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January 26, 2009

USC locks up top-ranked players in California

Postseason State Rankings:

While it won't go down as one of the best years in recent memory, there is still plenty of golden talent in the Golden State for the Class of 2009. And it's no surprise to see the Rivals.com California Postseason Top 100 dominated by USC.

The Trojans have commitments from nine of the top 25 players in the ranking, including all five of the top players in California.

Headlined by Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei quarterback Matt Barkley, the Trojans have further strengthened their hold on the top talent in the state. Barkley looks in line to be the next great signal caller for USC, five-star athlete Patrick Hall is a do-it-all type player that could star at both safety or receiver for the Trojans and safety T.J. McDonald should help keep the USC secondary among the best in the nation.

Barkley remains the state's No. 1 player, Hall checks in at No. 3 on the list and McDonald climbed all the way to No. 4 on the list after a great season and a strong effort in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

While the Trojans have pledges from linebacker Vontaze Burfict at No. 2 and athlete Randall Carroll at No. 5 in the rankings, they're having to fight off a host of other schools to keep the commitments. Burfict, a five-star linebacker from Corona (Calif.) Centennial, is reportedly torn between USC and Arizona State, and Carroll, a five-star athlete from Los Angeles Cathedral, is looking at other schools like UCLA, Arizona State, Cal and Oklahoma.

UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel has said landing top talent in California will be his top priority and this season the Bruins did a nice job. UCLA has scored commitments from five of the top 25 players in the state and 11 overall in the top 100.

The Bruins' top commit comes from Carson, Calif., four-star receiver Morrell Presley, who was at one point committed to USC. Presley, who is 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, is ranked as the state's No. 10 player. They've also secured their quarterback of the future with Richard Brehaut of Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos at No. 13 on the list. And UCLA's defensive backfield got a major infection of talent with Marlon Pollard at No. 16, Sheldon Price at No. 21 and Brandon Sermons at No. 28 all committed.

Mike Stoops' staff did a tremendous job in California this season, scoring seven commitments from top 100 players. Arizona, thanks largely to the efforts of Tim Kish, has really started to make a name for itself in the Inland Empire with impressive commits from Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde teammates Daniel Jenkins at No. 31 and Terrence Miller at No. 67.

Stanford also made a big mark on the list with six commits. The Cardinal have done a really nice job this year with five of those six commits coming from players ranked in the top 50. Oregon also did well, landing five of the top 100 and Arizona State scored three of the top 100.

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