January 17, 2008

Big weekend for SC

This weekend, the Trojans will attempt to close out the class of 2008 with a strong finish. While two big recruiting weekends remain for USC, Friday will help build the momentum toward another top class, or leave the Trojans scrambling with open spots to fill.

Already committed to USC, D.J. Shoemate, Matt Kalil, Daniel Campbell and Curtis McNeal will be in town to finalize their signing day plans with the coaching staff. While Shoemate and Kalil have been Trojans than some of the freshman who played for USC this passed season, Campbell and McNeal have been marked as soft verbal commitments throughout the process.

Campbell, who was scheduled to visit Florida officially in November, may still take a trip to Baton Rouge. Along with Florida, LSU has remained in contact with the 6-foot-5, 320-pound Army All-American.

Of course, USC hopes to seal the deal with Campbell this weekend, putting the finishing touches on what is arguably the nation's finest class of offensive lineman. Campbell returns to USC after attending the Rising Star Camp in June, where he committed to USC before making his decision public in July.

While the four-star guard showed flashes of potential at the camp, his talent was more apparent during the week of Army All-American practices. Campbell is a project from a physical standpoint, but his natural gifts standout to the trained eye. His feet are excellent for an offensive lineman, which makes it easy for him to block down to the second and third levels of the defense.

Furthermore, his balance and agility in pass protection are rare for a 300-pound interior lineman. In fact, there may not be a better pass blocker in the state of Texas this year. Campbell's biggest issue is playing nasty and playing disciplined at the point of attack. While he's also playing heavier than USC would like, that's not a concern come August.

McNeal, who had set up trips to Oregon and Washington State, recently announced that he would cancel those visits and honor his verbal commitment to USC. Maybe the smallest prospect ever recruited by Pete Carroll, the 5-foot-6, 180-pound dynamo plays like a 6-foot-2, 220-pound gamebreaker.

Quick, agile and instinctive, McNeal is not an athlete, or a track star donning a football uniform. Although he will likely contribute as an all-purpose back at USC, expect to hear his name called throughout the game. In other words, he can run, catch, tackle and block with the best of them.

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