June 1 restarted the recruiting calendar as far as recruiting visits are concerned, but this past weekend was the first opportunity for USC to host official visitors and the Trojans brought in a load of talent and high-priority targets.
Five-star offensive lineman Devon Campbell (Arlington, Tex./Bowie) was the highest-rated prospect in attendance, as the nation’s No. 8 overall prospect and No. 1 offensive guard. There are likely going to be some fierce recruiting battles between USC and Texas in this class and for the foreseeable future, and the 6-foot-3, 310-pound Campbell might turn into one of those. Texas will be difficult to beat as the hometown team, and Campbell will still look hard at Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and others. This one is far from over after just this visit, but USC did well to impress Campbell and hopefully make a lasting impact.
Another Texas offensive lineman was in town as well, in the form of 6-foot-4, 265-pound Austin Kawecki (Frisco, Tex./Lebanon Trail). The three-star tackle picked up an offer from USC in late-March and it didn’t take long for USC to make an impression. He has offers from and interest in schools closer to home, including Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, but USC has signed offensive linemen from Texas in each of the past two classes and Kawecki could make it three in a row.
While offensive line is clearly one of the most important position in this class for USC to land a couple of difference makers, running back isn’t too far behind. USC lost two backs this offseason, Vavae Malepeai is entering his final season and the Trojans could lose Keaontay Ingram a year early to the NFL if he has a standout season.
The Trojans are aiming high at the position, going after the nation’s No. 2 overall back in Gavin Sawchuk (Littleton, Colo./Valor Christian). The No. 42 overall prospect has everything you want in a tailback, including pure speed and the ability to help in the passing game, but he’s also a top target for a number of other power programs, including Oklahoma, Ohio State and Notre Dame. He’d already taken a self-guided tour to USC during the extended dead period, so the Trojans did well to get him back on campus for an official visit.
Sawchuk wasn’t the only running back target to visit USC this weekend. Fellow 2022 four-star Jovantae Barnes (Las Vegas/Desert Pines) made it to campus on an unofficial visit, along with a large contingent of Las Vegas prospects, which included big-time 2023 wide receiver DeAndre Moore (Las Vegas/Desert Pines), a five-star prospect and the No. 33 overall recruit in his class.
Las Vegas prospects will be a major focus for USC in the 2022 and 2023 classes, as well as going forward, with a large contingent from Bishop Gorman and Desert Pines drawing interest already. Big 6-foot-5, 310-pound lineman Eugene Brooks (Las Vegas/Desert Pines) became the latest added to the list when he grabbed an offer from the Trojans over the weekend.
A couple of Texas teammates made official visits this weekend as well, in USC linebacker commit Ty Kana and wide receiver target Nicholas Anderson (Katy, Tex./Katy). Kana is an extremely productive linebacker at 6-foot-2, 210-pounds with tremendous speed and instincts at the position. He’s a three star prospect, but it feels like USC got in on the ground level with Todd Orlando’s knowledge of him while coaching at Texas, and Kana could see his ranking rise with what could be a big senior season ahead of him.
It feels right! 🙏🏻 My momma heart is ready to support my #42 Katy Tiger going off to USC in January. FightOn my boy! ❤️💛 ✌🏼🏈 ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/6VJ8cUR3u9— Tiffany Kana (@tiffany_kana) June 7, 2021
Anderson looks like he could be leaning toward Notre Dame and also has Oregon and Penn State official visits set up. The Trojans are chasing a number of wide receivers right now in this 2022 class and at this point it’s tough to see a clear path as to how they’ll all shake out. The 2021 class was somewhat similar, with an early commitment from Quay Davis falling through and the late addition of Kyron Ware-Hudson. Fellow Texas wide receiver DJ Allen (Gladewater, Tex./Gladewater) was an anticipated official visitor as well, and USC also hosted four-star prospect Shazz Preston (Saint James, La./St. James). Preston, a 6-foot, 190-pound receiver, is a real talent at receiver, checking in as the nation’s No. 67 overall prospect. There is a connection with Jeff Martin at USC, which will help keep the Trojans involved following a very positive visit. But hometown LSU is chasing hard and power programs in Alabama, Georgia, Texas and others are in the mix as well.
Beautiful day on the West Coast. 😎 pic.twitter.com/oZC8aXJSkl— Shawn preston (@Shawnpreston25) June 5, 2021
Rounding out the list of official visitors this weekend is four-star cornerback Jaeden Gould (Oradell, NJ/Bergen Catholic). The 6-foot-2, 190-pound prospect has consistently included the Trojans among his top lists of programs, but the prevailing thought has been that he’ll ultimately select a school closer to home. Michigan was the thought for a while, with Penn State taking charge now. But as long as cornerbacks coach Donte Williams is at USC and recruiting Gould, the Trojans are going to have a chance.
USC already holds commitments from two important cornerback targets, in five-star Domani Jackson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) and four-star Fabian Ross (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman), but it’s clear that USC would like to take at least one more at the position, and maybe even a fourth is the numbers are there. Gould and five-star prospect Will Johnson (Grosse Point, Mich./Grosse Point South) are two targets for the Trojans, and Johnson will take an official visit to USC as well (Johnson is also still recruiting Jackson to Michigan, where Johnson is committed).
Gould’s comment about the trip was short, but it’s clear that USC is going to remain in the mix.
😁.— Jaeden Gould (@JaedenGould5) June 6, 2021
USC also hosted one of its top wide receiver targets on an unofficial visit, with four-star Tetairoa McMillan (Anaheim, Calif./Servite) stopping by campus on Saturday to meet with the USC coaches. McMillan said on Sunday that it was his first visit to a college campus and he left impressed by the experience. We’ll have more from McMillan about the visit later today.
An interesting aspect of the weekend for the visitors was the trip to SoFi Stadium for the recruits and some USC players.
One of the recruiting pitches USC is going to push often and really emphasize is the ability for players at USC to use the city of Los Angeles and all the media exposure that comes with that to take advantage of the coming rules regarding Name, Image, Likeness. While SoFi Stadium doesn’t have much to do with USC football compared to the Coliseum, it’s going to host some major pro and college football games in the future and at this point, everything contained in Los Angeles is fair game for USC to use in recruiting players to the campus.