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2022 USC Recruiting: Defensive backs

USC loaded up on defensive backs in the 2021 recruiting class, signing six high school prospects and one transfer who will play cornerback or safety at USC. But the Trojan coaches would love to double up on a strong class at the position, as USC did not bring in a single defensive back in the 2020 class

Previous series entries

2022 USC Recruiting: Quarterback

2022 USC Recruiting: Running back

2022 USC Recruiting: Wide receiver

2022 USC Recruiting: Tight end

2022 USC Recruiting: Offensive line

2022 USC Recruiting: Defensive line

2022 USC Recruiting: Linebackers

2021 defensive back signees

Four-star safety Anthony Beavers Jr.

Four-star safety Calen Bullock

Four-star safety Xamarion Gordon

Four-star safety Jaylin Smith

Transfer safety Xavion Alford

Four-star cornerback Ceyair Wright

Four-star cornerback Prophet Brown

2022 defensive back commits

Five-star cornerback Domani Jackson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei)

Four-star cornerback Fabian Ross (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman)

2022 defensive back targets


Five-star Gentry Williams (Tulsa, Okla./Booker T. Washington)

Four-star Julian Humphrey (Houston/Clear Lake)

Four-star Earl Little Jr. (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./American Heritage)

Four-star Jaeden Gould (Oradell, NJ/Bergen Catholic)

Four-star Jalil Tucker (San Diego/Lincoln)

Four-star Ephesians Prysock (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany)

Four-star Clint Stephens (Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood)


Four-star Zion Branch (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman)

Four-star Kamari Ramsey (Chatsworth, Calif./Sierra Canyon)

Four-star Xavier Nwankpa (Altoona, Iowa/Southeast Polk)

Four-star Bryce Anderson (Beaumont, Tex./West Brook)

Four-star Sherrod Covil (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith)

Four-star Edric Weldon (Hallandale, Fla./Hallandale)

Four-star Larry Turner-Gooden (Playa del Rey, Calif./St. Bernard) – ASU commit

There is still a long ways to go until Domani Jackson is officially signed, but USC couldn’t have gotten off to a better start with defensive back recruiting than grabbing early commitments from the five-star local prospect and the talented four-star in Fabian Ross. Plenty of schools would be content with those two, but it looks as though USC and cornerbacks coach Donte Williams wants at least one more at the position.

The huge name that is seemingly growing into more and more of a possible addition is five-star Gentry Williams, who has an official visit scheduled to USC in June. Williams is a phenomenal athlete who plays both defensive back and quarterback in high school. The 6-foot, 170-pound prospect has elite speed and tremendous athleticism, which makes him an extremely intriguing cornerback prospect considering his ceiling if he concentrates on just that position.

Humphrey, Little and Gould are all out-of-state prospects who continue to mention USC. Little and Gould have scheduled official visits in June.

It will be interesting to see how Williams and the Trojans continue to recruit the position with two prospects already committed — and it being extremely likely that USC will want to hold onto both of them. There are a few local offers that have been extended, in Ephesians Prysock and Clint Stephens close to campus, plus Jalil Tucker down in San Diego.

At safety, the top target is likely four-star Zion Branch, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound prospect who is a teammate of Ross at Bishop Gorman. He has offers from all over the country, but USC has always been present and should continue to be in a good spot if they recruit him well, which this Trojan staff is capable of doing.

Locally, four-star safety Kamari Ramsey is a top target, though Arizona State will try to make things interesting, and Ohio State and Stanford could have something to say about his recruitment as well. It wouldn’t be surprising to see USC continue to recruit Larry Turner-Gooden, who looked like a USC lean at one point but then pledged to Arizona State, thanks in large part to former Trojans Chris Claiborne and Chris Hawkins, now defensive coaches for the Sun Devils.

USC has its sights set on some big-time national safety prospects, and it’ll be interesting to see how long those recruits gives USC a look, because there ar major powers much closer to home recruiting them hard.

Four-star safety Xavier Nwankpa is the top prospect in Iowa, and it’s no surprise that Iowa, Notre Dame and Ohio State are all in pursuit. Alabama and LSU also have a bit of his attention.

USC will get a visit from four-star Bryce Anderson, who was a top Trojan target out of Texas well before he announced his commitment to LSU. He’s since backed away from that pledge and now looks like he could ultimately land with Texas. USC joins Alabama, Michigan, Texas A&M and a host of other programs looking to stay in the mix.

The Trojans also recently got involved with four-star safety Sherrod Covil, who is putting together a really fun highlight tape this spring. He returned two interceptions for touchdowns in one game, and has two of the bigger hits in all of high school football right now.

Covil recently placed USC among his top 11 schools, but a recent offer from Clemson could be huge, and in-state Virginia Tech will be an intriguing option as well.

USC is also involved with four-star Edric Weldon, who recently saw two high school teammates — both defensive backs — commit to Arizona State.

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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