With an announced commitment to Utah, the strange saga of wide receiver Munir McClain has reached something of a conclusion, at least as far as USC is concerned. The former USC receiver was not active for the entirety of the 2020 season and was suspended from all team activities, head coach Clay Helton announced in October of last year, before the pandemic-shortened season kicked off.
McClain’s suspension stemmed from an FBI investigation into fraud pertaining to pandemic unemployment benefits.
He initially entered the transfer portal, then removed his name from it, before entering it again in early May. McClain’s brother, former USC outside linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain, announced his transfer to Jackson State back in November.
Munir McClain had a terrific fall camp as a freshman in 2019, going play-for-play with fellow freshman receiver Drake London. He caught three passes for 19 yards before tearing his ACL and missing the remainder of the season.
At Utah, he’ll join a program that has made extensive use of the transfer portal in recent months, and throughout its history. There will be new a new look at virtually every skill position for Utah when the Trojans host the Utes on October 9 — a game-of-the-year candidate in the Pac-12 South.
The Utes brought in quarterback Charlie Brewer from Baylor as well as Ja’Quinden Jackson from Texas. Out are running backs Jordan Wilmore and Devin Brumfield. In are a very talented pair in former Oklahoma back T.J. Pledger and former LSU back Chris Curry. Wide receiver Bryan Thompson is now at Arizona State, so the Utes could turn to McClain as well as former Oklahoma and UCLA wideout Theo Howard. Defensively, former Washington safety Brandon McKinney and former Washington linebacker Josh Calvert are now on the Utah roster.
USC won’t feel much of a sting with the McClain departure, but only because the Trojans have been without him on the field for so long. He is a real talent and should find a home on the field at Utah if he’s fully healed from that ACL injury, which is likely the case closing in on two years removed from it. The Trojans’ wide receiver spot is led by London, who will one of the major weapons for the USC passing game this season. There is no real No. 2 at this point, but several players could fill that role, including Bru McCoy and Gary Bryant. Colorado transfer K.D. Nixon and true freshman early enrollee Michael Jackson III were positive additions this spring, and it might not take long for Jackson to really start pushing for playing time. John Jackson III returns as a solid option and all eyes will be on whether Kyle Ford can enter fall camp fully healthy after a knee injury stopped his 2020 season before it ever started.
USC will also welcome true freshmen Kyron Ware-Hudson and Joseph Manjack IV to the wide receiver room this summer, in addition to a couple of transfers, in former Memphis wide receiver Tahj Washington and former Texas receiver Malcolm Epps, who can play a hybrid tight end/wide receiver spot for the Trojans.