Don't Mock the Mocks

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The 2016 Trojans have three players that the way-too-early 2017 NFL mock drafts have already targeted as potential first round picks. OT Zach Banner, WR JuJu Smith-Schuster and CB/WR Adoree' Jackson are all considered prime prospects for the next level, although Smith-Schuster and Jackson are still juniors, so they could opt to return to school after this season.

While so much can change in a year, here's what some mock drafts had to say about USC's star trio:

Senior OT Zach Banner

No. 15 to the Bengals (The Big Lead)
No. 16 to the Bills (SB Nation)
No. 23 to the Vikings (Bleacher Report)

Junior WR JuJu Smith-Schuster

No. 5 to the Titans (SB Nation)
No. 7 to the Titans (The Big Lead)
No. 21 to the Chiefs (CBS Sports)
No. 26 to the Bengals (Bleacher Report)

Junior CB/WR Adoree' Jackson

No. 11 to the Titans (SB Nation)
No. 18 to the Giants (CBS Sports)
No. 19 to the Panthers (The Big Lead)
No. 20 to the Raiders (Sports Illustrated)

What mom doesn't love diamonds as a gift on Mother's Day? Baseball diamonds that is. Join USC Baseball this Sunday (May 8) at 1 p.m. for a Mother's Day Brunch special ticket pack which includes two game tickets, brunch for two, a USC tote bag, O-P-I nail polish, an autographed poster and more! 

Crosstown Clinched

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crosstown-clinched.jpgUSC has clinched the 2015-16 BMW Crosstown Cup over UCLA! For the 10th time in 15 years, the Trojans defeated the Bruins in the annual head-to-head competition.

Click here for the full story.

The Trojans finished strong by besting the Bruins four times this past weekend, winning the annual dual meets in women's rowing and women's track & field, as well as topping UCLA in the Pac-12 men's golf and beach volleyball championships. While USC and UCLA baseball are set to square off May 13-15 and the Trojans and Bruins could meet in postseason play in several sports, UCLA cannot capture enough remaining events to make up the 45-point deficit.

Click here for the updated results and schedule.

"Congratulations to all of our student-athletes and coaches for their efforts and performances in helping USC claim its 10th SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup," said USC athletic director Pat Haden. "The USC-UCLA rivalry is the best in college athletics, with two universities of such noted academic and athletic excellence sharing the same city. This Crosstown Cup competition means so much to both schools and to our fans.  On behalf of Trojans everywhere, I am proud to say that USC is once again the Crosstown Cup champion."

2016 NFL Draft Recap

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USC added four more members to its record-setting fraternity of all-time NFL Draft picks this weekend, and seven Trojans received UDFA offers from six different teams. 

For our complete 2016 NFL Draft recap, check out our Slate site below:


Splitting Sunday

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For the third year in a row, the USC women's track & field team defeated UCLA at the annual dual meet held in Westwood on Sunday. The Women of Troy won 13 or 19 events and outscored the Bruins 97-66, while the men's team fell 103-60 and won eight events. The Trojan women have won eight of the last nine meetings with their crosstown rivals. 

"I'm proud of the team today, I loved the way they finished the meet," said USC Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith Gilbert. "We came in as underdogs on both sides and we came out on top for the women. We had great performances on the men's side and the women really stepped up and came through."

The women's team started the day strong and never looked back, with Tanya Sapa winning the Women of Troy's first event of the day with a mark of 55-7.75 in the shot put and the women's 4x400m relay team ending the meet with a winning time of 3:36.70. Jaide Stepter, Kendall Ellis and Cameron Pettigrew finished one, two, three in the 400m and Tynia Gaither, DeAnna Hill and Ellis later swept the 200m to give the Trojans a combined 18 points in just two events. Gather also won the 100m with a PR of 11.21 (+0.1) and Stepter also finished first in the 400m IH.

On the men's side, sophomore Adoree' Jackson led the way, winning the long jump, the 100m and running the final leg in the victorious 4x100m relay. Ricky Morgan, who ran the second leg of the relay, won the 400m race in 46.32 as the only Trojan in the event. Diego Lopez and Nathan Bultman won the javelin and hammer throw, respectively, scoring 10 points for the Trojan men in the field. 

Next up, the USC men's and women's track & field teams will prepare for the Pac-12 Championships. The Multi-Events Championships will be held in Seattle Washington on May 7 and 8 while the Pac-12 Championships will be held in Seattle on May 14 and 15. Be sure to follow @USC_Track_Field to stay up to date on all postseason track news. 

Check out all the John McGillen photos from the annual dual meet...

Adoree' Knows Track

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This spring, sophomore dual-sport star Adoree' Jackson elected to focus exclusively on his track & field pursuits, taking the spring season off from football to focus on making the Olympic Trials. It's evident after this weekend that his choice is paying off, at least as far as USC Director of Track & Field Caryl Smith-Gilbert is concerned.

In USC and UCLA's annual dual meet on Sunday, Jackson won the long jump, 100m and 4x100m relay (along with fellow USC football players Ronald Jones II and Dominic Davis) and placed second in the 200m, single-handedly scoring 13 points for USC and helping the Trojans earn five more in the relay. 

His 10.38 in the 100m was a personal record, the men's relay time of 39.89 was a season best, but despite winning the long jump with a mark of 25-4.75, Jackson told Lindsey Thiry of the LA Times he was unsatisfied with his performance. With the final regular season meet now behind him, Jackson's full focus is on finishing the year strong enough in the Pac-12 and NCAA Championships to qualify for the Olympic Trials. The top 24 long jumpers in the country will qualify, and the sophomore can also earn a trip to Eugene with a mark of 26-5. 

"I'm not even worried about that," Jackson told Thiry. "At the end of the day you just got to go out there and compete and let it come to you. ...That's why I'm being patient and the mark is going to come."

Grand Slam Weekend

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Having lost the first game of the series and locked in a one-run battle, senior A.J. Ramirez belted a grand slam to turn USC baseball's fortunes around, galvanizing an 8-5 win on Friday followed by a 5-2 victory on Saturday. The Trojans took two out of three from No. 24 Arizona to improve to 9-9 in Pac-12 play, moving into a fifth place tie in the conference standings.

Click here for the series recap.

Ramirez now leads USC with 8 home runs and 35 RBI, but Timmy Robinson (7 HR and 34 RBI) and Jeremy Martinez (5 HR and 34 RBI) follow closely behind. Robinson delivered a clutch two-run single before Ramirez's grand slam, and Martinez keyed USC's offense with three hits in Saturday's win.

USC has another three-game home series this week to keep the momentum going. The Trojans will host Washington on Friday (6 p.m.), Saturday (6 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.) at Dedeaux Field.

Carrying the 6

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor

When DeMar DeRozan was drafted by the Toronto Raptors out of USC with the ninth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, he was joining a team that had won just 33 games the year before. After winning 22 games in his only season with the Trojans, joining a losing franchise was an adjustment in itself.

In the seven years since, DeRozan has seen franchise players Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani leave, passing the torch onto No. 10. DeRozan has felt the pressure of an entire city, and in fact an entire country, that had not won a playoff series since 2001.

After losing a heartbreaking Game 7 at home in 2014 to the Brooklyn Nets and an embarrassing sweep to the Washington Wizards last year, 2016 was more or less "now or never" for Toronto and DeRozan.

Following an impressive franchise-record 56 wins, and a back-and-forth battle with Paul George and the Indiana Pacers, DeRozan finally helped gift the city of Toronto a playoff series victory. On Sunday, the Raptors clinched the series with an 89-84 win at home, much in thanks to the USC alum's game-high 30 points.

DeRozan played a game-high 40 minutes for Toronto and was all over the box score with five rebounds, two assists, three steals and two blocks. With the Miami Heat up next for DeRozan and "the 6," a lot more responsibility will fall on his shoulders as Toronto chases their first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since 2001.

Trojans Finish Fifth

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Written by Max Holm, USC blog contributor 

USC_Golf_North_rach_7033.jpgThe 2016 Pac-12 Championships concluded this weekend for USC's men's golf, as the Trojans placed fifth. No. 2 USC came into the fourth round 2-over and solidly in third place. They trailed just Stanford and California heading into the final round of play on Sunday in Utah.

Despite a strong showing through three rounds, the Trojans hit some rough patches on Sunday, but were able to finish in the Top 5. Rico Hoey led the way, finishing the weekend at even par 284 (70-70-72-72), which landed him in a tie for 11th.

There was another bright spot for the Trojans as UCLA finished behind them in the Pac-12 Tournament,  collecting 10 points in the SoCal BMW Crosstown Cup, which USC officially clinched this weekend.

With the Pac-12 Championships over, the Trojans will turn their attention to the NCAA Regional Championships in hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. The Regional Championships will take place May 16-18 at a location to be determined later.

Making History

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One year ago today, the USC women's lacrosse team awaited its postseason fate, hoping for an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history after finishing second in the 2015 MPSF Tournament. Their eventual bid and first round victory were momentous for a program just three years in existence. 

One year later, the Women of Troy have surpassed all expectations once again, winning the program's first-ever MPSF Title on Sunday and extending their undefeated streak to 19 games to earn an automatic bid to the 2016 NCAA Tournament. With an 8-5 win over Stanford, No. 5 USC tied the conference record for most wins in a single season and became the first team in league history to finish both the regular season and MPSF Tournament undefeated. 

In another offensive onslaught, the Women of Troy outshot the Cardinal, 27-16, led by junior attacked Michaela Michael who scored her 25th hat trick of her career with five draw controls. MPSF Player of the Year senior captain Courtney Tarleton caused two turnovers en route to earning tournament MVP honors. Tarleton, along with Caroline deLyra, Kelsey Dryer and Amanda Johansen, also secured a spot on the MPSF All-Tournament team.

The Women of Troy now wait, once again, to hear the specifics on their NCAA postseason plans, but this time their appearance in the 26-team tournament is guaranteed. Selections will be announced on on Sunday, May 8 at 6 p.m. PT. The tournament begins the weekend of May 13 and will conclude the weekend of May 27 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

Be sure to follow @USCTrojansLAX for in-game updates, photos and more all postseason long. 

Check out the highlights from the 2016 MPSF Championship game...