Tate Martell Nears College Decision and More USC Football News


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1st & 10:

First Take… Five-star phenom Tate Martell is due to announce his college decision in just a few weeks, telling Bleacher Report that he wants to decide before the start of the high school season. That means sometime between Aug. 10-20 the big choice will be made.

USC made the Bishop Gorman quarterback’s top five, along with Alabama, Michigan, Texas A&M and Washington.

The Trojans have always looked like a strong prospect for Martell, but there are things muddying the waters.

One of those things is the recruitment of Tua Tagovailoa, another highly-touted quarterback recruit for the 2017 class. The Marcus Mariota-protege was thought to be an Oregon-lean, but he has named USC as his top school while he waits for an offer from the Ducks.

It is unlikely the Trojans will be in a position to add both Martell and Tagovailoa to the class, so the Trojans are facing a difficult balancing act between the two.

If Martell feels that the Trojans are looking too hard elsewhere, he could very well commit to one of his other choices. In fact, he had committed to Washington as a youngster. Of course it was Steve Sarkisian he committed to in the first place.

Still, allowing Martell to land in someone else’s uniform would be a major misstep for Sarkisian’s staff, which has hit on nearly every target they have pursued with gusto.

An argument could be made that backing off on Tagovailoa would likely see him head to a conference rival, while Martell is more likely to end up outside of the conference if he elects to pass over USC.

That argument could just as easily be answered with Martell’s sophomore highlights, which are jaw-droppingly good.

Then there’s the added bonus of five-star receiver Tyjon Lindsey, who dominated The Opening despite being one of the few sophomores invited. Martell told Bleacher Report that he intends to recruit hard for whichever school he picks and that Lindsey would certainly be his main target to secure.

If Martell’s recruitment wasn’t a big deal just based on his own great talent, the ripple-effect it could have is huge as well.

And Ten USC Football Links…

  1. OC Register: Opponent previews from Michael Lev continue with a Q&A with Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune. Included is a discussion of Notre Dame’s injury concerns last year, Malik Zaire’s fit in the zone-read scheme and how this is a make-or-break season for Brian Kelly.
  2. OC Register: In a double header, Lev also gave us a preview of Utah with Dirk Facer of the Deseret News. The Utes are dealing with some major turnover in the coaching staff, but they return Travis Wilson and Devontae Booker.
  3. ESPN: Ted Miller’s All-Underrated Pac-12 team features just one Trojan — Tre Madden — which is not all that surprising considering the hype around most of the USC team. It does seem like a raw deal for cornerback Kevon Seymour who is so underrated he’s even snubbed from the all-underrated squad.
  4. ESPN: If you’ve got an eye on making a trip to any one of the USC away games for this season Greg Katz has a nifty guide ranking the trips as they come.
  5. Pacific Takes: Who are the top 12 defensive backs in the conference? Jack Follman takes a crack at ranking them with Adoree’ Jackson just behind leaders Ishmael Adams and Fabian Moreau of UCLA. And what’s this? Kevon Seymour gets his due at No. 7.
  6. USCFootball.com: Dan Weber plays the “What If” game, projecting all the things that need to go right for the Trojans to have a big season. Among the IFs are Adoree’ Jackson seeing more time on offense, USC being physical and aggressive and coaching evolving.
  7. USCFootball.com: Tre Madden is ready for the fall, as Shotgun Spratling details. “I’ve been having the itch to get on the field for a long time, so I’m looking forward to it,” Madden says. We’re itching to see him get on the field healthy.
  8. USC Football.com: Casey Cosgrove predicts the redshirt players for the coming season. While Deontay Burnett is projected to see playing time, while defensive line stud Rasheem Green may have to redshirt due to offseason surgery.
  9. Reign of Troy: In honor of the MLB trade deadline, we looked at five hypothetical trades for USC, if such a thing existed in college football.
  10. Reign of Troy: Our Monday Mailbag looked at Sarkisian’s hotseat, playing time for freshman linebackers and deciding which rivalry is the most important this season. (Hint: it’s UCLA)

Stat of the Day:

USC has appeared in seven of the 12 highest-rated games in television history.

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