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April 27, 2006

Golden State Nuggets: Trojans taking over again

Anybody doubt that USC is still the dominant team in the Pac 10?

Check out what the Trojans pulled off Tuesday afternoon.

In one quick swoop, Pete Carroll and Co. locked up arguably the top offensive line prospect West of the Rockies and then he pulls in what might be one of the top five junior-to-be receiver/running backs in the nation. Martin Coleman of Huntington Beach (Calif.) Edison picked up a scholarship offer from USC on Tuesday and he thought about it a total of about 2 minutes before pulling the Trigger.

"Yeah, everything came together pretty quick," Clark Christensen, Coleman's uncle and legal guardian, said. "I think USC is where Martin has wanted to go for some time now so once they offered, he basically jumped on it. He knew there was no need to wait around and see who else would offer. Coach Carroll was at the school today and then later on, Martin got a text message to call Carroll and that's when he offered. Martin committed on the spot."

Coleman's rise to the top of the West Coast offensive line charts has been nothing short of amazing. He's gone from not even playing football until his junior season to earning a scholarship from one of the nation's top programs.

Coleman is blessed with raw, natural athletic ability that will allow him to keep up with the fastest and strongest defensive linemen around. And his technique is getting better and better. He'll easily be one of the most complete players in California for the class of 2007.

There is one thing he does have to improve on his academics. Coleman does admit that he's got some work to do in the classroom to replace after moving to the United States from his native Tonga.

Southern Cal: Looking back
Pete Carroll's classes have not been short on talent. Here's a look at the last five Trojan classes and where they've stacked up against other teams across the country:
Year Five stars Team Rank
2002
0
13
2003
2
3
2004
8 1
2005
4
1
2006
5
1
However with a busy summer of classes and a good senior season he should be on track to make it.

While Coleman's commitment was huge, it was rivaled by the pledge of junior-to-be running back D.J. Shoemate.

The 6-foot, 207-pound athlete dominated as a sophomore from Anaheim Servite and could project at running back, receiver and defensive back.

"I have little doubt that by the time he gets into his senior season, D.J. will be one of your highest ranked kids at receiver," Servite coach Troy Thomas said.

"He's such a hard worker. He's doing well academically, and on the field he's amazing.

"He runs good routes, has great hands and he comes to play in big games. He had 165 yards rushing against Mater Dei, and when he's at receiver he's already drawing double-teams. He's going to be a monster by the time he's a senior when he develops more physically and improves his game."

More than Clausen
If you're keeping track, by now you already know that there are eight players at Westlake (Calif.) Oaks Christian that have major scholarship offers. Of course the headliner is Notre Dame bound quarterback Jimmy Clausen and running back Marc Tyler, but the team is loaded with some serious talent that should make it a contender for the CIF championship this fall.

Defensive end Michael Ebbitt has blown up and now holds scholarship offers from almost every Pac 10 team outside of UCLA and USC. The 6-foot-5, 245-pounder lists major offers from Utah, Virginia, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Oregon State, Tennessee, Washington and Washington State. Fellow d-end Duke Lemmens has offers from Oregon and Utah.

Outside linebacker Casey Matthews lists offers from Arizona State, Oregon and Tennessee. Cornerback Anthony Gildon who has seen his stock also shoot up has Oregon at the top of his along with offers from Kentucky and Mississippi State.

Safety Marshall Jones, a pre-evaluation period Rivals100 pick, is loaded up with offers from Arizona, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Nebraska and Oregon State. Fellow safety Sean Wiser has offers from Duke, Kentucky, Oregon and Oregon State.

Concentration on QBs
Looking for a talented quarterback?

If so then California needs to be your destination. Heading into the early stages of the spring evaluation period, the Rivals.com database already lists six quarterbacks with scholarship offers and numerous others on the verge of landing them.

The headliner continues to be Clausen, but the real battle this spring will be to find out which kid ends up in that No. 2 spot.

The front-runners appear to be UCLA commitment Chris Forcier of San Diego St. Augustine and Aaron Corp of Villa Park (Calif.) Orange Lutheran.

Forcier, a 6-foot-3, 185-pounder is listed as a pro-style quarterback but he easily could also project as a dual-threat because of his 4.53-second speed. He's looked great at three NIKE Training Camps, going all the way back to his freshman season and his offers were impressive, too.

Forcier turned down Arkansas, Boston College, Miami, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Nebraska, N.C. State, Oregon, San Diego State and Texas A&M for the Bruins.

Corp is a true dual-threat that can kill you both with his arm and with legs. He threw for 1,634 yards and 22 scores as a junior and also rushed for an additional 591 yards and eight touchdowns. He has offers from Arizona State, Cal, Arizona, Nebraska and Oregon and lists the Sun Devils and Bears as his top two teams.

Huskers working California hard
With Bill Callahan's former connections with the Oakland Raiders and the Huskers' success in the Golden State it looks like Nebraska is here to stay in California. And the recruits are definitely taking notice of Nebraska's efforts.

Around 15 of the state's better players have Nebraska somewhere on their list and early offers to players like offensive lineman Matt Summers-Gavin, athlete Malachi Lewis, and running back Roy Helu have NU listed among the top contenders for those prospects.

California's hottest school
Los Angeles Verbum Dei High School has only 325 students and at the rate its going almost every single one of them will be a heralded recruit by the time singing day hits.

No school this side of Oaks Christian in Southern California is a hotter stop for college recruiters than Verbum Dei.

Defensive end Akeem Ayers is quickly becoming one of the nation's top defensive end targets after a junior season that saw him rack up 18 sacks. He's now racked up scholarship offers from Arizona, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Oregon and San Diego State.

Quarterback Curtis Wilson impressed at the Los Angeles NIKE Training Camp, despite not being the tallest kid around. He already does have offers from Nevada and San Jose State and will be somebody college coaches take a long look at because of his dual-threat ability.

Receiver Maxwell Lacy doesn't have any offers yet, but he is an explosive pass-catcher that can go over the middle to make the big catch.

Athlete Reggie Dunn had a great NIKE Camp performance and there's a lot of talk about him possibly being the fastest rising receiver in all of California.

He's the type of speed receiver that can stretch the field, too. He has an early offer from Arizona with a lot of love from Cal, LSU, USC and UCLA.



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