USC once again mined the transfer portal in an attempt to add some instant impact playmaking to the wide receiver position. The Trojans picked up their fourth receiver addition of this offseason via the portal, with the commitment of Jake Smith on Tuesday.
Smith is a dynamic, 6-foot, 200-pound wideout who elected to transfer out of Texas after catching 48 passes for 568 yards and nine touchdowns in two seasons. He was limited to seven games last season due to injury. He suffered a foot injury during the first practice of spring ball and sat out the remainder of practices. Last season, a hamstring injury cost him the season’s first two games and then tweaked it again later in the season and missed another game.
Smith was a high four-star prospect in the 2019 class and the nation’s No. 49 overall prospect out of Arizona, whose recruitment came down to Texas and USC.
Ehlinger With A DIME🔥— PointsBet Sportsbook (@PointsBetUSA) November 29, 2019
He hits the Freshman Jake Smith and Texas increases their lead over Texas Tech!pic.twitter.com/KZeZZ37KIY
He is a major weapon with the ball in his hands after the catch and has elite speed and quickness. He’ll have an opportunity to contribute quickly with USC clearly looking for help at receiver. Drake London returns as a bonafide star and likely the best wide receiver in the conference. Bru McCoy and Gary Bryant Jr. both showed real flashes last season and should be expected to contribute more heavily this season. Hopes are high that Kyle Ford can return to form after recovering from another ACL injury, though he is all potential with little proven at this level to this point. It also might not be too early to set some expectations for true freshman Michael Jackson III, who was terrific during the spring.
Smith is the fourth pass catcher brought in by USC this offseason. Former Colorado receiver K.D. Nixon enrolled in time for spring ball but did not make a major impact. This fall, USC will add former Memphis wide receiver Tahj Washington, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound speedster and another player who can be very dangerous with the ball in his hands, and big hybrid tight end/wide receiver Malcolm Epps, a former Texas Longhorn who has played both tight end and outside receiver at this level.
I’ve decided to continue my education and football career at USC! Coach Helton I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity. I can’t wait to get to LA and become a Trojan!— Jake Smith (@jakesmith27) July 6, 2021
Fight on✌🏼🌴 pic.twitter.com/nK323SLBPL
Smith is also the fourth former Texas Longhorn to make his way to USC, joining Epps as well as running back Keaontay Ingram and safety Xavion Alford.
He has some punt return experience, which could be helpful considering the Trojans will need to replace Tyler Vaughns and Amon-Ra St. Brown and are very limited when it comes to experience punt return options.
The addition of Smith might lighten the load on what is needed at the wide receiver position in the 2022 class, with both Smith and Washington having multiple years left in their careers. But the Trojans might be ready to add another standout to the future roster, with four-star prospect Isaiah Sategna (Fayetteville, Ark./Fayetteville) set to announce between Oregon and USC on Sunday.