Recruiting Roundup

“Black mamba” bites USC, chooses Oregon

Rumors swirled last weekend about a secret visit longtime Trojan commit De’Anthony Thomas took to the University of Oregon.

Then pictures appeared online with Thomas in Oregon gear from head to toe, putting even more fuel on the fire.

Thomas, who according to is the No. 1 athlete in the 2011 class and No. 5 overall in the nation, committed to USC last May and insisted that he would be a Trojan.

Despite reports throughout the day that Thomas of Crenshaw High (Los Angeles, Calif.) was leaning toward Oregon, Trojan fans held their breath in hopes of retaining their coveted recruit.

Thomas made his decision around 7 p.m. in the gym of his high school, saying that he had chosen to go to Oregon.

Thomas, known locally as “the Black Mamba,” was voted the Los Angeles City Section Player of the Year and helped lead Crenshaw to their second straight City Section title.

—  John Canlas

Walker signs with Trojans, not hometown Buckeyes

USC beat Ohio State, again.

This time, however, the win came in February.

The Trojans made a big move on signing day as they swiped offensive lineman Aundrey Walker from the Buckeyes.

Walker announced his decision at his high school Glenville High in Cleveland, Ohio.

This is a big pickup for the Trojans as offensive line was arguably their biggest need.

Walker, who comes in at 6-foot-6 and 355 pounds, is rated the No. 1 guard by Rivals, No. 9 by Scout and No. 15 by ESPN.

Walker could start right away, as USC needs to replace three linemen, including junior right tackle Tyron Smith, who left early for the NFL Draft and expected to go in the first round.

Walker told that immediate playing time and his relationship with recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron impacted his decision.

“USC has a great coaching staff and it’s a nice place,” Walker said. “The school is great itself. I’m surrounded by a group of good people.”

It also didn’t hurt that his recruiting visit coincided with his 18th birthday.

“We had a great time. L.A. is great, man,” Walker said. “The coaches showed me a lot of love.”

— Kenny Legan

USC reels in coveted Kentucky recruit

This morning linebacker Lamar Dawson of Boyle County High, who was silent about his plans in the weeks leading up to today, announced that he will don the cardinal and gold next fall.

Dawson, rated as a four-star recruit, has the size and speed to excel at both inside and outside linebacker.

Dawson had considered offers from upwards of 10 universities, including Oregon and Tennessee, but presumably viewed the Trojans’ depleted linebacker corps as an opportunity to play early.

“USC was my best visit, and I got along well with the players and especially the coaches. I got to know coach [Joe] Barry real well, and then he came out and met my mom on the visit,” Dawson said after announcing his decision live on the Louisville Courier-Journal’s website.

—  Sean McCormick