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In what is the year of the running back in the Golden State next fall, one player often overlooked is Birmingham (Van Nuys, Calif.) standout Trajuan Briggs. Briggs recently picked up his first offer and has a host of schools looking at him.
Briggs, 5-10, 190 pounds had big shoes to fill a year ago after the departure of running back Milton Knox, arguably the top player the school has ever produced.
"He did a great job for us," former Birmingham coach Ed Croson said. "He's bigger and faster than Milton was and just a tough, physical player. Now is he going to be as good a player as Milton? I'm not sure, Milton was special, but Briggs is a talented kid for sure and will be a very good player at the next level."
Cal was the first school to offer Briggs and don't expect the Bears to be the last.
"I was very excited to be offered by Cal," Briggs said. "It's always good to get that first offer and to have be from a great school like Cal meant a lot. They run the ball very well, are great academically and I like the coaches as well.
"I'm going to Cal's Junior Day this weekend and I was at USC for their Junior Day last week and that was real cool. I'm going to UCLA's Junior Day in March and I'm also talking with Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon and Arizona."Will Parker stay local or leave the state?
It's going to be an interesting recruitment for defensive back Sean Parker (Harbor City, Calif./ Narbonne). Parker said he always planned to go away for college but he has now opened the door to possibly staying local to play his college ball.
Parker, arguably the top safety in the West this year, is picking up new offers by the day. USC offered last Friday and that followed recent offers from Penn State, and Georgia. Notre Dame, Michigan, Cal, Stanford, Arizona, Oregon and Colorado are just a few others that have offered.
Parker attended the Trojans Junior Day over the weekend and said he's definitely going to give USC a strong look.
"I'm definitely open to playing close to home now," Parker said. "It's not just USC though, I like Cal and Stanford too. UCLA is the only in-state school that hasn't offered and I would be interested in them as well but I do like USC a lot.
"Just being around the players and coaches on Saturday was incredible. They have so much energy and you get fired up being around them. They have a great football program and who wouldn't want to be a part of a team like that. I'm going to take my trips but right now, I would say it's 50-50 if I stay in-state and before it was more like 90-10."
Parker said he doesn't think he'll use an official visit on USC since it's so close and said three schools will for sure get visits at this time.
"Stanford, Notre Dame and Penn State, I'll visit those three," Parker said. "I don't think I'll take more than that because I'm doing basketball and the visits can get tiring but I know I want to check out those three for sure and then I'll just go from there."Thomas talks Junior Day, new offer
Valhalla (El Cajon, Calif.) quarterback Pete Thomas attended USC's Junior Day over the weekend. The signal caller didn't pick up an offer from the Trojans but did land his first Pac 10 offer the day before from an unlikely source.
Thomas took in Junior Day with his parents and said everyone had a great time in Los Angeles.
"I've always liked USC a lot but my parents really liked it," Thomas said. "I think the trip really opened their eyes about the school and we all learned a lot.
"I spent a lot of time with Coach Morton and the new quarterback coach, Coach Bates. Coach Morton told me I'm still the quarterback at the top of their board and an offer could come any time. Coach Bates is still new to the staff so I think they want him to evaluate the guys and see who he likes before they offer anyone and that's fine with me.
"The vibe you get from being at USC is just crazy. The coaches get you so fired up that I was almost getting goose bumps a couple of times. They really inspire you and it's such a close knit group there and I love how everyone is like a family."
Thomas had offers from Boston College, Maryland and Northwestern and on Friday, picked up an offer from Arizona State.
"Yeah, ASU was kind of out of the blue," Thomas said. "I heard I wasn't high on their list and I wasn't receiving any letters or anything. Then I talked with Coach Yarber and he said they just watched my junior film and liked it a lot so they decided to offer.
"I was very excited and will definitely be visiting ASU this Spring. I couldn't make it to UCLA on Sunday like I wanted to but I'm going to their Junior Day in March. I'm also going back East in April and will check out Maryland and North Carolina State so I have a pretty busy schedule right now but it's exciting at the same time."Florida LB looking West
If you're looking for next year's version of linebacker Vontaze Burfict (Corona, Calif./ Centennial), make sure to check out hitting machine Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, Fla./ Treasure Coast).
Burfict was arguably the most physical linebacker in the nation last year. He didn't just hit you, he tried to take you out of the game and run right through you. He played with an edge that made it very uncomfortable to play against and you had to always keep your head on a swivel or the next play could be your last.
Luc plays with that same nastiness and all you need to do is watch the first three plays of his highlight tape to see what an impressive talent he is. Luc may not have the overall athleticism of the future Sun Devil, but he brings the same hitting ability and tough, aggressive play.
"In the last two weeks, everyone has been offering him," Treasure Coast coach Aaron Sheppard said. "USC, North Carolina, Georgia, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Southern Miss all offered last week.
"Florida and Miami offered the week before. He is already a very good player but he has a real chance to be special down the line."
As a junior, Luc earned third team all-state honors after totaling 112 tackles, nine sacks and five forced fumbles.
"I don't plan to make an early commitment anywhere, I want to go through the recruiting process," Luc said. "Right now, I like Florida, Miami, Florida State, Texas and USC.
"This is the biggest decision of my life so I really want to check out all my options before I decide on a school. I went to Florida's Junior Day and will also be going to the NIKE Camp at Miami."West Notes
• Defensive tackle George Uko (Chino, Calif./ Don Lugo) picked up a new offer from Arizona State. Nebraska and Oregon had previously offered the talented lineman.
• Cecil Whiteside (Newport Beach, Calif./ Newport Harbor) told us he received a verbal offer from Notre Dame. The Irish are waiting for his SAT score to come in before putting the offering in writing. The linebacker said he plans to take the SAT in the summer.
• Oregon commit Curtis White (Eugene, Ore./ Sheldon) picked up offers from Cal and Oregon State. We talked to White's mother Amy who said despite the offers, White is 100% committed to the Ducks and is not looking around.
• CalHiSports.com all-state Underclass receiver Josh Harper landed his first offer from Nevada. Harper was the WR MVP at the NorCal NIKE Camp a year ago and is the son of former San Francisco 49er linebacker Willie Harper.
• Talented defensive tackle Ricky Heimuli (Salt Lake City, Utah./ Brighton) has offers from BYU and Utah. Heimuli had a strong showing at last year's NIKE Camp in Provo and will be among the top tackles in the West this year.
• La Habra (Calif.) running back Joshua Quezada, an all-Orange County selection a year ago, has his first offer from Fresno State. Quezada rushed for 1,680 yards and 17 touchdowns and averaged over 10 yards per carry as a junior.
• Washington and Colorado became the latest schools to offer Compton (Calif.) running back James McConico. Oregon, San Jose State, Arizona State and Nebraska had previously offered. McConico averaged almost 20 yards a carry last season rushing for 1,234 yards on just 62 carries with 14 touchdowns.