2019 Recruiting Class Review (Long Read) bestlakersfan Junior Member Joined: Aug 24, 2017 Messages: 775 Likes Received: 1,854 Feb 11, 2019 #1 As promised, I’ve put together some thoughts, opinions and insights on our 2019 recruiting class. Overall, this class is clearly not on par with our standards at USC. With that said, there is definitely some very good talent in the group and some sleepers that I think many are overlooking. However, it is hard to not mention the lack of offensive linemen in this class. It is rare for the West to be loaded with talent at the OL position and 2019 definitely was. The issue is, our 2018 class was weak and small, we missed on the chance to “clean up” in the 2019 class and the 2020 class is on par, talent-wise, with 2018. Not good. The OL and DL win championships, PERIOD. Defense DL Drake Jackson – This kid is a force. Drake is an explosive athlete with drive and great power at the point of attack. He also shows very good force and is able to use his power to burst on the snap. This kid will be special and will contribute to the team for years. Love his upside, but even better, his floor is extremely high. He can stuff the run, read plays well and get after the QB. Essentially, he is an ideal DL. Dejon Benton – Dejon is a clear redshirt candidate. He has a good punch off the line, but he needs to add significant power to go along with more weight on his frame. If he can improve his technique, he could be a decent contributor a few years down the road, but I see him more along the lines of a run stopper that may contribute and be a rotation player as an upper-classman; think Malik Dorton. Nick Figueroa – An interesting pick-up for USC. Nick seemed like a player the coaches really wanted and went after HARD, even passing up the commitment from Jackson (another CC player) to get him. Nick has a great frame and a very solid motor. He has good technique, but needs to add to his list of moves, particularly better hand placement and use of hands. I’m not sure how great he will be at stopping the run, but should provide some very good pass-rushing ability. LB Ralen Goforth – Wow, what a senior year Ralen had. He was a borderline USC level prospect for me prior to his senior year, but he played incredibly well at Bosco during his last year there and now I’m very excited to have him in the class. He is a player and has a nose for the ball. Ralen plays with great instincts and is a very good tackler. Always seems to be in the right place at the right time. I’m curious to see where the coaches line him up, but I like him better on the inside because of his instincts. With that said, he moves very well side to side and does well dropping back in pass coverage. If he can add another 10-15 pounds, while keeping his speed, he could be special. Stanley Taufoo – First thing I can say is that this kid plays like his hair is on fire. Needless to say, he plays through the whistle and LOVES contact. He played multiple positions in HS and it will be interesting to see which position he ends up when all is said and done; could be an ILB, DE-rush specialist or even grow into a hybrid DE/DT. He will provide good depth and the will be a serviceable player. Lower floor, but if things click and he finds the best position for him (as his body grows) Stanley could become a big time player by his senior year. Maninoa Tufono – Like Stanley, Maninoa could easily grow into a DL when all is said and done. A physical player, he is also very sound in terms of tackling. The biggest knock for me is that he doesn’t seem to have great speed at all. With that said, this could be truly and solely related to conditioning and nutrition. If he can improve this aspect and gain some more speed, he will be very good as a true “Mike” backer. If it doesn’t, he will be depth at ILB or as a DE. Tuasivi Nomura – Count me as a fan. This kid can play. He is physical and plays through the whistle. Love his potential, but don’t love his frame. Standing at only 6’1”, I’m not sure that he can add a whole lot more weight (he’s 210 already) and still provide the burst and fire that makes his game. He is a tweener SS/LB and, like others mentioned above, it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up. I like him and I think he will end up starting at some point, either due to injury or by his senior year. DB Briton Allen – A kid who played as tough a schedule as possible while at IMG, he will be ready to play. Allen is extremely, extremely physical and has a nose for the ball. He played SS in HS, but unfortunately I don’t think he necessarily has the size to do so in college. I love his game and think he will contribute a lot because he is tough, aggressive and brings it. If he was 3 inches taller, he would’ve been a borderline 5-star kid. Love his game. Max Williams – Max could be one of my favorite local players this year and I am SO happy that he is a Trojan. He is the type of player where nothing may jump out at you in a camp setting, but put the pads on and he is one of the best cover corners in the West. He is not big or fast, but the kid can play. His senior season was cut short by injury, but if not for that, I think he would be a big-time contributor in his freshman season at corner for us. He is recovering well and is on campus as an EE and I’m excited to see if he can play a bit in the Spring, although I doubt it. I’m a big Max fan. Adonis Otey – Solid frame and good speed, just looks and plays like a corner. Adonis intrigues me a lot after watching a good amount of his film. Don’t love saying this, but I see him as a boom or bust candidate; high ceiling, but low floor. Adonis will need to improve his physicality (particularly tackling) and technique as a corner. He has the speed and ability as an athlete, but really needs to be coached up. Another thing I do like about him is he played both as a CB and as a WR. I tend to feel like kids who play both ways, especially in positions that are opposites, better understand how to play against that position. We’ll see what happens with him. Jaylen Watson – This is the more prototypical CB that USC has been trying to get in terms of height (he’s 6’2”) the past few years. Jaylen has very good ball skills and plays with some swag and cockiness, which is what you want as a CB… just not too much of it. I think he will contribute right off the bat and has a chance to be a starter in 2020. Good floor, but the ceiling isn’t too high. Jayden Williams – Here is a kid I love. I think he is one of the most underrated players in the West in 2019. Jayden is a damn good player and a very good corner/safety. If not for Drake and Foreman (he will be a 5-star and could push for top national player, IMO by the time he is a senior; he is a class of ’21 player) Jayden would’ve been the best player on defense for a very good Corona Centennial team. Jayden will likely play as a slot corner or a FS. He’s physical, has great feet, is smart, a ball-hawk, a plays with a good motor. Needless to say, I am very high on him. Kaulana Makaula – A relative unknown for a while, Makaula turned in a great week at the Polynesian Bowl and likely cemented his place with USC because of it. He has great size and is a ball-hawk. He played a lot of CB in HS, but I think he ends up as a SS in college. Speed is good, but not impressive. He needs to work on technique and getting a bit more fluid with his hips, but his desire to make plays and physicality should translate well. Trey Davis – Trey is a good player and has very good speed, but this take, from the start, was a head scratcher to me. I’m not convinced that he has USC level talent. We’ll see what happens, but this has Godfrey part II written all over for me. Dorian Hewett – Dorian played both as a CB and S in HS, but I think he projects better as a safety. He is very instinctual, smart and is always around the ball. Solid speed and good frame, but he is going to need to add some muscle and his body just needs to mature some. I like this take, but we may need to wait a few years before seeing him make any kind of contributions. Overall Defensive Recruiting Thoughts Outside of Jackson and Goforth, there are a lot of depth guys in here. Some will become very good, but there is no doubt that this defensive class is missing some high-end guys. Defensive line is thin, even considering some of the LB kids may grow into a DL position. This year we had some good talent out west on the DL, but we simply missed out on many kids and letting go of BKU was not the smartest thing Clay did…well, when was the last time Clay made a smart mov… never mind, let’s not go there now. Also, there were some players we flat out missed that we should’ve landed (Ika, Pola-Mao, Tuitele) and others that were non-offers which I don’t get (Bandes being the one that really comes to mind). The LB class is light, but Ralen will going to be very good. However, the lack of talent is not a surprise after we took a big and stellar class last year. With that said, would you trade one or two of the guys last year for Floyd this year? I would. De’Gabriel is a stud. The good news is, the man-child-god, Flowe is in the ’20 class and he is a generational type player. We already lead for him and this is even more reason for him to come here…unless Clancy decides to play a walk-on in front of him, ala PG last year. Man, we took a whole lot of DBs this year. Can’t blame the coaches because we were decimated at the position by transfer, injury and monkey trials and convictions (sorry Bubba, we are just as disappointed in our school as you). There is talent in the DB class, but I’m not sure we needed to take this many bodies. With that said, a HUGE kudos to coach Burns for getting so many of these guys, an awesome and well needed departure from Bradord, one of the worst recruiters and coaches we’ve had in a while. (continued below)... Trojans2015, DARNELLJAX, Trojan Man 30 and 14 others like this.