The early signing period for the 2021 recruiting class begins today, and here we’ll have updated announcements of all the future USC Trojans.
Michael Trigg is a four-star tight end out of Tampa (Fla.) Carrollwood Day who will join both the football and basketball programs at USC. He was a major recruiting win for the Trojans, as USC was able to pitch the success of Drake London both as a two-sport athlete at USC as well as a big wide receiver/tight end hybrid. As a senior, Trigg caught 30 passes for 586 yards and five touchdowns. He held offers from many of the SEC powers and narrowed his finalists down to LSU, South Carolina and USC before selecting the Trojans. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound tight end has the frame and skill to play immediately at USC. He’s a special athlete who can run well for his size, can go up and get the ball in the air, and run through and around defenders. He’s the nation’s No. 128 overall prospect.
Three-star defensive end Colin Mobley comes to the Trojans out of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic as one of defensive line coach Vic So’oto’s first recruiting wins. Mobley comes from a football power of a high school and held plenty of offers from college football’s heavyweights. At 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, Mobley would seem to have some of the positional versatility that So’oto likes in his defensive linemen, and he definitely looks to have the temperament. Mobley uses his hands well to separate from blocks and he brings an attitude to his tackles. He’s the nation’s No. 510 overall prospect.
The Trojans add their second tight end signee of the day, as three-star prospect Lake McRee (Austin, Tex./Lake Travis) officially signs with USC. McRee. Unlike some of the other out-of-state signees, McRee was able to unofficially visit USC when he performed at a summer camp with the Trojans in 2019. He committed to Texas shortly after USC offered, but the Trojans stuck with him and were able to capitalize when McRee backed off that Longhorn pledge. He missed his junior season due to a knee injury but worked hard to return for his senior year. Like Trigg, McRee spends most of his time split out wide as a big wide receiver and brings that receiving ability that USC demands of its tight ends. He’s the nation’s No. 479 overall prospect.
Three-star offensive tackle Ty Buchanan (Corpus Christi, Tex./Calallen) became USC’s fourth verbal commitment along the offensive line in this class and yet another Texas prep headed to the West Coast. Buchanan was under-recruited heading into his senior season, but he began picking up major offers in August and USC was able to grab a commitment. He checks in at 6-foot-5, 280 pounds and is a run-game mauler. USC signed six offensive linemen in the 2020 class and Buchanan looks like he will fit in well with that group. He isn’t completely polished, but there’s a lot to work with and he brings a tenacity with him that allows him to play hard to and through the whistle. He’s the nation’s No. 793 overall prospect.
Joseph Manjack IV
USC completed the recruitment of wide receiver Joseph Manjack IV as the three-star recruit completes his flip from a former Washington State commit to now part of the USC 2021 recruiting class. The Tomball (Tex.) Memorial prospect becomes yet another Texas Trojan, and the 6-foot-3, 200-pound receiver is one of the more interesting players in this class. He brings phenomenal speed and quickness along with that big frame and is able to go up over defenders for deep balls and beat them with speed on quick throws. He wasn’t highly rated or recruited, but there is a lot to like about Manjack’s game. He’s the nation’s No. 1,308 overall prospect.
USC absolutely needed at least one tailback in this class and they have a good one in four-star Texas prospect Brandon Campbell. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound back seems to be a good fit for this offense, as he is capable both as a runner and receiver. He committed to the Trojans back in March and has been one of the most visible recruiters, helping the USC coaches fill the rest of the class. Campbell picked USC over some major finalists, including Alabama, Florida, LSU, Penn State and TCU. He’s the nation’s No. 343 overall prospect.
The four-star wide receiver goes down as a huge recruiting win in this class, as Ware-Hudson had been comfortably committed to Oregon for nearly a year before the Trojans got seriously involved and flipped him from the Ducks. This is a good year for elite wide receiver talent in California and Ware-Hudson looked to be one of four going out of state. USC didn’t get them all, but Ware-Hudson is a really nice addition as a strong, athletic receiver. He doesn’t have elite speed, but he has one of the strongest pairs of hands in this recruiting class and that helps his catch radius immensely. He’s the nation’s No. 125 overall prospect.
Massive offensive lineman Maximus Gibbs comes to USC from powerhouse high school Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco and brings a 6-foot-6, 385-pound frame. He’ll likely need to adjust some weight at the next level, but he moves his feet incredibly well for a player that size. He’s another mauler in the run game and a needed addition along the offensive line. Gibbs is another USC signee that had some big-time options during his recruiting process, as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma and Oregon all extended offers. He is the nation’s No. 899 overall prospect.
Michael Jackson III
The third wide receiver signee of the day is in, as three-star prospect Michael Jackson III joins the class out of Las Vegas Desert Pines High School. The 6-foot, 198-pound Jackson has said the USC coaching staff compares him to current USC wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. That’s a lofty comparison, but Jackson has the frame and work ethic to make it. Jackson is terrific working underneath coverage and should be able to find a comfortable home in this USC Air Raid offense. He is the nation’s No. 366 overall prospect.
There might not be anything Julien Simon can’t do on a football field. As a junior, he ran for 182 yards and seven touchdowns, caught 83 passes for 1,033 yards and 12 touchdowns, recorded 55 tackles, two sacks, four interceptions and a fumble recovery, returned a kickoff 47 yards and has seven punt returns for 139 yards and a touchdown. The 6-foot-2, 221-pound linebacker is a special kind of athlete and football player and he very likely could play four or five different positions at the next level. He could wind up at inside linebacker for the Trojans, though safety and even some offense could be on the table as well. He’s just a dynamic player with an understanding of the game an always around the ball. He is the nation’s No. 119 overall prospect.
Three-star offensive tackle Mason Murphy is a big addition to this USC class, both as a 6-foot-5, 290-pound offensive lineman, as well as one of the prospect who had a really impressive offseason and positioned himself to potentially make an earlier impact at the next level than thought just a year ago. Murphy, out of San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra, impressed the USC coaches at a camp in the summer of 2019 and earned an offer following his performance. He made his commitment this past spring, helping start a run of March commitments for the Trojans. Murphy is a true tackle and brings solid technique to the position. He’s another player in this class that has no problem playing and blocking all the way through the echo of the whistle. He is the nation’s No. 381 overall prospect.
Four-star athlete Prophet Brown could be a great running back in college, but he’ll head to USC as a cornerback to play for coach Donte Williams. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Brown is from Elk Grove (Calif.) Monterey Hills and is an absolute speedster. He ran a sub-11 100 meters as a sophomore and that speed shows up on tape. With Chris Steele and Olaijah Griffin potentially entering their third and fourth seasons at USC in 2021, the Trojans could soon be looking for new starters at both cornerback positions and Brown could be a guy who pushes for time fairly early in his career. He’s the nation’s No. 159 overall prospect.
Four-star defensive back Jaylin Smith comes to USC out of Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany, as the Trojans have recruited the school hard over the past year. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete will join the defensive backfield likely as a nickel corner, a position that works with the safeties in this defense. Smith is the kind of athlete that shines both ways in high school and he’s comfortable playing in the slot. Smith is part of a really good defensive backfield the Trojans will sign in this class. He’s the nation’s No. 328 overall prospect.
USC will be looking to replace both starting safeties soon and help could be coming quickly in the form of four-star prospect Xamarion Gordon. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety out of Downey (Calif.) Warren is a big-time hitter and combines that with good coverage ability. He’s a guy who can lead a defense in tackles from the safety position and he’ll bring the attitude that these defensive coaches are looking for on that side of the ball. He held some major offers during his recruiting process and will be another needed body added to that defensive backfield after the Trojans didn’t sign any cornerbacks or safeties in the 2020 class. He’s the nation’s No. 315 overall prospect.
So much has been made of the second quarterback spot in this USC recruiting class it’s been sometimes easy to forget that Moss has been locked in since the beginning of June and rock solid in his commitment and as a leader of this class. The 6-foot-2, 197-pound, four-star prospect from Mission Hills (Calif.) Alemany might not wow with huge arm strength or dynamic running ability, but he has absolutely everything you need in a quarterback. His release is incredibly quick and he’s accurate with the ball. What helps set him apart is his understanding of the game and knowledge of the position. He’s also terrific working in the pocket, avoiding traffic and keeping his eyes downfield. Moss has the ability to be special in this USC Air Raid offense. He’s the nation’s No. 71 overall prospect.
Four-star safety Anthony Beavers was the first big recruiting win for USC’s new defensive coaches, as cornerbacks coach Donte Williams led the charge in flipping him from his early Oregon commitment. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound is another big hitter added to the secondary and depending on how he fills out, potentially has the ability to drop down a level and play linebacker. He’s the nation’s No. 218 overall prospect.
USC set out to take two quarterbacks in this class and while the road to get there wasn’t always smooth, the Trojans arrived safe and sound, as four-star Jaxson Dart committed to USC on signing day. The Draper (Utah) Corner Canyon signal-caller was the biggest riser in high school football this season, using an unbelievable senior year to raise himself from an unranked prospect to a top-10 quarterback. He joins Miller Moss as USC quarterbacks in this class and settles some uneasiness caused by a late decommitment from Jake Garcia. When the Trojans went all in on Dart, likely knowing it could lead to a split by Garcia, they had to make it count, and offensive coordinator Graham Harrell and staff were able to get it done. Dart threw for 4,691 yards and 67 touchdowns against just four interceptions, while rushing for 1,195 yards and 12 scores on the ground. He’s the nation’s No. 103 overall prospect.
Four-star Calen Bullock is a silky-smooth athlete from Pasadena (Calif.) Muir who could play cornerback, safety or wide receiver at the next level. He’s likely a safety sat USC, so he’ll need to add some weight to his 6-foot-2, 175-pound frame, but his ball skills are terrific for a player on the defensive side of the ball. He’s a playmaker in every sense, able to go get the ball either as an offensive or defensive player. He understands how to read the field and an offense and he’s very good with the ball in his hands. He’s the nation’s No. 199 overall prospect.
Four-star defensive tackle Jay Toia committed to USC all the way back in June of 2018, and did so along with high school teammate Stanley Ta’ufo’ou. At the time, Toia was an unknown prospect who could play along the offensive or defensive lines, but he’s developed into a 6-foot-2, 315-pound wrecking ball of a defensive tackle — though he could probably play on the offensive line in college as well. Toia is a big, powerful interior linemen with a good motor and while he looked at a few other programs later in the process, it’s clear that defensive line coach Vic So’oto is fired up about keeping him in this class. He’s the nation’s No. 182 overall prospect.
USC officially welcomed a major transfer late last week that head coach Clay Helton included as part of his recruiting class, as defensive tackle Ishmael Sopsher announced that he will be heading to USC after leaving Alabama. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive tackle was the No. 47 overall prospect in the 2019 recruiting class but played sparingly at Alabama as a true freshman and not much early this season. He entered the transfer portal in October and USC defensive line coach Vic So’oto and the Trojans were able to reel him in. If he is eligible to play in 2021, it’s likely that he’ll have a great opportunity to earn his way into the starting lineup.
List of USC’s 2021 signees
QB Miller Moss
QB Jaxson Dart
RB Brandon Campbell
WR Kyron Ware-Hudson
WR Joseph Manjack IV
WR Michael Jackson III
TE Michael Trigg
TE Lake McRee
OL Ty Buchanan
OL Maximus Gibbs
OL Mason Murphy
DT Jay Toia
DE Colin Mobley
LB Julien Simon
CB Prophet Brown
CB Jaylin Smith
S Xamarion Gordon
S Anthony Beavers
S Calen Bullock
DT Ishmael Sopsher