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USC's Adoree' Jackson, JuJu Smith are drawing crowds after practice

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian said this spring that the program would continue to attract top recruits by having “young players on your roster that young kids want to emulate and be like.”

Adoree’ Jackson and JuJu Smith seem to be embracing the role.

Local high school players lingered after practice on Saturday to take photos with Jackson.

“It is everything I dreamed of, just being that guy for people to look up to,” Jackson said.

Smith spoke to a gathered group after practice Tuesday.

Jackson and Smith graduated from Gardena Serra High and Long Beach Poly, respectively, and are quickly ascending as two of the most sought-after players in the program by fans and media.

Jackson, a freshman All-American, played cornerback and receiver last season. He deflected 10 passes, caught three touchdown passes and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. Smith caught 54 passes for 724 yards and five touchdowns.

Questions about USC? Email me at or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond...

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USC lineman Nico Falah working for an opportunity

Spring practice provides opportunities for returning starters to solidify their holds on positions and for new players to make first impressions.

It also serves as perhaps the best chance for developing players to establish themselves as contenders for playing time in the fall.

USC lineman Nico Falah appears to be taking advantage of the opportunity.

The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Falah has been working at left tackle, mainly with the second unit. Falah, however, also has taken some first-team reps.

“It took awhile, but I’m finally getting my opportunity and I’m trying to make the most of it,” Falah said Tuesday after going through some individual footwork drills after practice at the Coliseum.

Falah played at Bellflower St. John Bosco before signing a letter of intent with USC. He redshirted in 2013 and played in three games last season.

When left tackle Chad Wheeler sustained a season-ending knee injury last season, then-freshman Toa Lobendahn filled the spot. Lobendahn continues to work as...

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Ex-football player Armond Armstead reaches settlement with USC

Former USC football player Armond Armstead has reached a confidential settlement in his lawsuit that accused the university and team doctor James Tibone of causing a heart attack by improperly injecting him with the potent painkiller Toradol.

Terms of the deal preclude the parties from discussing the litigation or settlement.

“Mr. Armstead believes that the use of Toradol has not been adequately researched with respect to possible long-term consequences, especially when administered to student-athletes by team doctors repeatedly over the course of a season,” Armstead’s attorneys, Roger Dreyer and Robert Bale, wrote in a brief statement Wednesday.

The case was scheduled for trial Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

"We have seen the statements issued by Mr. Armstead's attorney that express Mr. Armstead's personal opinions," USC said in a statement. "While the university will not comment on the case, USC has always placed the health and safety of its student-athletes as its top...

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USC football players show off their moves in dance contest

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian gave his players a new way to show off their moves.

He staged a dance contest.

Sarkisian said he decided to "break up the monotony" of spring practice and have some fun with the brief dance competition during Tuesday’s workout at the Coliseum.

Each position group selected a participant.

“Part of it was to say, ‘Hey we can have our fun and then we can refocus and get right back into practice,’” Sarkisian said, adding, “We're going to have moments in games where we're going to make a great play and we're going to want to celebrate and then we need to refocus for the very next snap and be locked in.”

Freshman offensive lineman Roy Hemsley, who is listed at 6 feet 6 and 310 pounds, stood out, Sarkisian said.

"A man that size that can dance like that, that was pretty impressive,” Sarkisian said.

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USC lineman Damien Mama feels good after shedding weight

Damien Mama weighed 397 pounds when he arrived on campus as a freshman last summer.

He now weighs 358, he said, and is on the way to his goal weight of 345.

“I definitely feel the difference,” Mama said after practice on Tuesday. “I’m moving a lot better, I move a lot faster and I just feel good overall.”

Mama, 6-foot-5, said he has worked closely with strength and conditioning coach Ivan Lewis.

Mama played guard in 12 games last season.

Mama continues to adapt to the speed of the game and said he was “starting to pick up” adjustments faster.

Questions or comments about USC? Email me at or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages in a weekly USC Now mailbag.

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USC Now morning report

Tweet of the day: "Former #USC football player Armond Armstead has reached a confidential settlement to his lawsuit against the school over its use of Toradol."

   -- Nathan Fenno, Times sports enterprise reporter  

In The Times: 

USC's Pat Haden won't attend meeting in Indiana because of new law

USC's Pat Haden, citing gay son, will not attend playoff committee meeting in Indiana

Questions about USC? Email me at or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will respond to select messages in a weekly USC Now mailbag. 

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