No school on the West Coast perks the interest of a football recruit like the Southern California Trojans.
Even though he was set on going to the University of Washington from Lakes High School, tight end Kavario Middleton admitted when USC called to try and schedule a visit, "hear that name, it catches your ear."
Offensive tackle Ben Ossai had other priorities at hand when he decided to leave Bakersfield, Calif. for Seattle and the Huskies after high school.
But he hoped that the Trojans would have called, offered and made a childhood dream come true.
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"It's USC, I'm from California. It's one of the biggest schools there," Ossai said. "My coaches were literally USC fans. The first camp I went to was the USC offensive line camp. I liked USC. I was two hours away from there. It wasn't like driving up 16 hours to watch them. I was close to Fresno State, too, so I went to both of their games.
"It would have been nice to be a recruit (at USC). But it turned out pretty good for me here."
Two big pieces from USC are now with the Huskies – new coach Steve Sarkisian, and defensive coordinator Nick Holt. Sarkisian met with the media Monday, and was bombarded by questions about his ties to the seven-time Pacific-10 Conference.
At first, he seemed civil about the inquiries. Later, as they kept piling on, his jaw clenched. His answers became short. His face wore a glossy stare.
His most telling response came on a question about having more incentive facing not only the old program, but the mentor – Pete Carroll.
" I don't know why that has to be more incentive though. People keep telling me that and so I'm trying to access it because maybe I'm missing it. But i don't feel like there is more incentive there," Sarkisian said. "The incentive is these kids deserve a great week of preparation. These kids deserve a great game plan These kids deserve myself and our staff's undivided attention to get them ready to play. The moment we get caught up looking at the game and the history and the things that build up the game, then we're missing that point.
"I don't feel the extra incentive. Our kids and our fans deserve a really good game plan and a great effort."
• It was a big odd that junior-college cornerback David Batts was not in pads and just in a home jersey, rooting on the Huskies on Saturday afternoon against Idaho. And now it's known why – he was in the doghouse.
And on Monday, Sarkisian announced Batts, who had just moved to cornerback last week and was going to see tom playing time, was dismissed for violating team rules.
"Leave it at that," Sarkisian said.
The coach said the No. 25 jersey Batts was wearing in honor of the late Curtis Williams would not be reissued to a current UW player.
• Defensive tackle De'Shon Matthews (knee) has a bruise, and is day-to-day. Sarkisian said the injury did not do any bone or ligament damage.
• Defensive end Everrette Thompson (ankle) can't shake the ailment that has plagued him since the offseason. He has tried to play periodically, but has shut it down recently.
Sarkisian said after this week's game, his situation will be reassesses, which might mean a decision to redshirt him.
• There is no word on the status of defensive end Darrion Jones (knee, ankle), who was hurt in the early stages of the LSU game, and missed the Idaho game.
• Concerning his spotty pass defense last week, Sarkisian noted after reviewing film the "zone drops" weren't sharp. He added the two turnovers the unit has created in two games isn't nearly enough.
• From practice Monday, the team practiced indoors. Jones and Matthews did not practice, but did do light jogging. … Safety Jason Wells (Achilles) did work out for the first time since early in fall camp. … Linebacker Matt Houston took some snaps with the No. 1 defense. … In his second week at free safety, Jason Glenn took all the snaps with the first unit. He is listed the starter on the depth chart. … Offensive guard Gregory Christine sat out of practice. Sarkisian noted it was routine rest. Drew Schaefer rolled with the No. 1 offensive line. … The UW fastpitch team will be honored in "The Zone" before the game Saturday.