With the spring semester at USC beginning Monday, five of the Trojans' class of 2012 recruits are expected to begin taking classes this week or next: safety Gerald Bowman, defensive end Morgan Breslin, linebacker Scott Starr, offensive tackle Chad Wheeler and defensive end DeVante Wilson.
Going along with our end-of-year lists that looked at the top performers from the 2011 season and the top questions facing USC in 2012, we're now profiling each of the five players, beginning Monday and continuing through Friday. Here's No. 1, Bowman, a product of nearby Pierce College.
Bowman's the most college-ready of any of the five players USC's been bringing in, and will probably be the most college-ready of anybody in USC's entire 20-person recruiting class. He could start at a number of schools across the country next year, and he probably was going to start for the Trojans if T.J. McDonald declared early for the NFL draft.
But McDonald will be back in 2012, as will his counterpart at safety, senior Jawanza Starling. Those two will have those spots fairly locked down. Bowman, then, becomes one-half of the Trojans' safety combination of the future with junior Demetrius Wright, who once challenged Starling for his spot but fell behind because of injuries.
The only problem: He's not officially in school yet, still needing to finish winter inter-session classes up at a local school in the interim to meet all the qualification requirements at USC. The deadline to begin attending spring-semester classes at USC is Jan. 27, giving him about two and a half weeks to get everything arranged.
If he does, he'll be able to participate in team meetings and workouts immediately. If he doesn't, he'll still be a 2012 recruit but will be set back quite a bit as a juco player. A redshirt would be a real possibility if he didn't get to USC until the summer, as he does have three years to play two.
Bowman took a roundabout route to end up in Southern California after going to high school in Philadelphia. Now some recruiting services' No. 1-ranked junior college player, he clearly has the speed and size to succeed at the position. He's 6-1 and 210 pounds and reportedly runs a 4.45 40-yard dash. His ball-hawking instincts could use work, but he consistently plays aggressively on film, showing a McDonald-like tendency to step up to ballcarriers and knock them back.
Check back Tuesday for our profile of Breslin, the other junior-college player of the five.