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Cooper Lovelace believes Alani Noa will be 'extremely elite'

On3-Social-Profile_GRAYby:On3 Staff Report08/08/23
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As the USC offensive line works in five freshmen and three transfers from this offseason, one in particular is beginning to stand out: 6-foot-4, 325-pound interior lineman Alani Noa.

At least, he has certainly grabbed the eye of veteran Cooper Lovelace.

“Alani in the O-line room, specifically,” Lovelace said. “We could go down the board at each position, but Alani really, oh my God, there are some flashes. I’m telling you. I know we can’t show you guys film or anything like that, but if there was a moment where you guys could see some of the things he’s doing, he’s going to be an extremely elite player.”

Alani Noa certainly wasn’t the highest-rated of the USC signees, ranked toward the middle of the pack. He checked in as the No. 525 overall prospect in the nation in the 2023 recruiting class, a three-star prospect.

He was rated as the No. 50 interior offensive lineman in the class and the No. 44 overall player in the state of California, hailing from Sacramento (Calif.) Grant Union.

So far, Noa is leaving no doubt that he’ll be a difference-maker down the road. Maybe sooner than later.

“He’s going to be an extremely elite player,” Lovelace said. “And they all are, they really are, especially with coach (Josh) Henson in the room developing guys. But it’s fun to see like, ‘Man, I wish I was 18 again.’ I’m 22. I feel old and you see these cats, God, I wish I could start again.”

Alani Noa, others integrating into USC line

Offensive line coach Josh Henson has been pleased with the entire unit so far in the first week or so of fall camp. He’s got a lot to work with.

The Trojans signed three top-500 prospects in the 2023 class, along with two other three-star prospects. Noa joins four-star Elijah Paige, as well as three-stars Micah Banuelos, Amos Talalele and Tobias Raymond.

Meanwhile, the transfer group includes Florida offensive tackle Michael Tarquin, Washington State offensive tackle Jarrett Kingston and Wyoming interior lineman Emmanuel Pregnon.

“So far I’m really excited about that group,” Henson said. “For a young group they’ve got a shot. They’ve got to work really hard to develop their talent, but they’re talented.

“They’re very physical. They all are talented. They’ve all got a ways to go as a player learning the offense, getting in the right spot and the more that they learn the offense the more they’ll be able to focus on technique and getting better at the technical things, the little things.”