For the third time in the last two recruiting years, USC has taken the intrigue out of a recruitment, picking up a commitment from a sophomore.
Carson (Calif.) tight end Morrell Presley (6-3.5, 207) camped at USC on Sunday and left a big impression on the Trojans' coaching staff.
"I was offered by USC (Sunday) actually," Presley told WeAreSC.com. "They said I was working hard and left it all out on the field. This doesn't change things though, because I need to keep working hard. I committed on the spo. I like their offense, and the pace of the camp was incredible. The coaches were real fired up, and there was a lot of excitement out there. The coaches are real honest with you, and they do not beat around the bush."
Presley's commitment is the second for the Trojans from the class of 2009, with Compton (Calif.) Dominguez linebacker Marquis Simmons having verballed to the Trojans last month. Last year, Anaheim (Calif.) Servite athlete D.J. Shoemate started the trend of sophomores committing to USC, verballing to the Trojans late in his sophomore year.
Last year, Presley had 26 catches for 328 yards and two touchdowns en route to earning all-Marine League honors and also punted for Carson, averaging almost 30 yards a punt.
Stanford picked up its fourth commitment in the class of 2007, and second from a wide receiver, when Chris Owusu, the rangy pass-catcher from Oaks Christian in Westlake Village, Calif., verballed to the Cardinal on Monday.
Owusu called Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh and assistants Andy Buh and David Shaw to deliver the news.
"They were all really excited. They were happy that I committed - happy to get another receiver," Owusu told TheBootleg.com. "I know that another receiver has committed, but they were really excited for me to commit, too. I'm just happy to get out there and help recruit for Stanford."
Owusu joins Warren Reuland, from Mission Viejo, as the second commitment at wideout for the Cardinal. More impressive, he makes it three years running that the Cardinal have gotten an Oaks Christian prospect.
"It's a place where I've been wanting to go all my life. Great academics and a great football team," Owusu further told TheBootleg.com. "This really relieves all the stress off me. I've been working hard these past couple years to keep my grades and do anything I need to do to go to a great school like Stanford. All my tension, all the stress has been released. I'm just really happy that the recruiting process is over."
As a junior last season, he caught 35 passes for 790 yards and 10 touchdowns for the undefeated CIF Division III state champions at Oaks Christian.
UCLA had their one-day camp last weekend and before the weekend was over, three more SoCal prospects gave the Bruin staff a commitment, giving them 18 verbals in all.
Fullerton (Calif.) Troy fullback Derrick Coleman got the ball rolling, committing to UCLA on Sunday afternoon. His strong performance at the UCLA camp netted him an offer, which didn't take him long to accept
"I talked to Coach (Karl) Dorrell and told him I was committing to UCLA," said Coleman. "Coach Dorrell and Coach (Dino) Babers talked with me and I also talked to Coach (Eric) Scott and Coach (Jay) Norvell. They're bringing me in as a running back, either fullback or tailback."
Coleman was a second team all-state underclass pick after he rushed for 2,340 yards and 37 touchdowns (180 ypg, 10.6 ypc), earning Freeway League MVP and CIF-SS Division Player of the Year honors as well, despite splitting the running back duties.
Fellow Orange County native Jeff Baca, a 6-4, 275-pound offensive lineman from Mission Viejo committed that same afternoon.
"Ever since I was younger I used to go to games with my dad so UCLA always had a strong tie with me," said Baca. "I always had that strong tie that I knew that if my top school offered me, I'd commit. So when UCLA offered me, I committed on the spot."
Finishing off the Bruins run was 6-5, 260-pound tackle Connor Bradford from Palmdale, Calif.
"UCLA offered me about two weeks ago," said Bradford. "I had been hearing from them for a while when they offered me and I went to the camp on Saturday. I called them up on Sunday, I called Coach (Bob) Connelly and told him I wanted to commit."
Arguably the top offensive prospect in Central California, Merced receiver Jarrett Sparks has offers from all around the Pac-10, but he's still waiting to get an offer from USC, the school he grew up rooting for.
USC has always been my favorite school," Sparks told Scout.com. "They are always a top team. I went to one of their practices and I love how intense it was. They play hard and have great coaches. I like USC a lot, but even if they offered I think I would wait. I don't think I'd commit right away or anything. I like Cal a lot too."
The Bears were one of the first schools to offer Sparks, and he's been staying in frequent contact with the Cal coaching staff.
"They've been to my school several times and I talk with the coaches regularly," Sparks said. "They have a lot of receivers graduating and said there's a good chance I could see early playing time."
Sparks finished 2006 with 862 yards receiving and eight
touchdowns, to earn all-district and all-area honors.
Oxnard (Calif.) Santa Clara athlete Cierre Wood (6-0, 195), one of the elite prospects in the West in the class of 2009, picked up his first offer this week.
"Cierre was verbally offered a scholarship today by San Diego State," said Santa Clara athletic director Mike Schabert. "This makes two Santa Clara players offered by San Diego State, along with Randi Vines (a class of 2008 prospect who was offered two weeks ago)."
Wood helped the Saints to one of their finest seasons in decades, a 10-2 record in 2006 and a CIF Quarterfinal appearance. He was named the 2006 California State Sophomore of the Year and First Team All-State, while also earning all-CIF First Team honors, All-Ventura County (Coaches and VC Star) and All-League.
During the 2006 season, Wood had 2,480 all-purpose yards, 1,407 coming on the ground (12.03 ypc) and 595 coming through the air (37.19 per catch). He scored 25 touchdowns (17 rushing, seven receiving and one a kick return).
Few players have seen their stock rise as dramatically as Brush Prairie (Wash.) Hockinson offensive tackle Nick Cody, who's gone from relative unknown, to owner of double-digit offers, including from most of the Pac-10.
Cody, 6-6.5, 290-pounds, has been racking the offers up at a frenetic pace and recently said that three schools are standing out.