ANAHEIM, Calif. - Saturday's Rivals.com Five-Star Academy in the Golden State will be a golden opportunity for Rivals.com to eyeball some of the top talent in California for the class of 2009.
And don't be surprised if a lot of that top talent at Saturday's event at Anaheim Servite High School will be decked out in USC gear. The Trojans already have eight commitments for the class of 2009 and almost all of those players will be at the event Saturday.
Star receiver Randall Carroll, who is ranked as the No. 63 player in the nation and one of those early Trojan pledges, will be on hand from Los Angeles Cathedral. It'll be interesting to see if he measures in at his current listing in the 5-foot-11, 175-pound range.
Also expect, four-star tight end and USC commit Morrell Presley of Carson, Calif., to be there. He was one of the most impressive players at the U.S. Army All-America Combine, and he's already ranked as the No. 77 player in the nation. Other Trojan pledges that are expected to attend the event are Kevin Graf, a four-star offensive lineman from Agoura, Calif., De'Von Flournoy of Van Nuys, Calif., linebacker Marquis Simmons of Compton, Calif., and four-star athlete Patrick Hall of Ventura, Calif.
There's also a chance the No. 1 player in the country, Matt Barkley of Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, will be in attendance. Barkley measured in at 6-foot-2.3 and 222 pounds at last year's Five-Star Academy at Servite, but since then has grown another 2 inches.
Not far behind Barkley in the Rivals100 for 2009 is Oxnard (Calif.) Santa Clara five-star running back Cierre Wood, and after showing up last year at the event he's expected again. Wood, who recently added new offers from Texas A&M, Florida, Notre Dame, Oregon and others, is ranked as the nation's No. 3 player. It'll be interesting to talk to Wood and see how the slew of early offers will affect the recruiting process for him.
Corona (Calif.) Centennial four-star linebacker Vontaze Burfict is also expected on Saturday. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder is already ranked as the No. 19 player in the nation. Another talented Californian in the top 100 that will be there is Inglewood, Calif., receiver Shaquelle Evans. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Evans is ranked as the No. 60 player overall.
There should be a strong contingent from San Diego as San Diego Cathedral Catholic four-star running back Tyler Gaffney should be in attendance. It'll be the first time that Rivlas.com has been able to eyeball him in person, and it should be a good opportunity to see how he passes the eyeball test. Another top San Diego star that'll be there is athlete James Johnson of Valley Center, Calif. As a junior, Johnson led San Diego county with 1,582 receiving yards. He also had 74 receptions and 18 touchdowns from his wide receiver position. His performance saw him earn first-team San Diego Section all-CIF. Though he didn't thrown at much as a junior, he still picked off three passes. The word got out about Johnson as he was a first-team San Diego Section all-CIF defensive back his sophomore season.
A big group from the Inland Empire is also expected, including star quarterbacks Josh Nunes of Upland, Calif., and Richard Brehaut of Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos.
Every year the Five-Star Academy in Los Angeles is always one of the biggest and most talented groups in the nation and from the looks of it, that won't change after Saturday.