The Narbonne Gauchos, ranked fifth nationally by MaxPreps, had arguably their biggest win in school history on Friday night when they defeated USC-pipeline and powerhouse Mater Dei, 18-17. To take in the win was the Trojans’ linebackers coach Scottie Hazelton and his leading tackler, Dion Bailey. Neither school fields a current Trojan commit, but there were a couple of quality players that Hazelton could have had his eye on while he filmed the game from the sidelines.
Keishawn Bierria, LB, Narbonne, Class of 2013:
Bierria, a 3-star linebacker, is a rising commodity in the recruiting world, as he’s shown tremendous versatility and athletiscim, scoring two touchdowns the last two weeks. On Friday night, Bierria dropped back to receive a punt and took a boomer at the 6-yard-line much to the surprise of the Monarchs, bolting forward past several defenders on his way to a 94-yard touchdown return that gave the Gauchos an early 6-3 first quarter lead. As a linebacker, his size and quickness sees him play much in the mold of a Hayes Pullard or Dion Bailey, as a hybrid-backer that the Trojans have grown to assemble in hopes of stopping spread defenses. Currently, Bierria has offers from three Pac-12 schools including Arizona, and it’s yet to be seen if he’ll receive one from USC considering that Michael Hutchings is currently committed.
Kyle Penniston TE, Mater Dei, Class of 2015:
Despite being just a sophomore, Penniston has the makings of an elite player, as evident with recruitment to date. The 6-foot-5 tight end has received an offer from Jimbo Fisher’s Florida State Seminoles, while getting interest from major powers Oregon, Georgia, Florida and Wisconsin, in addition to Pac-12 schools Washington and UCLA. Penniston had a quiet night on Friday while the Monarchs’ gameplan was to pound the ball and throw to 3-star wideout Thomas Duarte. However, given his skill set, he could very well be a future target for the Trojans in the Class of 2015.
Paolo Lepua, DE, Narbonne, Class of 2013:
Lepua’s been linked to mild interest with the Trojans, despite only fielding offers from Colorado, Nevada and Hawaii. He’s the best lineman that assistant coach Joe Aguirre has ever coached at Narbonne and he brings a tenacity to the game that you want to see in a defensive player. That being said, Lepua is incredibly raw and his exuberance has cost him on occasion, both during plays and after. Lapua didn’t have his best game of the season on Friday night, and luckily for the Gauchos, they were still able to find a way to stop Mater Dei when they needed to in the second half.
A.J. Richardson, LB, Narbonne, Class of 2013:
It’s hard to believe that Richardson is just a three-star receiver. He has a strong burst of acceleration, while bringing a physical nature to his game, especially in tight quarters while in the flat. On Friday night, Richardson had a 65-yard touchdown catch on a short screen pass that eerily resembled Marqise Lee’s first catch of the season that went 75-yards for a score against Hawaii. He’s a solid verbal to Cal and has been since July, making him a longshot for the Trojans, but it wouldn’t hurt if Kiffin and company had their eyes on the big receiver anyways.