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Breaking down the USC recruiting class: Offense

USC’s offensive recruiting class comes into focus, as the Trojans hold commitments from nine players on that side of the ball, including two quarterbacks. There are still a few prospects that will likely be added here, but there are some key pieces already, including two quarterbacks, a running back and three offensive linemen.

Quarterback

Jake Garcia – 6-3, 188 (La Habra, Calif./La Habra)

Committed to USC on Sept. 24, 2019

No. 39 overall prospect, No. 4 pro-style passer

Garcia is a terrific athlete with a live arm. He isn’t an elite runner, but he’s tough and capable of picking up yards with his legs. He doesn’t always need a clean pocket can deliver the ball from a number of different arm angles and body positions. He possesses a strong arm but enough touch to deliver a catchable ball.

He transferred to La Habra from Narbonne, where he threw for 2,130 yards and 15 touchdowns against five interceptions, while completing more than 75% of his passes.

Recruiting process: Garcia committed to USC right after 2020 quarterback Bryce Young announced his decommitment from USC and flip to Alabama last September. This recruitment isn’t over, as Miami is putting together a huge push led by players, recruits and former stars, and it was one of the schools pushing hard before he announced his commitment to USC.

Miller Moss – 6-2, 197 (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei)

Committed to USC on June 1, 2020

No. 61 overall prospect, No. 6 pro-style passes

Moss possesses close to a picture-perfect delivery with tremendous timing and accuracy. He has a great feel in the pocket and can keep plays alive while keeping his eyes downfield.

He threw for 2,714 yards and 19 touchdowns against 14 interceptions while completing 57% of his passes last year. He recently transferred from Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany to Mater Dei.

Recruiting process: Moss committed to USC in early June and become the second quarterback commit for the Trojans in this class. It looked early on like he could wind up across town at UCLA as the Bruins recruited him hard and USC already held a commitment from Garcia. But Moss grew up wanting to play for the Trojans and the USC staff was able to reel him in. It’s highly unlikely that Garcia and Moss will both finish their college careers at USC, as quarterbacks are increasingly looking for opportunities to start and play–but signing them both in this class is important to build depth and making sure the best one eventually wins the job.

Position progress: USC would like to take two quarterbacks in this class and it would like to take these two quarterbacks specifically. Garcia is the one to watch as the process continues as Miami is not going to give up the chase.

Running back

Brandon Campbell – 5-10, 190 (Katy, Texas/Katy)

Committed to USC on March 28, 2020

No. 309 overall prospect, No. 14 running back

Campbell is a do-it-all back, as he’s shifty and speedy enough to make defenders miss and bring enough power to break tackles. He’s also outstanding catching the ball out of the backfield, which is a requirement in this Graham Harrell offense.

Now at Katy High School, Campbell will be part of a loaded roster and should be poised for a big senior season.

Recruiting process: Campbell’s father knew USC running back coach Mike Jinks from their high school days, so that relationship already existed heading into the recruiting process. Jinks was able to recruit Campbell well and sealed the deal back in March. Campbell’s commitment kickstarted an impressive recruiting streak by the Trojans and represents a major recruiting win in Texas, a state USC has focused on the last two years.

Position progress: USC would like to take two running backs in this class and Campbell is a good start. Four-star tailback Byron Cardwell (San Diego/Morse) is likely the top remaining target on the board, though fellow California four-star Prophet Brown (Elk Grove, Calif./Monterey Trail) would be more than a solid addition as well (Oklahoma is a factor there, and Brown could wind up at cornerback in college). USC is also chasing three-star back Logan Diggs (Metairie, La./Archbishop Rummel) and he is a real option for the Trojans.

Wide receiver

Quaydarius Davis – 6-0, 193 (Dallas/Skyline)

Committed to USC on May 1, 2020

No. 102 overall prospect, No. 17 wide receiver

Davis isn’t a big receiver in terms of height, but he plays like a big receiver in his ability to outmuscle defensive backs and go up and get the ball in traffic. He might not have blazing speed but he can get on top of defenders and he’s dangerous with the ball in his hands after short receptions.

He had 36 receptions for 515 yards and four touchdowns as a junior.

Recruiting process: It was a winding road for Davis to USC, as he’d previously made commitments to SMU and Texas. The Trojans have made a strong push into Texas over the past two classes and those relationships formed, combined with USC’s high-powered offense, was enough to sway Davis.

Michael Jackson III – 6-0, 198 (Las Vegas/Desert Pines)

Committed to USC on June 3, 2020

No. 403 overall prospect, No. 63 wide receiver

Jackson said the USC coaches have compared him to Amon-Ra St. Brown in his ability to play both inside and outside at USC and that’s probably a fair comparison, though St. Brown was more highly-rated as a high school prospect. Jackson has that same thick build and ability to move well in traffic, and should be a real threat with the ball in his hands at the next level. He’s a major weapon in the slot and should be poised for a big senior season.

Recruiting process: Jackson had major offers all over the country as Desert Pines has become a must-stop school in Las Vegas, in addition to Bishop Gorman. He narrowed his choices down to a top 11, but his relationship with the USC staff, the offensive production for wide receivers in the offense and the proximity to home were major factors in his commitment.

Position progress: It’s been an interesting process at wide receiver, as this is a very good year for receivers in California, but USC’s two commitments are from out of state, while Oregon has a chance to grab three of the best receivers in California. The Trojans will likely look out of state again if they are going to add another receiver in this class, as Malcolm Johnson Jr. (Alexandria, Va./St. Stephen’s and St. Agnes) might be the top target on the board. Locally, wide receiver Makai Cope (Culver City, Calif./Culver City) could remain a target.

Tight end

Lake McRee – 6-4, 217 (Austin, Texas/Lake Travis)

Committed to USC on June 5, 2020

No. 439 overall prospect, No. 21 tight end

McRee is a big receiver as a tight end, though he’s also a willing blocker. Based on what Harrell did with his tight ends at North Texas, he’d prefer to move them around the formation and McRee should provide that ability, as he lined up at several different spots during his sophomore season. He missed his entire junior season due to a torn ACL, so it will be interesting to see how he performs early on as a senior.

Recruiting process: USC coaches were able to get a good look at McRee when he visited for camp last summer, though he made a commitment to Texas shortly after the Trojans offered following the event. He eventually decommitted from the Longhorns and USC was there to grab a commitment.

Position progress: One tight end would seem to be enough as USC should have four on the roster next season, but USC is going after a couple more in this class, though they should be considered major longshots. Thomas Fidone (Council Bluffs, Iowa/Lewis Central) is the nation’s top tight end and recently picked up an offer from USC, though Nebraska looks like it could be tough to beat in that recruitment. Michael Trigg (Tampa, Fla./Carrollwood Day) is the nation’s No. 5 tight end and a standout basketball player as well. USC has offered in both sports.

Offensive line

Mason Murphy – 6-5, 290 (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./JSerra)

Committed to USC on March 11, 2020

No. 448 overall prospect, No. 38 offensive tackle

Murphy has improved his body tremendously over the last year and has been very impressive this offseason. He’s quick and athletic for his size and he’s another one of USC’s commitments that could see a ratings and rankings boost based on the first few games of his senior season.

Recruiting process: Murphy is another guy who participated in a USC camp last summer and walked away with an offer. USC pushed hard for Murphy throughout his process and was able to land the local lineman whose high school head coach is former USC standout Pat Harlow.

Saia Mapakaitolo – 6-5, 280 (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany)

Committed to USC on May 22, 2020

No. 572 overall prospect, No. 46 offensive tackle

Mapakaitolo needs to add strength as he develops, but he has a great frame and all the tools to develop into a big-time offensive tackle. He won’t be protecting Miller Moss anymore, but Alemany is poised to have a big season and the offensive line should play a big part. He’s another guy in this recruiting class who should be getting better throughout his senior season and might just be scratching the surface of his abilities as he gets to USC.

Junior season film

Recruiting process: USC was able to rely on its combination of athletics and academics in reeling in Mapakaitolo, who became a priority recruit for the Trojans. His cousin is 2022 USC linebacker commitment Niuafe Tuihalamaka, so there is also a family connection with the Trojans.

Maximus Gibbs – 6-6, 385 (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco)

Committed to USC on April 17, 2020

No. 645 overall prospect, No. 32 offensive guard

Gibbs is absolutely massive at 385 pounds, and while he’ll need to drop some weight and change his body a bit at USC, he’s still able to move surprisingly well at that size right now. Defensive linemen have no easy path around him, as he can move laterally quickly enough to stay with linemen looking to beat him with speed, and he’s simply not getting pushed back with a straightforward rush. Gibbs possesses plenty of power and it should be fun watching Gibbs perform for an absolutely loaded St. John Bosco team.

Recruiting process: Gibbs was one of the stars of the Netflix series ‘Coach Snoop,’ which documented a season in the life of Snoop Dogg’s Steelers as part of the Snoop Youth Football League. A local talent, Gibbs was a big get as he’d also picked up some big national offers–Alabama, Florida, FLorida State, Georgia, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas A&M, among others, had offered.

Position progress: USC took six offensive linemen in the 2020 recruiting class, so the depth chart already looks better than it did last season. Three commitments at the position already is a strong start, and adding another one could solidify things. Four-star tackle Kingsley Suamataia (Orem, Utah/Orem) is at the top of the board, but he looks like Oregon’s to lose at this point. Offensive guard Josh Simmons (La Mesa, Calif./Helix) would be a nice finish to the class, but he’s talked lately about playing defensive line in college. Three-star guard Ross Maseuli (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) and three-star tackle Ryan Lange (Pittsburg, Calif./Pittsburg) are in-state prospects with offers.



Erik McKinney
Author
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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