the only defensive back who signed with the Trojans. Three-star safety Briton Allen from IMG Academy in Florida will provide greater depth for a safety position that was depleted due to injuries in 2018, while three-star cornerback Trey Davis will come down from Washington to battle for playing time.“One of the more special athletes, we thought, out of the city,” Helton said of Williams. “[He has] the ability to play corner or nickel and is very quick-twitch.”The Trojans gained a pair of four-star tight ends in Jude Wolfe from St. John Bosco and Ethan Rae from Orange Lutheran. Both standing at least 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, the duo present new offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury with a greater number of red zone options moving forward. Helton said that he thought of both as among the best in the country at their position and that the team planned on using them as in-line tight ends because of their athleticism and ball skills.USC also added to its strongest position: wide receiver. Four-star Drake London out of Moorpark should become a familiar face on campus as a two-sport recruit for both the football and basketball teams. Munir McClain, a three-star receiver from JSerra Catholic in San Juan Capistrano, will join his brother Abdul-Malik, who served as a freshman linebacker for the Trojans this season. Three-star running back Kenan Christon out of Madison High School in San Diego will join the talented group of running backs.The Trojans added three linebackers to an already solid group. The highlight is four-star Maninoa Tufonu, who joins fellow Hawaiian freshman Palaie Gaoteote at inside linebacker. In addition, the Trojans secured three-star recruits Ralen Goforth from Bosco and Stanley Ta’ufo’ou from Grace Brethren in Simi Valley.Four-star Centennial defensive end Drake Jackson’s announcement that he would be committing to USC rather than Pac-12 South rival Arizona State marked a huge win for a Trojan defensive line that sought to replace departing senior linebacker Porter Gustin. Three-stars Nick Figueroa out of Riverside C.C. and Gino Quinones out of Hawaii join Jackson at the defensive end.“[He has] one of the unique body types that is out there, kind of a hybrid outside linebacker and defensive end,” Helton said about Jackson. “He can stand up or put his hand on the ground, he’s a really unique pass rusher.” Four-star running back Jordan Wilmore from Lawndale and three-star defensive tackle Dejon Benton from Pittsburg round out the Trojans’ early class, although Wilmore has not signed his letter of intent yet, according to 247 Sports.ESPN now ranks USC’s 2019 class 23rd in the nation, still a far cry from the top-ten finishes of the last couple of years. Still without a five-star recruit, the Trojans are the favorites to secure a pair of top wide receivers in Mater Dei’s Bru McCoy and Orange Lutheran’s Kyle Ford.last_img read more

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NHL NOTEBOOK Leafs’ Bell suspended

first_imgFrom news services Mark Bell was cleared to play by doctors in the NHL’s substance abuse program on Tuesday, but the new Toronto Maple Leafs forward will now have to serve the 15-game suspension handed down by the league. Bell was suspended indefinitely on Sept. 4 and placed into Stage 2 of the program, run jointly by the NHL and the players’ association. He entered the program in September 2006 following his arrest on drunken driving and hit-and-run charges in California when he was a member of the San Jose Sharks. The NHL added a 15-game suspension for Bell on Sept. 12, and he is eligible to return on Nov. 6 when the Maple Leafs play the visiting Ottawa Senators. DUCKS at DETROIT When: 4 p.m., Joe Louis Arena TV/Radio: Versus; 830 AM Matchup: The Ducks are awaiting the return of No. 1 goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who missed the first two games of the season in London against the Kings as he recovered from sports hernia surgery. Giguere isn’t the only key player missing from the Ducks’ lineup. Defenseman Scott Niedermayer and right wing Teemu Selanne are still undecided on their playing futures, and checking forward Samuel Pahlsson is also recovering from sports hernia surgery. efenseman Mathieu Schneider, who spent the past 31/2 seasons with Detroit, is still out with a broken ankle. The Red Wings, who tied Buffalo with a league-high 113 points last season, were eliminated by the Ducks in six games in the Western Conference finals. Detroit has won eight straight regular-season home games against the Ducks, since a 2-1 loss on March 19, 2002.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! He will continue with the follow-up care phase of the substance abuse program. The program’s doctors, Dr. Dave Lewis on behalf of the NHL and Dr. Brian Shaw on behalf of the NHLPA, administer Bell’s care. Around the league Flyers: Prospect Steve Downie was ruled ineligible to play in the AHL for the first month of the season after the NHL suspended him 20 games last week. Downie was suspended 20 games by the NHL on Friday for leaving his feet to deliver a deliberate and dangerous hit to the head Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond. His suspension matched the fourth-longest in league history. Devils: The team claimed defenseman Sheldon Brookbank off waivers from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Brookbank, who will turn 27 Wednesday, had 15 goals and 38 assists with Milwaukee of the AHL last season. He won the Eddie Shore Trophy as the league’s top defenseman. Today’s game last_img read more

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