Coliseum Gets Olympic Shaft

COLISEUM.2024Remember how the “historic” Coliseum and Exposition Park were the center piece for the 2024 Olympic bid? Well, it now turns out the Opening Ceremony would be held at the new Rams stadium in Inglewood while fans could go to the Coliseum and watch mainly on large screens. The venues would flip roles for the Closing Ceremony but who really pays attention to that?

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Shrine Game Update

Three USC players — RB Justin Davis, TE Taylor McNamara and S Leon McQuay — were picked to play in the Shrine Game. But Davis is not expected to play because of an ankle injury.

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Who Replaces Adoree?

ADOREE.FLIPI wrote back in December that USC lacked a game-changer if Adoree Jackson went pro. Now there are candidates like tailback Ronald Jones. But he averaged 2.8 yards per carry in the Rose Bowl so he is still inconsistent at times. No one is going to score four touchdowns on punt/kick returns next season. So that aspect is gone.

I still think the secondary is a major question. Whoever replaces Jackson is going to be tested a lot. Jackson allowed seven touchdown passes last season but he still was a solid cornerback. Can Jack Jones replace him? Perhaps. But why did the coaches use him so sparingly after Clay Helton gushed he could be the next Jackson on Signing Day. He needs to make a sizeable leap next season. So would anyone else, for that matter, whether it’s Jonathan Lockett or Ajene Harris.

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Player Spotlight: David Webb

DAVID.WEBB.1992Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

David Webb was an undersized defensive end known for his big heart and the racoon-like eye black he wore at USC games. He was also popular with teammates and coaches and memorable to any USC fans in the early 1990’s.

A friend of Webb’s emailed that David is currently in the battle of his life with cancer. If you are a USC fan, consider posting a few words of encouragement for David and his family. If anyone would like to help David or his family, you can contact me (scott.wolf@langnews.com) and I will pass along the information.

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USC Morning Buzz: Some Recruiting Numbers To Ponder

USC has 62 players on scholarship, which means the Trojans can sign 23 players on Signing Day, which is Feb. 1. With 17 commitments (another three-star, offensive tackle Jalen McKenzie, committed Monday), the Trojans have six spots left.

They can still put together a top-five class according to the recruiting pundits. But eight of the 17 commitments are three-stars or two stars (seven three stars, one two stars). That seems odd. So apparently some five-star players should commit by Signing Day (like wide receiver Joseph Lewis, offensive tackle Austin Jackson) but I wonder what the bottom 10 players of the class will contribute? Some will despite the three-star ranking. Others will disappear.

But . . . how many will play? I randomly picked the year 2014 and checked USC’s three stars: Jalen Greene, Don Hill, John Plattenburg, Ajene Harris, Uchenna Nwosu, Malik Dorton, Jordan Austin and Lamont Simmons.

Hill and Simmons are no longer on the team. Nwosu is a starter. In 2-3 years, how many 3-stars will playing from the 2017 class?

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Does Draft Value Matter?

ADOREE.HOLIDAY.NEBRASKAOne thing to note in recent years is how little feedback from the NFL seems to matter to underclassmen. During the Pete Carroll era, it seemed like a big deal when the NFL would send USC its evaluations and perhaps influence a player’s decision.

But this year, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Adoree Jackson seemed to care less about it. And Jackson is not listed in any mock drafts I’ve seen as a first-round pick. Last year, Su’a Cravens pretty much made up his mind well before the evaulation process. I think all of those players believed they were so good that they would become successful NFL players no matter where they got drafted.

But even players like Nickell Robey and Dion Bailey, who went undrafted, turned pro. It just seems like players simply go when they want to these days. And it’s still worth it financially. Cody Kessler wasn’t an underclass but he was a third-round pick and got a $3,4 million, four-year deal from the Browns. Not bad.

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