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McKnight: Fitting In Is Easy

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Two days into Joe McKnight's life as a Trojan, the "Next Reggie Bush" has already aced one key aspect of the former Heisman winner's legacy at USC - suspicion of quasi-criminality by the NCAA. Specifically, the L.A. Times wondered Thursday whether the recruit unwittingly violated Association rules by listening in on a phone conversation between Pete Carroll and Bush intended, ironically, to calm McKnight's fears about the investigation into Bush's illicit relationship with an insta-agent:

USC coach Pete Carroll denied any call took place, and McKnight's high school football coach said the recruit misspoke during the news conference. The star running back has been living with his high school coach, J.T. Curtis.

"It never happened," Carroll told the Times.

During the Wednesday news conference, McKnight said Carroll set up a conference call so he and Curtis could talk to Bush and ease concerns USC might face sanctions.
Curtis told the Times on Thursday that he spoke to Carroll during McKnight's recruitment, but not on a conference call with McKnight or Bush. He also said McKnight told him "Coach Carroll was talking to Reggie on the speakerphone and Joe was able to listen and hear Reggie Bush's side of the story," the newspaper reported.

After being informed of Carroll's denial Thursday night, Curtis called McKnight and later said the recruit never heard Bush on a speakerphone.

"He said when they came in his house, the discussion was brought up about probation and that's when the conversation came up that they had talked to Reggie, but Joe was not there," Curtis said. "He said, 'I was not on the speakerphone. I never called him and he never called me. I want to make it clear I never spoke to Reggie and he never spoke to me. I just messed it up. I shouldn't have said it that way (at the news conference)."'

Curtis said McKnight may have been overwhelmed by the attention and scrutiny that accompanied his announcement.

"At the press conference, it seemed like he got 1,000 questions in five minutes," Curtis said. "If you saw what was going on it would be easier to understand."

Okay, fine, this is minor, considering most of the rest of the scrutiny directed at the nation's most successful, high-profile program over the last five years, and at least from the SoCal perspective McKnight's already in tow. But the real question is, what does this mean when it comes to nabbing Mitch Mustain? Steps are already underway in SC's compliance and media relations offices to ensure Matt Leinart doesn't give the soon-to-be-ex-Arkansas starter any advice about apartment-hunting in L.A. during Mustain's re-recruiting visit later this month.

Risk NCAA sanction by hooking up prospects with famous alumni? USC? Never.
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