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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Southern California
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  Shawn Seaman has seen Kedon Slovis throw countless passes since taking him on as a budding sixth-grade quarterback. But when they started throwing sessions last spring, Seaman preferred to go slow with his star pupil's arm. Just three months earlier, Slovis had suffered an elbow injury from overtaxing that right arm; it was no exaggeration to suggest USC's season rested on its recovery. As they gathered at a park near the quarterback's home in Arizona, Slovis kept pushing it. His arm, he told Seaman, had never felt better. The coach could see for himself. Physically, Slovis had never looked bigger. There was an extra zip on his passes. "The ball was just popping out of his hand," Seaman said. So much so that the primary target of Slovis' passes - his father, Max - wore through a pair of receiver gloves.

Through three games of his sophomore season at USC, that extra pop hasn't always been palpable. Some passes have wobbled. Others have been off-target or thrown into danger, leading some to wonder if something isn't quite right with his arm. But Seaman, who works as an electrical engineer by day, is incredulous of any such suggestion. Slovis' elbow, Seaman says, is fine. So are his mechanics. And his confidence. And any other aspect of his game offered up as reasoning for a less-than-sharp start. Southern California linebacker Kana'i Mauga (26) reacts after making a tackle during the first half. "What I've seen looked pretty normal," Seaman said. "I didn't see anything that would make me concerned at all. I just think people have latched onto something, and it's much ado about nothing." It appears that way on paper. Slovis has completed 70.7% of his passes through three games, one percentage point behind his rate from last season but still good enough for sixth-best in the nation. Only seven quarterbacks are throwing for more yards per game than Slovis' 323.3. - Los Angeles Times


(DS#2 QB) So/2023 QB Kedon SlovisSouthern California
News Source: Los Angeles Times
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  Marlon Tuipulotu continued his monster season in the first half of USC's game against Utah Saturday night. On first-and-10 from the Utah 15 early in the second quarter, the senior defensive tackle shoved aside his blocker, got past the man and swallowed up Utah quarterback Cameron Rising. Tuipulotu punched the football loose, and defensive lineman Connor Murphy jumped on it at the Utah 4. The turnover led to a Vavae Malepeai touchdown run two plays later, the senior running back's second score of the season.

Tuipulotu has stepped up in a big way since fellow defensive tackle Jay Tufele opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft. Tuipulotu had eight tackles in each of the first two games this season, leading the Trojans in the category through two weeks. His strip sack on Saturday was one of three forced turnovers by the Trojans in the first half. Outside linebacker Drake Jackson intercepted a pass in the first quarter, then safety Isaiah Pola-Mao jumped on a botched hand-off to give USC its second fumble recovery. - Orange County Register


(DS#8 DT) rJr/2022 DT Marlon TuipulotuSouthern California
News Source: Orange County Register
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  Kenan Christon had made just three total carries this season when he took a third-quarter handoff Saturday, broke through to the second level and was off to the races. The sophomore speedster sprinted 47 yards before he was finally caught - long enough to remind everyone of the breakaway speed he used to burst onto the scene last season. "He's been waiting for that moment, to have that chance to make that big play," Helton said. "As soon as he took off, I thought, oh gosh, I thought he was gone." - Los Angeles Times

(DS#18 RB) So/2023 RB Kenan ChristonSouthern California
News Source: Los Angeles Times
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  Sophomore cornerback Chris Steele has been called for four personal fouls in the first two games of the season, causing the USC defense to stay on the field for extended drives. It's really the only nit to pick with Steele's play this year, as teams have tended not to throw in his direction. And Orlando doesn't want to see Steele change his approach to the game to avoid flags.

Instead, he wants to coach Steele up on what officials will look for, and to make him understand that opposing coaches will try to make officials aware of Steele's history pregame. "You just try to show him how things are going to be called. You want guys to be aggressive. It's hard. If you get too much into a corner's head and make him soft you'll never get that back," Orlando said. "So all we're doing right now is be aggressive but understand if that head's not back toward the football that's going to get called, if you get a little bit too handsy that's going to get called." - Orange County Register


(DS#15 CB) So/2023 CB Chris SteeleSouthern California
News Source: Orange County Register
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  Munir McClain, the suspended receiver at the center of a federal probe over pandemic unemployment benefits, and his brother, linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain, are leaving USC and will enter the NCAA transfer portal. The decision comes after a tumultuous few months that fractured the family's relationship with USC. In mid-September, Munir McClain was suspended from the football team with minimal explanation. Michael Blanton, USC's vice president of ethics and professionalism, later told his mother, Shan McClain, that Munir's name came up in conjunction with a complaint alleging unemployment fraud and identity theft at USC. A month later, federal investigators approached players on campus and asked about the sophomore. Munir McClain, who applied for and received pandemic unemployment assistance over the summer, maintains that he's done nothing wrong and that USC has yet to provide a full explanation for his suspension. - Los Angeles Times

(DS#999 WR) So/2023 WR Munir McClainSouthern California
News Source: Los Angeles Times
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  The great Southern California teams were known for their confidence. On the road against Utah, these Trojans took another step toward restoring the program's past glory. "We played with a swagger tonight, especially on defense," coach Clay Helton said. Kedon Slovis threw for two touchdowns and No. 20 USC smothered Utah in a 33-17 victory Saturday. Slovis completed 24 of 35 passes for 264 yards for USC (3-0, 3-0 Pac-12), but the Trojans' defense took centerstage, forcing five turnovers to stay undefeated and move into pole position for the Pac-12 South title.

"All week, our guys talked about playing like this was a bar fight. We played with a lot of viciousness and everyone was zeroed in," linebacker Kana'I Mauga said. USC's game plan from the outset was to stop Utah's ground game. "At all costs, stop the run," Helton said. "Once we did that, our pass rush forced throws that were interceptions, got sacks and fumbles. We were in the backfield all night." Utah (0-1, 0-1) was the final major conference team to make its 2020 debut after coronavirus cases scuttled its first two scheduled games of an already-delayed season. - Southern California/AP College Football


(DS#2 QB) So/2023 QB Kedon SlovisSouthern California
News Source: Southern California/AP College Football
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  Vavae Malepeai bulled his way through multiple tacklers for an 8-yard touchdown run with 25 seconds left, and No. 20 Southern California beat Arizona 34-30 on Saturday with another late rally. USC (2-0, 2-0 Pac-12) was outplayed by Arizona State last week before scoring two touchdowns in the final three minutes to win 28-27. The Trojans again had two late scoring drives to win a game they were outplayed in for most of the afternoon.

Kevon Slovis hit Erik Krommenhoek on a 6-yard touchdown, but Arizona (0-1, 0-1) marched quickly down the field for a 6-yard touchdown pass from Grant Gunnell from Stanley Berryhill III with 1:20 left. Slovis, off target early, completed four straight passes for 68 yards and Malepeai capped the 75-yard drive by carrying several Arizona defenders with him into the end zone. Slovis threw for 325 yards and a touchdown on 30-of-43 passing. Gunnell threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns for Arizona, which played its first game in nearly a year after last week's opener against Utah was canceled due to the coronavirus. - AP College Football


(DS#2 QB) So/2023 QB Kedon SlovisSouthern California
News Source: AP College Football
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  NOV 9 PAC-12 DEFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Marlon Tuipulotu, R-Jr., DT, USC (Independence, Ore.),...In the season-opener against Arizona State, Tuipulotu had eight tackles, including two for losses with the game's only sack against Sun Devils' QB Jayden Daniels. Also nominated: Mustafa Johnson, DL, Colorado; Brennan Jackson, E, Washington State. - Pac-12 Football

(DS#8 DT) rJr/2022 DT Marlon TuipulotuSouthern California
News Source: Pac-12 Football
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  After two years of waiting marked by a mysterious illness and a winding transfer saga, Bru McCoy was due a break. As it turned out, in his long-awaited debut Saturday for USC, he'd get two. Both of which would be crucial in securing a 28-27 comeback victory over Arizona State. The redshirt freshman wideout caught only two passes for 19 yards before the Trojans faced a fourth-and-13 with fewer than three minutes remaining. McCoy wasn't even the target when quarterback Kedon Slovis uncorked a throw toward the left corner of the end zone, knowing a penalty flag for offside against Arizona State had already been thrown. The target of that throw, Amon-ra St. Brown, was blanketed by defenders. But he managed to tip the ball into the air. Nearby, McCoy was conveniently waiting. As the ball fluttered in the air, McCoy snagged it. Then, he threw his arms up in celebration.

"It felt great," McCoy said. "More than anything, just happy to be out there, happy to help the team get a big win. It's been a long time since I've been able to play a game, so there were a lot of jitters heading into the game." But those jitters were well behind him when, immediately after his touchdown catch, the freshman was among the Trojans sent to recover a desperation onside kick. McCoy had never practiced onside coverage before. When freshman kicker Parker Lewis delivered a perfect attempt on his first-ever try, McCoy thought he'd messed up his assignment. "I thought I could attack the ball," McCoy said. "I was kind of waiting for that big one up to jump up and go get it, but it stayed low. It kind of fell inside and I was staring at the ball the whole time." - Los Angeles Times


(DS#4 WR) rFr/2024 WR Bru McCoySouthern California
News Source: Los Angeles Times
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  Drake London caught a 21-yard touchdown pass with 1:20 to play, and No. 20 Southern California rallied from a late 13-point deficit for a 28-27 victory over Arizona State on Saturday in the Pac-12's long-delayed season opener. Bru McCoy caught a deflected 26-yard TD pass with 2:52 left for the Trojans (1-0), and Max Williams recovered the onside kick. On fourth and 9, Kedon Slovis fired a pass down the middle to London, and the two-sport athlete beat double coverage to haul it in for an electrifying score.

USC's defense then stopped Arizona State (0-1) on downs near midfield with 50 seconds left to preserve an astonishing comeback for perpetually embattled coach Clay Helton's team. Until their rally, the Trojans were struggling through a game that began at 9 a.m. USC agreed to its earliest kickoff in at least 70 years for a national television audience, but it looked like another embarrassment for Helton and his Trojans - before it abruptly turned into a thrilling triumph. Slovis passed for 381 yards for USC, while Stephen Carr and Markese Stepp made scoring runs in the first half. London also caught eight passes for 125 yards, but the Trojans seemed finished after they committed three turnovers and turned the ball over on downs two more times - all inside ASU territory. - AP College Football


(DS#5 WR) So/2023 WR Drake LondonSouthern California
News Source: AP College Football
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  Kedon Slovis won't catch anybody by surprise the second time around at Southern California. And it's not just because the unassuming quarterback who took the Pac-12 by storm last year is a whole lot harder to miss now with his extra 15 pounds of muscle. "He went from a young man to a grown man in a year," USC coach Clay Helton said with a smile. Slovis is becoming more than the unheralded teenager who produced the best season by a freshman quarterback in USC's voluminous history last fall. When the No. 20 Trojans finally begin their regular season Saturday morning at the Coliseum against Arizona State, Slovis carries both the weight of his responsibilities and the heavy expectations that gather on this program's best players.

His enlarged frame makes the burden look lighter - and you'd never know it anyway from Slovis' perpetually cool demeanor. "We just want to give our guys the opportunity to make plays, and it starts with me," Slovis said. "That's really the most I can do at this point, and what I'm focused on." Slovis projects a calm belying his 18 years, but he spent the extra-long offseason lifting weights, eating well, poring over video and assuming a greater leadership role. All kinds of tangible growth has happened since his impressive debut season ended with an injury in the Trojans' loss to Iowa in the Holiday Bowl, according to the coaches most responsible for guiding his journey. - AP College Football


(DS#2 QB) So/2023 QB Kedon SlovisSouthern California
News Source: AP College Football
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  Slovis was an unexpected surprise, earning Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year honors after stepping in for starter J.T Daniels who was injured in the season opener. Slovis, who graduated from Scottsdale Desert Mountain, threw for 3,502 yards and 30 touchdowns with nine interceptions and was so good that Daniels decided to hit the transfer portal rather than return to Troy. - Arizona Republic

(DS#2 QB) So/2023 QB Kedon SlovisSouthern California
News Source: Arizona Republic
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  The redshirt freshman's journey to actually suiting up on a Saturday has been a long one. He enrolled at USC early out of Mater Dei High, then transferred to Texas later that month. But before the summer, McCoy had transferred back from Austin to Los Angeles. He never played in a game as a true freshman, though, because he did not apply for a waiver from the NCAA and because of a fever that kept him off the practice field until USC's bowl preparations. McCoy can finally play in 2020, and the hype around the former five-star recruit has been big during training camp. Coaches have raved about his play. Defensive backs have talked about what a tough cover he is in practice. There are a lot of bodies for USC at receiver, but as Drake London showed last year, a freshman can earn his spot in the rotation and then some. - Orange County Register

(DS#4 WR) rFr/2024 WR Bru McCoySouthern California
News Source: Orange County Register
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  USC wide receiver Munir McClain was on his way to an early morning workout Sept. 18 when he was told that coach Clay Helton needed to speak with him in his office. Two days earlier, Michael Blanton, USC's vice president of professionalism and ethics, had called McClain to question what he knew about unemployment benefits from California's Employment Development Department. Their conversation took place over two phone calls, and McClain went to physical therapy in between. In his office that Friday morning, Helton informed the sophomore wide receiver that he was being suspended. McClain still would be able to attend class, receive stipends and meals, rehabilitate his surgically repaired anterior cruciate ligament, and receive coronavirus testing from the university. But he would remain away from the football team until further notice.

A month later, two federal agents were at McClain's dormitory door and subpoenas were being issued for other USC football players in conjunction with a federal fraud probe. But as questions swirled around the nature of that investigation and McClain's role in the eyes of investigators, the specific cause for his suspension from USC's football team remains unclear. In a news conference in front of Galen Center on Sunday, his mother, Shan McClain, and Najee Ali, a local civil rights activist, said that no specific explanation had been given. - Los Angeles Times


(DS#999 WR) So/2023 WR Munir McClainSouthern California
News Source: Los Angeles Times
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  Coach Clay Helton said Monday that Carr has had "his best camp to date," while Jinks was similarly effusive in his praise of the senior all-purpose back. "He looks as good as he's ever been since I've been here," Jinks said. Over the previous two seasons, Carr never quite matched the standard he set in the first month of his freshman year, when he averaged 107 total yards per game and scored three times. He's equaled that yardage just three times and added eight touchdowns in the 25 games since. But as practices turned to full pads last week, coaches say they've seen a different version of Carr, one that dances less at the line of scrimmage and welcomes more contact in between the tackles. Both Jinks and Helton said Carr "set the tone" with his physicality during the first full-contact practice. "I just want to be more physical this year," Carr said. "That's really the only thing on my mind. The college world has seen a lot of what I can do when it comes to catching the ball out of the backfield, making people miss." A healthy hamstring should help on both accounts. After that injury sapped some of Carr's trademark explosiveness last year, Jinks said the senior added five or six inches to his vertical leap this offseason. That burst isn't the only mark of his improvement. Carr said he spent the offseason studying tape of Ronald Jones II, the former Trojans back starting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and still watches clips of him before some practices. Mentally, Carr said, he's never felt more prepared. - Los Angeles Times

(DS#29 RB) Sr/2021 RB Stephen CarrSouthern California
News Source: Los Angeles Times
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