Steve Sarkisian joined the Trojans Live show on KFWB 980, hosted by John Jackson and Jordan Moore, to discuss the 2014 recruiting class and give some insight as to what positions some of the versatile athletes will begin their Trojan careers at.
While Tee Martin has received plenty of recognition for his recruiting abilities within the last day, Sarkisian was sure to credit the entire staff saying, “Everyone played a role.”
As for the much-discussed Adoree’ Jackson, the Trojans’ head man said the dynamic athlete will start out on defense, which comes as a bit of a surprise.
Yes, Jackson is a more than capable cornerback, but given his game-breaking abilities, the general consensus had Jackson initially focusing on offense.
As for Juju Smith, whom the Trojans nearly lost to Oregon, Sarkisian said Smith enters the class as a wide receiver. Sarkisian went on to liken Smith to former Trojan Keary Colbert, calling the two “similar.”
While Smith will begin on offense, Sarkisian said, “He’s going to get an opportunity on defense as well.”
Sarkisian then quickly detailed how the offensive line signees also present some flexibility. Toa Lobendahn, whom many consider a center, has versatility to be a right tackle, according to Sarkisian.
Damien Mama will play guard, and Viane Talamaivao can play center and Sarkisian lauded the physical lineman for his “great punch, really good hands, strong hands.”
Aware of the need for defensive backs, Sarkisian said the coaches sought out “physical corners that can be man to man safeties, be nickels that can play man to man.”
When the issue of now moving forward and needing to develop the signees was broached, Sarkisian pointed to his and his coaching staff’s past success at Washington where “We had to take players that weren’t the elite level guys.”
Sarkisian further stated that his staff prides themselves on the development of players and believes it to be one of their strengths.
Following Sarkisian on Trojans Live was St. John Bosco product, Mama. The nationally sought after offensive lineman shared some interesting tidbits regarding the recruitment of friends and now teammates, Smith and Talamaivao.
Mama told the hosts when he spoke to Smith on Tuesday evening, Smith said he planned on signing with the Ducks.
Mama then discussed his and Talamaivao’s visit to Alabama, which the lineman took at the same time. Mama believed Talamaivao thoroughly enjoyed the trip, and Mama gave some thought to joining him in Tuscaloosa.
That was of course prior to Talamaivao de-committing from the Crimson Tide mere days after his official visit
As for his new coach, Mama was initially shocked when Ed Orgeron wasn’t given the job but said, “Having coach Sark hired was awesome.”
While still coach of the Huskies, Sarkisian was in hot pursuit of Mama, but according to lineman, the coach’s efforts tailed off towards the end of his junior year.
Ultimately for Mama it was important for him to play with his “brothers” and the value of a “meaningful degree” were too much to pass over.
Sarkisian certainly has certainly signed an impressive recruiting class, but doesn’t appear content and is well aware of the expectations that have been placed on him.