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2022 linebacker Keaten Wade includes USC in top 9 schools

USC continues to make top list after top list for standout 2022 prospects, as the Trojan coaches have been a consistent presence on the recruiting trail and are targeting some of the top recruits in the country.

The latest prospect to include the Trojans as he whittles down his impressive scholarship list is four-star outside linebacker Keaten Wade (Spring Hill, Tenn./Summit).

On Tuesday morning, Wade released a top-nine list that includes Arizona State, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Ole Miss, USC, Virginia and West Virginia.

A 6-foot-5, 225-pound outside linebacker, Wade is the No. 193 overall prospect and No. 17 outside linebacker in the country. He’s a tremendous athlete, as he plays outside linebacker and running back, and also plays basketball. He was injured for most of this past season and was limited to just three games, but he finished with three sacks and caught a 21-yard touchdown pass.

With his ability to play a standup rush defensive end as well as drop back into coverage as a linebacker, he looks to be a great fit for Todd Orlando’s defense at the B-Backer position. USC has made a quick impression in Wade’s recruitment, having only offered a scholarship at the end of January.

This won’t be an easy recruitment, however, as Wade has a twin brother in three-star quarterback Destin Wade, whom the Trojans have not offered.

Of those nine top schools, Arizona State, Kentucky, Louisville, Ole Miss, Virginia and West Virginia have all offered both brothers. Neither Wade brother has said it’s a guarantee that they’ll play together in college, but it’s likely to factor in at least a bit as both go through the recruiting process.

Interestingly, neither Tennessee nor Vanderbilt made this top group for Wade, the No. 4 prospect in the state of Tennessee. Both programs have new head coaches this year who will absolutely want to make a statement in the state when it comes to keeping the top players home. It’s a pretty good year for talent in the state, starting with the No. 2 overall player in the country, defensive tackle Walter Nolen (Cordova, Tenn./St. Benedict at Auburndale).

Arizona State made a strong impression when it offered both brothers, and Michigan has made an early impact in Tennessee already in the 2022 class, grabbing commitments from four-star prospects Taylor Groves (Cross Plains, Tenn./East Robertson) and Kody Jones (Germantown, Tenn./Germantown).

USC landed No. 1 overall prospect Korey Foreman in the 2021 class and it appears as though he could slide into this outside linebacker position in the USC defense along with Drake Jackson. But that’s a spot where USC has shown it can get two players on the field at the same time — Jackson and Hunter Echols played in tandem at times last season — and the expectation is that Foreman won’t spend more than three years at USC, so continuing to add talent at that position will be important every year.

USC hasn’t piled up commitments in the 2022 class to this point, but it’s still off to a strong start. No. 3 overall prospect Domani Jackson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) leads the way, with four-star cornerback Fabian Ross (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman), four-star quarterback Devin Brown (Queen Creek, Ariz./Queen Creek) and three-star center Dylan Lopez (Bradenton, Fla./IMG) already committed.

Erik McKinney

Erik McKinney began writing for WeAreSC in 2004, during his junior year at USC, covering the Trojans football team and recruiting. He then moved on to ESPN.com in 2011, where he served as the West Region recruiting reporter and then the Pac-12 recruiting reporter. He took over as publisher of WeAreSC in January, 2019.

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