USC Catcher Garrett Stubbs Wins Johnny Bench Award

STUBBSUSC catcher Garrett Stubbs won the Johnny Bench Award last night, which goes to the nation’s top catcher. Stubbs was the Pac-12 defensive player of the year, a first-team All-American, the MVP of the Lake Elsinore Regional, threw out 52.8 percent of baserunners and also stole 20 bases. Above, he accepts the award from the legendary Bench.

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USC Morning Buzz: Always Hard To Predict World Of Recruiting

Recruiting is always an inexact science and coaches are entitled to have different opinions. But the news Thursday night that wide receiver Amari Rodgers, the son of USC wide receivers coach Tee Martin, committed sounded excited. At least two recruiting analysts said the 5-foot-9 junior was “great” at the Rising Stars camp.

So obviously the recruiting services are behind the curve with Rivals giving him only three stars, right? And college offers too as Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Duke, LSU and Ohio University were the only other offers. Sometimes a big summer leads to a flood of other offers.

It also means USC’s now taken four straight three stars because linebacker Jordan Iosefa, who was unranked when his commitment went public last week, is suddenly a three-star recruit in the rankings. That’s called covering your bases.

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Diddy Item Of The Day

Here’s an interesting nugget from a column by my former Daily News colleague, Jill Painter Lopez, on Diddy’s visits to UCLA football practices.

“He would park his luxury cars just outside of the gate to the football field, where there are no parking spaces, just walkways reserved for emergency vehicles and delivery trucks. A place where you or I would get towed. A few hundred yards away sits a parking structure for $12 a day.”

Full column here

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Rising Stars Day 2

Bishop Amat wide receiver Tyler Vaughns attended again today although he was not participating in workouts. Linebacker Mique Juarez, who is a “soft” commit and ranked No. 1 at his position, attended yesterday but went to the UCLA camp today. Salesian cornerback Deommodore Lenoir performed well and might draw a scholarship offer from USC now.

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KLEMMOK, there seems to be a USC connection to the recent suspension served by UCLA coach Adrian Klemm, which I heard on campus this week. The story goes like this: Klemm’s former girlfriend said she would report an alleged violation to USC, which presumably would then turn to the Pac-12 or NCAA. Instead, Klemm then self-reported an alleged violation to UCLA, which then suspended him. He was reinstated this week.

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USC In The News

BUSH.PUSHMatt Leinart’s for-profit flag football league saved nearly $50,000 by using the former USC quarterback’s non-profit foundation to secure access and special rates to fields, according to the Orange County Register.

Meanwhile, former USC golfer and women’s golf coach, Renee (Mack) Baumgartner, was named athletic director at Santa Clara. Baumgartner successfully fled Syracuse, where she was deputy athletic director, and apparently not tarnished by the recent NCAA violations even though she attended the controversial meeting held to figure out how to get the ineligible Fab Melo back on the court. If you want to know how amazing this hire is to some people, go here.

And finally, as expected, Florida tight end  Daniel Imatorbhebhe is transferring to USC, where his brother, wide receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe is already committed. Daniel, a three-star tight end in high school, will need to redshirt unless he obtains a waiver from the NCAA.

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Rick Neuheisel On Diddy

Former UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said on his SiriusXM radio show the fact Justin Combs had a famous father influenced his decision to offer him a scholarship.

“`I took them on their campus tour,” Neuheisel said. “A half-hour into it, (Diddy) asked me who I was. He said, ‘Tell me what you do, Rick.’ I said, ‘I’m the head football coach here.’ He said, ‘You’re giving us the tour?’ I said, ‘Absolutely, this is my school. This is where I went. I want to give you a feel of what it’s like to be a student.’

“When you’re weighing the assets of what a youngster can do for your program, there’s no question [being Diddy’s son] had something to do with it for me. Justin is a great kid. His problem was his size. He’s not big enough to be a dominant player. Could he be productive? Yes. The fact his father was an influential guy played into my decision to go ahead and offer him.”

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Rising Stars Camp Update

Five-star tailback Najee Harris, who is committed to Alabama, attended the USC Rising Stars Camp today. So did four-star cornerback Nigel Knott of Madison, Miss. Four-star wide receiver Freddie Swain of Citra, Fla. was also impressive. Linebacker Daelin Hayes, who is already committed to USC from the Class of 2017 and rumored to receive No. 55 when he arrives, is also at the camp.

Among quarterbacks, USC commit Matt Fink and Class of 2017’s Tua Tagovailoa of St. Louis in Hawaii were prominent.

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