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Recapping USC’s 2022 class as the recruiting dead period ends

June 1 is here and with it comes unofficial and official visits for the class of 2022, as well as unofficial visits for 2023 and 2024 prospects. With so many prospects set to hit the USC campus over the next few days and extending throughout the month and into the rest of the summer, it’s interesting to look back at what was happening the last time recruits were able to visit campus, way back in March of 2020.

 

USC went into the dead period fresh off a commitment from offensive lineman Mason Murphy, who committed on March 11, the day before USC’s spring ball was postponed and ultimately canceled, with players and coaches told to leave the facility and return home.

Murphy’s commitment was the fourth pledge the Trojans held at the time in the 2021 class. Interestingly, he joined three prospects who might not ever play a snap for the Trojans. Committed before him were quarterback Jake Garcia, who signed with Miami, linebacker Ma’a Gaoteote, who signed with Michigan State, and defensive tackle Jay Toia, who signed with USC but recently entered the transfer portal and will explore his options with visits to other schools.

Early commitments can be difficult to stick, which doesn’t bode well for the commitments already in USC’s 2022 recruiting class. But countering that concept is what was going on under the surface at that time. The new defensive coaches had hit the ground running and USC was coming off hosting a major recruiting weekend of unofficial visitors who were on hand for the Trojans’ last-second men’s basketball win against UCLA. There was a real sense of momentum building on the recruiting trail and the Trojans capitalized that with a major run of commitments. By early June, USC held commitments from 16 prospects, including key targets such as running back Brandon Campbell, wide receiver Michael Jackson III, linebacker Julien Simon and defensive backs Xamarion Gordon, Anthony Beavers and Calen Bullock.

It would not be surprising to see another summer run take place with campus open, especially when the Trojans can now start really impacting the 2023 and 2024 classes.

https://twitter.com/USC_FB/status/1399522824373555201?s=20

Already the June push kicked off a day early, with wide receiver Kevin Green Jr. (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany) announcing his commitment to USC on the final day of May. Green plays both ways in high school, but he’ll head to USC as a wide receiver. Alemany has become a major hunting ground for USC over the past few classes. Quarterback Miller Moss and defensive back Jaylin Smith came out of Alemany and USC has its sights set on multiple defensive backs in the 2022 and 2023 classes

There likely won’t be many days at all in June without visitors on campus for USC, and the Trojans have assembled a staff of assistant coaches and support personnel that should be ready to take advantage of that. USC won’t be the only school eager to host visitors, but it is one of the programs nationally that is set to capitalize based on how well the coaches have recruited during the dead period and how many top prospects have shown enough interest in USC to either express interest in taking an official visit or have set one up for this month.

Heading into June, USC holds commitments from a six-member recruiting class.

The top commitment is five-star cornerback Domani Jackson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), the single must-get defensive player for USC in the 2022 class. He’s what Justin Flowe was in the 2020 class and Korey Foreman was in the 2021 class. Getting him committed as early as he did was huge for USC. Alabama is going to put together a major run at him, but USC will likely look to get Jackson on campus as often as possible with recruiting back open to lock in that connection. And any communication from Jackson that looks even remotely like the following tweet, is a very, very good sign for USC.

https://twitter.com/domanijackson1/status/1399538172573327362?s=20

Joining Jackson in this class and in the USC defensive backfield down the road is four-star cornerback Fabian Ross (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman). Ross was another major recruiting win for future position coach Donte Williams. At 6-foot with a solid build and good athleticism, Ross is a guy who could play multiple spots in the secondary. USC needs a few cornerbacks capable of playing early in this class and the Trojans already have two in Jackson and Ross.

Quarterback is an interesting position for USC in the 2022 class. The Trojans looked to have gone way outside the box when they put a push on for Devin Brown (Queen Creek, Ariz./Queen Creek) over recruits they’d offered earlier and were much closer to campus. But Brown pulled the trigger on the offer and has been steadily climbing the recruiting rankings. He’s now a four-star prospect and a top-300 recruit with the potential to continue rising. He’ll have a chance to really prove himself against the top quarterbacks in the country in about a month, at The Opening and the Elite 11 Finals.

Four-star tight end Keyan Burnett (Anaheim, Calif./Servite) is a nice, local addition to the class. At 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, with excellent hands and a physical bent to his game, he has all the size and ability to play that hybrid tight end role the USC coaches are looking for. He’ll add another nice piece to the roster, following behind 2021 signees Michael Trigg and Lake McRee.

USC signed just one inside linebacker in the 2021 class and the Trojans will be after a few in the 2022 class, as well as potentially via the transfer portal to add to the immediate roster. Three-star inside linebacker Ty Kana (Katy, Tex./Katy) is a prospect Todd Orlando and Craig Naivar were familiar with from their time at Texas. Not surprisingly for a player Orlando and Naivar clearly like a lot, Kana’s two best attributes are his abilities to run and hit. He brings a lot of speed to the position and he is a true tackling machine. He’ll be on campus for an official visit soon and hopefully the trip convinces Kana he made the right decision in his commitment.

Green is commitment six as of now, and that’s a nice get for USC. He held offers from Arizona State, Nebraska, Oregon and others, and he’s more talented than his three-star composite ranking. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound receiver is dynamic with the ball in his hand after the catch and he runs very solid routes. He can be a contributor for a USC team that typically loads up on the bigger, outside receivers.

There are a lot of prospects who are looking forward to taking all of their visits and taking their time with the recruiting process, but the transfer portal is impacting high school recruiting in a big way and there’s a chance a number of recruits will want to get a decision made maybe a little more quickly than they would have otherwise since spots could ultimately be at a premium depending on things out of their control.



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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