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February 12, 2005Venice (Calif.) safety Jonas Mouton could be the West Coast's answer to Myron Rolle.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound junior is quietly becoming the most talked about recruit outside the Rivals100 pre-evaluation list. From Los Angeles to Starkville, Mouton's list of favorites is already beginning to take shape.
Mouton is a prototypical big-time safety prospect. Combining great size with uncanny quickness, Mouton starred for the Gondoliers as a safety, running back and receiver last season.
The Trojan Camp defensive back award winner and Western League Defensive MVP had five interceptions, 80 tackles and three sacks as a safety.
On offense, Mouton averaged almost 10-yards a carry as a running back and 20-yards a catch as a receiver. It's this versatility that has many college programs recruiting Mouton without a definite position in mind.
"All the schools that are recruiting me like me on both sides of the ball -- as an athlete," said Mouton. "But the ones that have offered mostly talk about me playing strong or free safety."
Mouton's list of verbal offers is short, but growing.
"Mississippi State, Arizona and Nebraska have all offered," said Mouton. "Arizona offered me a month ago, and Nebraska offered me a couple weeks ago."
Although USC has yet to extend a verbal offer, the Trojans are one of three programs heavily recruiting Mouton.
"USC, UCLA and Colorado are probably sending me the most mail," said Mouton. "Nebraska just put in their offer, so they haven't been sending me that much mail - mostly just stuff about the school."
Thus far, USC's recruiting efforts have seemed to have paid off.
"You know, USC has just grown on me," said Mouton. "I'm originally from Louisiana, but I've lived in L.A. (Los Angeles) for quite a while. Going to their (USC's) camps and getting to know the coaches, the relationship that I have with them is pretty good."
In addition to having a good relationship with the Trojan coaching staff, Mouton also has contact with USC's starting defensive end, Lawrence Jackson.
"I used to go to Inglewood High School, and when I was there I was friends with Lawrence," said Mouton. "He kind of mentored me, and although he goes to SC now, we still talk on the phone sometimes."
Does Mouton's comfort-level with USC make them an early favorite?
"I don't have a favorite, but I could give you a top five in no order," said Mouton. "Right now, Mississippi State, Arizona, Nebraska, USC and UCLA would be my top five."
Off the field, Mouton knows exactly what factors will come into play during his recruitment.
"Definitely location, and probably a major," said Mouton. "I want to major in some kind of computer technology because I want to become a computer engineer. I'm doing some things outside of school right now to help me with that. So I really want to go to a program that specializes in that area."
With tentative plans to camp at USC and Texas this spring, Mouton's decision on a school shouldn't be expected anytime soon.
"I'm going to wait to see what schools offer me first," said Mouton. "Then I'll look into what I like and don't like about each one. I want to see the school, see how many defensive backs they'll have in front of me... just look at all the angles. Then I'll make my decision."
As for the lofty comparisons sure to fly his way, Mouton isn't about the hype.
"Some people say I play like Ronnie Lott, but I'd never say anything like that," said Mouton. "I just try to be myself, work hard and listen to my coaches."
USCFootball.com will continue to update you on Jonas Mouton throughout the recruiting process.