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Battle for L.A. heats up as USC lands Rasheem Green, John Houston

USC’s first recruiting class since the end of its NCAA sanctions stemming from the Reggie Bush era is wrapping up exactly as the Trojans hoped. Five-star high school teammates Rasheem Green and John Houston both committed to USC on Wednesday afternoon, adding to Tuesday’s pledge from linebacker Porter Gustin to give the Trojans three five-star recruits.

National Signing Day 2015 live blog: College football recruiting analysis

The Trojans entered Wednesday with the No. 2 recruiting class, according to, and the pair from Junipero Serra (Calif.) High -- the same school that produced USC’s two-way threat Adoree’ Jackson -- should cement that status. Green, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound defensive end, fills the void left by Leonard Williams perfectly. The elite Williams will be very tough to replace, but the No. 4 defensive end in this class will certainly cushion the blow. Houston, meanwhile, joins a loaded group of linebackers in the Trojans’ recruiting class. In addition to Gustin, USC will add four-stars Osa Masina and Cameron Smith. The Trojans lost leading tackler Hayes Pollard and exceptional pass rusher J.R. Tavai to graduation and could use the fresh talent at linebacker after not signing a single player in the position group last year.

With the influx of marquee recruits plus the return of several major contributors, including Jackson and star safety Su’a Cravens, USC should be set for a stellar defense as it seeks to reenter the national title landscape. Quarterback Cody Kessler’s decision to stay for his senior campaign leaves the offense in capable hands, creating plenty of room for excitement.

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USC’s crosstown rivals drew plenty of praise on Wednesday morning, as UCLA landed commitments from five-star tailback Soso Jamabo ands four-star prospects Chris Clark, Josh Wariboko and Roquan Smith. But the afternoon appears to belong to coach Steve Sarkisian and the Trojans. The battle for Los Angeles is shaping up to be wildly entertaining over the next few years.

ELLIS: Top recruit from Texas Soso Jamabo picks UCLA over Longhorns