Friday, February 09, 2007

Virtual war, real healing - LA Times
...the experience is almost overwhelming in "virtual Iraq."

The Humvee plows along a desert road. The engine rumbles underfoot and Blackhawk choppers whirl overhead. A sandstorm blows in...Is that the smell of burning rubber?

Those sensations of war are being fed into a special helmet, goggles and earphones. They are conjured by a computerized virtual reality developed in part by gaming engineers and psychologists at USC and being tested, among other places, at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego. The goal is to treat post-traumatic stress disorder...
City star makes grade with USC - Vancouver Sun
Trey Henderson is about to exchange his store-bought Trojans jersey for an authentic one in USC cardinal and gold.

The uber-athlete from Vancouver College was introduced Wednesday as the first Canadian to accept a full-ride football scholarship to tradition-laden Southern California, announcing his intentions on National Signing Day...

...For a player his size -- 6-3, 265 -- Henderson is considered to have great footwork...He was the B.C. junior champion and the Canadian junior silver medallist in the hammer throw in 2005.

Henderson can play defensive end, defensive tackle, tight end and running back, but the Trojans likely will play him on the defensive line. USC is a magnet for many so-called "skill" position players, but the school is in need of marauders on the pass rush...
Signing Green gives USC three top backs to share load - Philly Daily News
"Student Body Right" must be back in vogue at the University of Southern California, the school that has produced five Heisman Trophy-winning running backs.

It probably will just seem that crowded when coach Pete Carroll tries to sort out the freshman logjam at USC's marquee position heading into next season.

In a decision that surprised some recruiting analysts, four-star tailback Broderick Green announced...that he had signed a national letter of intent with the Trojans, disappointing the other two finalists for his services, Penn State and Ohio State.

"This was a hard decision, and it really came to me at the last minute,"...

Top 10 classes in the nation - Chicago Sun-Times
[Goe] McKnight keeps USC running ahead of the Pac-10 - Portland Oregonian
Top running back recruits will bring flair back to USC - Daily Trojan
Signing Day winners and losers - Sporting News
McKnight selects L.A. life over LSU - Baton Rouge Advocate
...McKnight, who might be on the cover of TV Guide as a star football player before he has to worry about earning a salary in broadcasting, said LSU coach Les Miles and Ole Miss coach Ed Orgeron did nothing to steer him away from their schools.

“I don’t think Mississippi is the type of place for me. I’m a city boy,” McKnight said, “and I didn’t want to stay at home, so I just decided to go to Southern California.”

Curtis coach J.T. Curtis, who guided McKnight during the recruiting process...dismissed the idea of Louisiana residents and LSU fans holding a grudge against McKnight for choosing to go to USC.

“I really think that the people that understand college football are not going to deal in that,” he said, “and really that would be immature.”...

Also, No McKnight, no matter for LSU - Shreveport Times
[Cleveland] McKnight got away but only time will tell how big of a loss it was - Jackson Clarion-Ledger
Miles' turn to apologize? - Lafayette Daily Advertiser
Ellison follows his heart and his father to USC - SJ Merc
It had always been Rhett Ellison's dream to follow in his father's footsteps and play football at USC.

But last summer, Trojans coaches told the son of former 49ers great Riki Ellison there were no scholarships available. So the St. Francis senior orally committed to play at Virginia Tech.

All that changed Monday night, when USC Coach Pete Carroll called with a scholarship offer, which Ellison accepted Tuesday. The tight end signed his letter-of-intent in a ceremony on the St. Francis campus Wednesday.

``It was like Christmas Eve for the last two nights; I haven't got any sleep at all,'' said Ellison...
USC looks into potential recruiting violation - LA Times
In wake of comments made by high school running back Joe McKnight, USC compliance officials are investigating whether an NCAA recruiting violation occurred during the Trojans' pursuit of the Louisiana prep star.

McKnight...told reporters back home that his mind was put at ease about USC after he listened to a telephone conversation between Coach Pete Carroll and Reggie Bush...

...There are allegations that Bush received improper benefits while playing for USC, and McKnight was worried that the Trojans might face NCAA sanctions.

McKnight's involvement in telephone communication between Carroll and Bush could itself be a violation of NCAA recruiting rules...
Signing Day: USC's blue-chip class may grow - Daily Breeze
USC made a splash on signing day, but even bigger news could be looming for the Trojans as Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain will visit in the next two weeks with the idea of transferring in the fall.

Mustain, who started eight games for the Razorbacks, would be more than just a finishing touch on recruiting class that was ranked No. 1 by ESPN and No. 3 by on Wednesday. He would probably end doubts about whether it really was the nation's top recruiting class.

"It looks as power-packed as any group we've had," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "We've got all kinds of big guys, tough guys, power guys. We held our own...

Also, Great class might get better for USC - LA Daily News
Trojans reload in style - OC Register
Pete Carroll is doing his best to bolster the tradition of Tailback U.

Carroll unveiled a small but highly decorated class of 18 incoming freshmen Wednesday, with much of the attention going to three running backs many people consider the best in the nation.

The last-minute commitment of Louisiana high school star Joe McKnight was the punctuation mark to a group that already included Marc Tyler from Yorba Linda and Arkansas running back Broderick Green.

"Undoubtedly, this is one of the all-time recruiting hauls at the running back position," recruiting expert Allen Wallace said. "To have two consecutive No.1 running-back classes when all these guys are worried about competition is amazing."...

Also, Trojans pulling rank with top-heavy class - Inland Empire Press-Enterprise
USC remains a top draw - LA Times
McKnight signs with USC - LA Times
Success is Hard to Predict - LA Times
USC lands the bigger names - VC Star
McKnight pushes USC to the top - ESPN
[Mandel] Signing Day - CNNSI
Top 25 Recruiting Classes - CNNSI
Pac-10 Signing Day Blitz - CNNSI
Ex-Nebraska kicker to walk-on at USC - Daily Trojan
Former Nebraska kicker and highly-ranked recruit Jordan Congdon will transfer to USC as a walk-on, according a report on

Because of NCAA rules, he will have to sit out the 2007 season before joining the team in 2008.

Congdon has received no guarantees from the USC coaching staff about playing time, and he will have to compete to earn the starting spot and a scholarship.

Regarded as the top kicker in the class of 2005 by, Congdon led freshman kickers in field-goal accuracy...

...He led the team in scoring both years at Nebraska...
[Krikorian] Danelo details are not needed - Long Beach Press-Telegram
I'm going to shed my journalistic raiment for a moment, and admit I detested Tuesday seeing a story that appeared in this newspaper and others that detailed the blood-alcohol level of the late USC kicker, Mario Danelo.

Oh, I know the public has a right to know and that the Los Angeles County coroner by law had to reveal its findings, but one idly wonders if such information is so vital for all of us to know at a time when Danelo's parents - and so many other relatives and close friends - are still in serious mourning over his tragic death...

...As an editor countered, if we don't report such findings, then why even report his death in the first place?

Where does one draw the proverbial line, if one does exist?...

Also, Girlfriend: 'No one knew how happy' Danelo was - Daily Breeze
Girlfriend, brother rule out suicide - LA Daily News

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Muskegon's Johnson chooses Southern Cal - Detroit News
Michigan and Michigan State lost out on one of the state's top recruits Sunday because Ronald Johnson , an all-purpose back from Muskegon High, is headed west.

Johnson committed to Southern California, giving the Trojans another top recruit of the class of 2007.

Johnson is the state's No. 2 Blue Chip prospect...

...Johnson's decision ends what was a whirlwind week that included home visits by coaching staffs from Florida, USC, Ohio State and MSU. U-M was the fifth school Johnson seriously considered, but Johnson's mother, Miranda Johnson , requested the staff from U-M not make its visit...

Also, Inside the Ronald Johnson decision... - Detroit Free Press
Ronald Johnson following the sun - Muskegon Chronicle
Top-ranked recruit picks USC - Lansing State Journal
Mr. Smith, Husband, Football Legend - KOMU-TV [Columbia, Mo.]
...Football fans might remember him as a long time Tiger assistant coach, but before that, Harry Smith was a college football legend...

...It all started at Southern Cal in 1936. "It's a real honor for them to accept me. I worked for it for a long time," he said.

Smith played both offensive and defensive line on the 1939 undefeated Rose Bowl Championship team, but it took 65 years for USC to give Harry his ring. "We finally got recognized by the University. My son and I went out there before the California football game. So we got that ring from the athletic director and had a real nice time," he said...
A 'first' at last, but we have barriers yet to break - Washington Times
...Football Hall of Famer Willie Wood, a native Washingtonian who played in the first two Super Bowls as a safety for the Green Bay Packers, said yesterday, "as a player, I couldn't even fathom this happening."

Mr. Wood, 71, said he was cheering for both coaches because "there was no way any of us could have lost, no matter who won." He likened the two head coaches to "civil rights guys without the rap."

When he was playing in the NFL, Mr. Wood said that there were blacks who could have been head coaches, and Sunday's historic game of "firsts" was "long overdue."

Though he starred as a quarterback at the University of Southern California, no NFL team drafted him...
Matthews' selection draws round of cheers - Houston Chronicle
He showed up to work every day, he worked hard and his work was special. Hall-of-Fame special.

Saturday, it all paid off.

In what was considered to be a foregone conclusion by many, former Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers/Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Bruce Matthews was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, making him the eighth former Oilers player to be so honored...

..."There has only been one player that I know of who has matched longevity and decorated success on the field and that would be Bruce Matthews," Adams said. "He played 19 years, earned 14 Pro Bowl selections and was a dominating player at his position...

Also, Thomas, Irvin, Matthews in '07's Hall class - Houston Chronicle
Former Titan Bruce Matthews elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame - Nashville Tennessean
Titans’ Matthews rewarded by Hall vote - Nashville City Paper
Matthews is top addition to Hall ballot - Chicago Sun-Times
Five Southland football players make national All-American list - LA Times
Five Southland athletes, including The Times' player of the year, Aaron Corp, were selected to the EA Sports All-American High School Football Team...

...Corp, the quarterback who led Orange Lutheran to a 14-1 record against the state's second-toughest schedule, passed for 2,745 yards and 21 touchdowns and rushed for 1,180 yards and 12 scores. A punter as well, he was chosen as a multi-purpose player on the 30-man squad. He will attend USC.

Two other USC recruits from the Southland were also named to the All-American team. Running back/linebacker Marc Tyler of Westlake Village Oaks Christian was an all-purpose selection, and Chris Galippo of Anaheim Servite was named at linebacker.

Also, Corp, Galippo picked to All-America team - OC Register
Father sees recruiting as a family affair - OC Register
Talent factory - OC Register
Blue chip recruits, high stakes game - San Diego Union-Tribune
Top recruits aren't always among top performers - San Diego Union-Tribune
QB switches from USC to ASU - Arizona Republic
Parade All-America Football Team - 2007 Roster - Parade Magazine
Morton is hired as an assistant - LA Times
John Morton, who has coached in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and the Oakland Raiders, will replace Lane Kiffin on USC's staff, Coach Pete Carroll said Monday.

Morton was an offensive assistant and passing game coach this season for the Saints. He will be the Trojans' receivers coach and passing game coordinator.

Morton, 37, worked for the Raiders for seven years... and was a member of the coaching staff in 2002-04. USC assistant head coach Steve Sarkisian was the Raiders' quarterbacks coach in 2004...

...Graduate assistant Yogi Roth, who last week accepted a job as an offensive assistant for the Raiders, also will remain on the Trojans' staff...

Also, Saints assistant joins USC football staff - LA Daily News
USC kicker was drunk at time of death - Daily Trojan
...USC kicker Mario Danelo had a blood-alcohol level of 0.23 percent...when he fell off a San Pedro cliff and died...

..."It is our opinion that there are unanswered questions as to why (Danelo) was out walking the cliffs in the early hours of the morning in the dark," Jeffrey Gutstadt, deputy medical examiner of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office, wrote in the report.

The report questioned Danelo's state of mind at the time of the incident, noting that he would have had to climb over a wall while under the influence of alcohol to get to a narrow strip of land before reaching the edge of the steep drop of about 150 feet.

Police ruled out foul play in the days following the body's discovery...

Also, Danelo was drunk when he plunged off cliff in SP - Daily Breeze
Report says Danelo drunk when he fell - LA Daily News
Kicker was drunk, report says - LA Times