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 early enrollees expected to begin classes at USC this spring, beginning Monday and continuing through Friday.
No. 1 was safety Gerald Bowman, a product of nearby Pierce College. No. 2 is defensive end Morgan Breslin of Diablo Valley College.
Breslin is a pass-rusher by nature who needs to bulk up to effectively play on the defensive line at the major-college level. But he has a good amount of potential as a pure pass rusher and could be a nice player to have in the rotation over the next few years.
A two-year starter at Diablo Valley up north, Breslin is not yet on campus at USC but is believed to be arriving sometime this week. He is precisely the type of player who can benefit most from a semester in the strength and conditioning program before the fall, and the Trojans clearly see some potential him to be available as a reserve in 2012. Nick Perry's gone to the NFL, and Armond Armstead is unlikely to return to USC, so there are depth issues on the outside of the defensive line.
But once seniors-to-be Devon Kennard and Wes Horton finish their USC careers, it'll be players like Breslin, Greg Townsend Jr. and Kevin Greene competing to replace them.
The 6-3, 245-pound Breslin led all of California's junior colleges in sacks each of the past two years, recording a combined 28 sacks. He played high school football in Walnut Creek -- the home of the Pac-12 offices, incidentally -- and also played rugby.
He's another example of a player who was committed to another school until USC saw him and started heavily recruiting him. Breslin was all set to enroll at UCLA this spring until Trojans recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron saw him on film and then gave him the hard sell.
Breslin is one of two defensive ends USC is currently bringing in, with Pio Vatuvei the other. Chad Wheeler, another early enrollee we're profiling later this week, could also play end in college but was recruited as an offensive tackle by most schools.
Check back Wednesday for our profile of Scott Starr.