USC recruiting within amid program tumult

McClatchy news servicesNovember 12, 2013 

As recruiting coordinator and interim coach at USC, Ed Orgeron has identified his quarry.

There is the wide receiver, regarded as perhaps the best in the nation. Tight ends, linemen, linebackers and several defensive backs also have been targeted.

“They’re the No. 1 recruits on our board,” Orgeron said.

Orgeron is not discussing high school or junior college prospects.

He is talking about USC’s draft-eligible juniors and third-year sophomores.

Like all major programs, USC annually faces the possibility of players leaving for professional football before they have exhausted their eligibility.

But this year, with another potential coaching change looming, the stakes for USC are enormous.

USC has one more year of NCAA sanctions that limit the roster to 75 scholarship players and prohibit the Trojans from signing more than 15 new players each year. (USC has 19 slots available in February because it signed fewer than 15 players in 2013.)

USC’s roster includes 32 juniors and third-year sophomores who are eligible for the draft.

Receiver Marqise Lee, tight ends Xavier Grimble and Randall Telfer, and linebackers Hayes Pullard and Lamar Dawson are among the players who could seek draft evaluations and, potentially, leave the program.

Losing any player — because of a transfer or the draft — would prove costly because he cannot be replaced with an additional signee. So an exodus of any size would not only adversely affect the 2014 team, it would also thin a roster that must be rebuilt during post-sanctions seasons.

QB MARTINEZ’S CAREER AT NEBRASKA LIKELY OVER

It appears Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez has played his last snap for the Cornhuskers.

Martinez’s father, Casey, wrote in an email on Monday night that the senior quarterback has a “debilitating injury” near the ball of his left foot that could take until February or March to heal fully.

“Taylor’s injury happened in week one and after several months of rehab we have discovered that the more he does on it the worse that it gets,” Casey Martinez wrote.

Asked at his Monday news conference about the possibility of Martinez playing again this season, coach Bo Pelini said, “I don’t know if the chances are real good.”

Martinez has been limited to four games. He has had nagging injuries to his shoulder, hip and abdomen, but the injury to his left foot has been the main reason for his absences.

PRESIDENT WAS NOT DRUNK, MICHIGAN SAYS

University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman had not been drinking alcohol before making remarks at halftime of a football game, the school said in a statement Monday morning.

The “awkward audio” was a result of Coleman attempting to slow down her speech because of the significant feedback she was hearing from Michigan Stadium’s public-address system, a spokesman said.

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