USC recruiting: High school players still look to Reggie Bush

USC recruiting: High school players still look to Reggie Bush
Gone are the days when star recruits think of becoming the next Reggie Bush at USC, once known as Tailback U. (Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times)

A decade after starring at USC, Reggie Bush could still be the Trojans’ most valuable recruiter.

"I still have his jersey," Santa Ana Mater Dei offensive lineman Frank Martin said at the Nike Opening Regional in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Players in the 2016 recruiting class were in kindergarten when USC won a national title in 2004, first grade when Bush won the Heisman a year later.

Coach Steve Sarkisian said recruits “strive to be like” players from the championship teams in the early 2000s.

"We are seeing some of that on the recruiting trail that kids remember that and think, 'I'd like to do that'," he said.

Martin, who received a scholarship offer from USC last month, said he remembered running up and down the sidelines pretending to be Bush when he was young.

North Torrance linebacker Mique Juarez, who committed to the Trojans in January, said it was "obviously" Bush he remembered watching as he grew up.

Javon McKinley, a receiver at Corona Centennial, said he watched USC because his neighbor, Dale Thompson, was a tight end on the team — but it was Bush he wanted to be like.

"He was always the main player on the field," McKinley said.

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