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C.J. Pollard follows parents' footsteps to USC

The Trojan family didn’t need to look far for its latest commitment at The Opening when ESPN 300 defensive back C.J. Pollard announced on Thursday that he would be attending USC.

Pollard’s father, Marvin, played in the secondary for the Trojans in the late 1980s, and his mother also attended USC. So the speculation throughout the recruiting process was C.J. eventually would follow in those footsteps. Pollard made it official during the ESPNU broadcast from the event.

“This is an opportunity to chase my dream,” Pollard said of his decision to play for the Trojans. “I share this with my parents, my family, my coaches and my teammates, everyone who has helped me get to this point.”

USC will be getting a versatile defensive back, one who is known more as a safety with his 6-foot-1, 185-pound frame. But he can play corner if needed. Trojans coach Steve Sarkisian has placed a priority on getting safeties who also possess cover skills with so many varied offenses that feature multiple receivers.

Pollard plays for Gardena (California) Serra, a school that has sent players such as Robert Woods, Marqise Lee and Adoree’ Jackson to USC in recent years. Marvin Pollard coaches the secondary at Serra. C.J. chose the Trojans over offers from Arizona State, Michigan, Oregon, Notre Dame and others.

The Trojans now have 15 commitments for the Class of 2016, including 10 members of the ESPN 300. Pollard is the first full-time defensive back in the class although athlete Melquise Stovall could end up as a corner as well. USC is ranked No. 7 in the ESPN recruiting class rankings.

* USC wide receiver verbal Josh Imatorbhebhe did not take part in the 7-on-7 sessions Thursday at The Opening after pulling up during a 40-yard run during testing earlier in the week with a right leg injury. But his performance in the initial testing drills was enough to create a buzz throughout the event. It started when Josh put up a 47-inch vertical leap and a 4.49 time in his first 40-yard dash attempt. The combination of those two marks, when considering Imatorbhehe is 6-2, 210 pounds, cemented his status as one of the more unique athletes in this class.

* Speaking of unique athletes, no player at the event has generated more buzz from his fellow competitors than cornerback Nigel Knott from Mississippi. Knott, who attended the recent USC Rising Stars Camp, has shown his aggressive cover skills during 7-on-7, but it was his blazing fast 4.38 40-time in the testing finals that really created a stir. On top of that, Knott went out and performed a backflip catch which was pretty amazing.

* One of the questions for USC fans coming into the event was how the local receiver targets would fare, specifically Tyler Vaughns, Trevon Sidney and Javon McKinley. Suffice to say, all three showed themselves very well in the first day of 7-on-7 action. Vaughns teamed with Stanford QB commit K.J. Costello to put on an impressive display early, while his Bishop Amat teammate Sidney also had a strong showing, and McKinley scored a game-winning touchdown that brought about a big celebration from his teammates.

* The Trojans have a pair of linebacker commits taking part at The Opening in Mique Juarez and Daelin Hayes, and they are being coached under the watchful eyes of two former linebackers who played the position fairly well at USC, three-time Super Bowl champion Willie McGinest and Butkus Award winner Chris Claiborne. Both McGinest and Claiborne raved about the natural athleticism of Juarez, while noting that Hayes wore jersey No. 55 at the event, which both players wore at USC as part of the tradition of talented Trojans linebackers to wear the number.