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Barnum Preempts Recruiting Circus With Commitment : Football: Making an early decision to avoid any pressure, Alemany running back says he will sign letter to attend USC.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Terry Barnum ended the recruiting battle before it really began when he committed this week to attend USC in 1992.

The Alemany High running back informed USC Coach Larry Smith on Monday that he intends to sign a letter of intent with the Trojans, a decision he reached nearly seven months before next February’s signing date for high school senior football players.

Barnum chose USC over UCLA, Cal, Notre Dame and Washington, schools he would have visited had he not committed to the Trojans. He cited the wish to avoid pressure in his senior season as a reason for committing to the Trojans now.

“This takes a lot of pressure off me,” he said. “USC didn’t have to wait until after my senior season. They wanted me now. Anyone who shows me that kind of faith, I’m going to put that faith back to them.”

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The 5-foot-10, 175-pound tailback has scored 1,140 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, far exceeding the NCAA-required 700, and plans a busy semester in the fall. In addition to membership on the football team, he has enrolled in honors-level classes at Alemany and is the student vice president.

“It’s going to be a full semester, a stressful semester, so I’m glad to get this done,” he said.

Barnum, who attended an academic day program at USC in June, cited the Trojans’ tailback tradition as another factor in his decision. He rattled off the names of USC’s Heisman Trophy winners while expressing hopes about his own future at USC.

“I’ve been a fan of USC for a long, long time,” he said. “The whole tailback tradition is great at USC, starting with Mike Garrett, O.J. Simpson, Charles White and Marcus Allen, not to mention Anthony Davis and Ricky Bell.”

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In two varsity seasons at Alemany, Barnum has rushed for 1,899 yards and scored 26 touchdowns. Last year, he gained 1,158 yards and scored 16 touchdowns.


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