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Future USC quarterback Ricky Town called 'a real football junkie'

USC attracted a marquee quarterback last month when Ventura St. Bonaventure High quarterback Ricky Town signed a financial-aid agreement.

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian said Town has leadership qualities and a strong work ethic.

"This guy loves football," Sarkisian said. "He studies the game of football, and he's similar to Cody [Kessler] in that way - a real football junkie."

Town, 6-foot-4 and 203 pounds, competed at Nike's Elite 11 in July, an invitation-only event featuring 18 of the nation's top high school quarterbacks.

ESPN NFL analyst and Elite 11 coach Trent Dilfer said Town struggled on Day One before a Day-Two standout performance. "He had so much confidence," Dilfer told USA Today. "His personality started coming out, he had some sauce to him."

Town ranked as the eighth-best quarterback in the Elite 11.

Town will enroll mid-year at USC.

He was committed to Alabama before switching his commitment to USC.

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry...

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Oregon State receiver Victor Bolden will be sidelined against USC

Oregon State needed to find a replacement for Brandin Cooks, the record-setting receiver who was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.

The Beavers hoped Victor Bolden would fill the void—and the sophomore from Rancho Cucamonga appeared to be comfortable in the role through three games.

But Bolden, who has a team-best 18 receptions for 192 yards and a touchdown, will sit out Saturday night’s game against USC at the Coliseum, Coach Mike Riley told reporters.

Bolden suffered a finger injury during the Beavers’ 28-7 victory over San Diego State on Saturday.

Quarterback Sean Mannion, who became Oregon State’s career passing-yardage leader in the game, will probably rely more heavily on Richard Mullaney against the Trojans.

Mullaney, who played at Thousand Oaks High, caught five passes for 53 yards against USC during the Trojans’ 31-14 victory at Corvallis, Ore.

Mullaney has 11 receptions for 119 yards and a touchdown.

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USC in the NFL: Joe McKnight makes impact for Chiefs

Every Monday we will recap notable performances of former USC players in the NFL.

McKnight sighting in Kansas City

Former USC tailback Joe McKnight was a trending topic on Twitter on Sunday, with many surprised to realize that McKnight was still in the NFL.

And with running back Jamaal Charles sidelined because of an injury, McKnight was used in a big way in the Kansas City Chiefs' 34-15 victory at Miami. 

"He sure did a nice job," Chiefs Coach Andy Reid told reporters. "My hat is off to him."

McKnight had a team-best six receptions for 64 yards and two touchdowns.

"He gives us a lot of options when he's back there," Reid said about McKnight's ability to make plays out of the backfield. "That's why we kept him."

McKnight did not play last season after he was cut from the New York Jets.

He signed with the Chiefs in January.

Cassel injures foot; Bridgewater debuts

Former USC quarterback Matt Cassel suffered an injury and was carted off the field in the first quarter of the Minnesota...

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Nelson Agholor tied for 10th nationally in receptions per game

USC’s Nelson Agholor will enter Saturday night’s game against Oregon State ranked among the top 10 nationally in receptions per game.

Agholor, a junior, has 23 catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns in three games. He is averaging 7.7 receptions, tying him with three others for 10th.

Alabama’s Amari Cooper, on the receiving end of plays called by former Trojans coach Lane Kiffin, is the national leader at 10.8 receptions per game. In four games, Cooper has 43 catches for 655 yards and eight touchdowns.

Four other Pac-12 Conference receivers are among the top 10.

Colorado’s Nelson Spruce, who played at Westlake Village Westlake High, is fourth, averaging 9.3 receptions per game. In four games, Spruce has 37 receptions for 518 yards and seven touchdowns.

Washington State’s Vince Mayle and Isiah Myers are tied for sixth with eight receptions per game. The Cougars’ River Cracraft, who played at Santa Margarita High, is tied with Agholor at 7.7.

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USC would get 'prototypical' linebacker in Cameron Smith

Linebacker Hayes Pullard can’t stay at USC forever.

And when the four-year starter graduates after this season, he will leave a large hole in the Trojans' defense.

Granite Bay High linebacker Cameron Smith will try to fill it.

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Smith signed a financial-aid agreement with USC and is on track to enroll midyear.

"We're getting a prototypical, really physical middle linebacker," USC Coach Steve Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian said Pullard and Smith share similar traits.

"You want a hard-nosed tough defense," Sarkisian said. "We see it having Hayes in the middle of our defense now and we see it with Cam."

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will answer questions in a weekly USC Now mailbag.

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Oregon State's Sean Mannion preps for USC with record-setting game

USC next week will face an Oregon State quarterback coming off a record-setting performance.

Sean Mannion became Oregon State’s all-time passing yards leader in the Beavers’ 28-7 victory over San Diego State on Saturday night at Corvallis, Ore.

Mannion completed  24 of 31 passes for 275 yards, with an interception.

Mannion has passed for 11,339 yards, which moved him past Derek Anderson on Oregon State’s career list, the school's website said. Mannion is third on the Pac-12 career list behind USC's Matt Barkley, who finished with 12,274 career passing yards, and USC’s Carson Palmer, who passed for 11,818 yards, the website said.

Oregon State improved to 3-0 after victories over Portland State, Hawaii and San Diego State.

Oregon State defeated San Diego State with two rushing touchdowns from Terron Ward and two rushing touchdowns from Storm Woods.

The Beavers gained 96 yards in 36 rushing attempts.

Oregon State trailed, 7-0, early in the first quarter but was ahead 14-7 at halftime on...

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Chuma Edoga signs financial-aid agreement with USC

USC experienced recent success when it ventured into Southeastern Conference country to recruit linemen.

The Trojans plucked defensive end Leonard Williams from Florida and he developed into a star.

Chuma Edoga, an offensive lineman from Georgia, could be next in line.

Edoga, 6-foot-3 and 283 pounds, is an offensive tackle at Powder Springs McEachern High.

He signed financial-aid paperwork with USC this week and is on track to enroll midyear.

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian said Edoga was one of the "most premier" offensive linemen in the country.

"The athleticism he possesses, the potential at left tackle that he has for his future and the future of our program is something very unique," Sarkisian said.

 

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will answer questions in a weekly USC Now mailbag.

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Adoree' Jackson narrows his position focus during the bye week

Offense or defense?

It's a head-over-heart matter for USC freshman Adoree' Jackson, who has played cornerback, receiver and kick returner.

Jackson said he wants to play on offense, but knows he is valued on defense.

"It's funny, because everyone wants to play offense," Jackson said, smiling. "But at the end of the day, defense wins games."

Jackson has four receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown. He's made three tackles and has returned three kicks for 81 yards.

Jackson usually juggles receiver and cornerback duties during practice, but his focus during the bye week narrowed to defense.

"You get more comfortable, more relaxed and more confident," Jackson said about the increased time at cornerback.

Jackson said he expected to continue playing on offense, depending on the team's needs and how much "wind" he has after playing defense.

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will answer questions in a weekly USC Now mailbag.

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Trojans have open date, but they will keep an eye on Oregon State

USC has an open date this week, but the Trojans will keep an eye on Oregon State’s game against San Diego State on Saturday night.

USC plays Oregon State on Sept. 27 at the Coliseum.

Oregon State, under Coach Mike Riley, is 2-0.

The Beavers defeated Portland State, 29-14, and also won at Hawaii, 38-30.

Senior quarterback Sean Mannion has completed 52 of 82 passes for 628 yards and four touchdowns, with one interception.

San Diego State is 1-1 after a victory over Northern Arizona and defeat by North Carolina.

USC defeated Oregon State, 31-14, last season at Corvallis.

 

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Oral arguments set for NCAA's appeal in Todd McNair's defamation suit

An appeal hearing in the defamation lawsuit that former USC assistant coach Todd McNair filed against the NCAA is scheduled for next month in Los Angeles.

The NCAA is seeking to have the California Court of Appeals overturn a Los Angeles Superior Court judge’s 2012 ruling against the NCAA’s motions to dismiss the case and keep documents under seal.

Oral arguments are scheduled for Oct. 15.

The Los Angeles Times and the New York Times filed an application with the appellate court to unseal the NCAA documents.

McNair filed his lawsuit in June 2011, two months after the NCAA denied his appeal to overturn a penalty imposed against him as a result of an investigation that centered on former Trojans running back Reggie Bush.

McNair was not named in the NCAA’s infractions report but he was the assistant coach the NCAA determined “knew or should have known” that Bush had dealings with two sports marketers. The NCAA also determined that McNair had engaged in unethical conduct and sanctioned him...

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USC Now mailbag: The Boston College debacle is still on your mind

Welcome back to the USC Now mailbag, where you're still asking about USC's 37-31 defeat by Boston College and are already worried about the 2016 game against Alabama.

Let's get to it. 

Farzad asks: When is [USC Coach Steve Sarkisian] going to realize that Cody is not developing and not getting better? This is going to end badly against UCLA and ND.

He is slow in decision making. Many times he has over 6 or 7 seconds and has no clue. Late in the game when it's too late he pads his stats.

If he played better when the game counted his defense doesn't need to come back on the field after 1, 2, 3 out. Please, someone needs to realize that.

Lindsey: Interesting issue you raise, Farzad. You're not alone, many readers emailed with a similar question.

My question for you is, what is this theory that he's not developing based on?

Gary Klein points out in this article that Cody Kessler is having a good season.

Kessler is one of four quarterbacks in college football who has thrown 100 or more...

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Marqise Lee is sidelined for Jacksonville Jaguars game on Sunday

Marqise Lee sat out three games because of a nagging knee injury during his final season at USC.

After two NFL games, he is once again sidelined.

The Jacksonville Jaguars rookie will sit out Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts because of a hamstring injury, the Jaguars announced.

"My main focus is getting it right," Lee told reporters. "A hamstring can linger. If you try to continue to come back, come back, come back at 85 and 90 [percent], you still can have issues."

Lee overcame hamstring tightness during the week to catch two passes for 11 yards in last weekend's 41-10 defeat by the Washington Redskins.

He has eight receptions for 73 yards.

Questions about USC? Email me at LNThiry@gmail.com or tweet @LindseyThiry and I will answer questions in a weekly USC Now mailbag.

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