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Trojans toss out a few new offers this week

USC coaches extended a handful of offers in the 2022 class over the past week, and also are set to make a run at a Pac-12 transfer.

Arizona linebacker Tony Fields II announced Wednesday that he’d entered the transfer portal and as soon as he was officially on the list, a bit of a recruiting frenzy began. Boise State, Minnesota, Texas, UCLA, USC and West Virginia were all quick to offer the 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker.

Fields is a three-year starter for the Wildcats, having started 37-straight games, racking up 287 tackles, 17 for losses and 8.5 sacks. He added six pass deflections and two interceptions. Fields is a graduate transfer and would be immediately eligible. He played Will linebacker at Arizona and was set to start inside in Arizona’s 3-4 scheme once again.

USC would seem to have plenty of options at interior linebacker, with Jordan Iosefa, Palaie Gaoteote and Kana’i Mauga returning with plenty of experience. The Trojans also have Solomon Tuliaupupu hoping to return after missing two years and young players in Ralen Goforth, Maninoa Tufono and Tuasivi Nomura having just finished their first seasons.

But Fields would bring a ton of experience and familiarity with USC’s Pac-12 opponents. He’s also a graduate of Las Vegas Desert Pines High School, which is the home of USC 2021 wide receiver commitment Michael Jackson III, USC 2021 defensive line target Tia Savea and 2022 running back target Jovantae Barnes.

Not Done Recruiting 2021 OL

USC signed six offensive linemen in the 2020 class and have three commitments already in the 2021 group, but the Trojans aren’t done trying to add bodies to the line.

USC offensive line coach Tim Drevno looked into Texas yet again this week (both Casey Collier and Courtland Ford signed with USC out of Texas in the 2020 class) to land a potential lineman.

Six-foot-six, 275-pound Jack Leyrer (Dallas/Highland Park) added a USC offer this week, and the Trojans join Baylor, Stanford, Utah, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech and others in offering the three-star tackle.

Leyrer has Ivy League options in Dartmouth, Harvard and Penn, so academics will certainly play a role for him moving forward. With on-campus recruiting shut down through August now, it will be worth monitoring how much of an impact that has on out-of-state players not wanting to commit to places they haven’t visited.

A Handful of 2022 Offers

USC wasn’t able to grab a commitment from four-star lineman Bram Walden (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro) in the 2021 class, but the Trojans made sure they were in early on Walden’s teammate, 2022 offensive guard Parker Brailsford. The 6-foot-2, 265-pound lineman only held offers from New Mexico and Northern Arizona before the Trojans offered this week, but Saguaro has a recent history of churning out Pac-12 players, so getting in early on a player with Brailsford’s potential is never a bad thing.

Heading back to Texas, USC offered 5-star wide receiver Evan Stewart (Frisco, Texas/Liberty). The 6-foot, 175-pound Stewart is the nation’s No. 5 wide receiver and No. 34 overall prospect. USC was able to grab a commitment from standout Texas receiver Quay Davis (Dallas/Skyline) in this 2021 class and the Trojans will be back in the state looking for talent in 2022. Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma and Texas are just a few of the schools that have already offered Stewart.

USC also offered four-star athlete Brenen Thompson (Spearman, Texas/Spearman), the nation’s No. 78 overall prospect and No. 8 athlete. Thompson plays quarterback and defensive back in high school, but he could play wide receiver in college and potentially function in a number of different roles. He possesses tremendous speed and runs the 100 and 200 as well. The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M and others.

Tight end recruiting has looked a little different under this staff, as the Trojans are going after plenty of recruits listed as tight end, but are clearly just big receivers. USC found another one this week, as Karson Gay (Chattanooga, Tenn./Boyd-Buchanan School) added an offer from the Trojans. And USC wasn’t the only one to find the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder, as he also picked up offers from BYU, Florida Atlantic, Ole Miss, Pitt and Tennessee recently. Gay lines up out wide for his high school team and is a matchup nightmare for smaller cornerbacks. But he has the athleticism to take quick screens and operate in traffic. He also shows enough blocking ability to believe he could transition closer to the line of scrimmage at the next level.

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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