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USC early signing day class recap

USC signed 18 prospects during the first day of the early signing period. Despite two flips and a couple important additions, it felt like a relatively quiet day for the Trojans, finishing with the No. 21 class in the nation.

The rocky season led to something of a rocky recruiting cycle, compared to the way Clay Helton and his staff have finished their previous classes. But while there were some significant misses along the way, there are still some impact playmakers in this group. And the Trojans have a real opportunity to add their biggest names in the coming weeks, as Helton left room to go after a number of prospects before February’s signing day.

Quarterback

SigneesKedon Slovis (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain)

Trojans had to bring in at least one quarterback in this class simply due to numbers, as the possibility of Matt Fink or Jack Sears transferring still exists. Clay Helton and staff went in on the relatively unknown Slovis this past May and the quarterback only needed a few days to contemplate the offer before committing. In two years as a starter, Slovis totaled 55 touchdowns against just six interceptions.

What’s left for February? It would be a surprise at this point if USC found any other quarterback targets to chase in this class. And the Trojans already appear set at the position for the 2020 class as Bryce Young, the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat quarterback, has announced his commitment to USC.

Running back

SigneesKenan Christon (San Diego/Madison)

The speedster was a big recruiting win for USC in this cycle and the Trojans were able to hold onto his commitment despite a change in his position coach, going from Tim Drevno to Mike Jinks.

What’s left for February? Longtime commit Jordan Wilmore did not sign today, although he did not announce a decommitment from USC either. If Wilmore waits to sign in February, the Trojans will likely stay on him, as signing two running backs in this class was the plan from the start and Wilmore is a terrific prospect.

Wide receiver

SigneesDrake London (Moorpark, Calif./Moorpark), Munir McClain (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./JSerra)

USC added a pair of explosive and big—London is 6-5, McClain is 6-4—playmakers at wide receiver. London will also play basketball at USC, while McClain is the brother of 2018 signee Abdul-Malik McClain.

What’s left for February? Arguably the two biggest names left on the board for USC are wide receivers Bru McCoy and Kyle Ford. Both will announce their decisions on Jan. 5. The Trojans already hold a commitment from wide receiver Puka Nacua, who said this month that he won’t sign until the February signing day.

Tight end

SigneesEthan Rae (Anaheim Hills, Calif./Orange Lutheran), Jude Wolfe (Laguna Hills, Calif./St. John Bosco)

USC needed two tight ends in this class and it got a pair of terrific local prospects in Rae and Wolfe.

What’s left for February? Nothing at this spot. USC is thin at tight end, especially considering the ongoing injury status of Daniel Imatorbhebhe. Both of these signees could see action as true freshmen, but it would be surprising to see the Trojans chase a third tight end in this class.

Offensive line

SigneesTilini Livai (Torrance, Calif./Narbonne), Gino Quinones (Ewa Beach, Hawaii/St. Louis), Jason Rodriguez (Oak Hills, Calif./Oak Hills)

Simply put, this was not the offensive line class USC wanted when it began recruiting for the 2019 cycle. After signing just two offensive linemen in 2018, the Trojans needed to make a splash here and adding just three bodies—two and a half really, as Quinones could wind up on the defensive line—doesn’t feel like a win. Rodriguez is the headliner and Livai is an intriguing prospect, but the Trojans missed out on Jonah Tauanu’u, who signed with Oregon, and Sean Rhyan, who signed with UCLA—two prospects that felt like eventual USC signees for huge chunks of this recruiting cycle.

What’s left for February? Enokk Vimahi becomes a must-get prospect and the Trojans look to be in good shape there. It wouldn’t be surprising if a new target or two popped up, or USC was active in looking for a graduate transfer. The 2017 class was a phenomenal haul, but if the Trojans don’t add a few more bodies in this class, they run the risk of getting caught short up front in the future.

Defensive line

SigneesDejon Benton (Oakland, Calif./Pittsburg), Nick Figueroa (San Bernardino, Calif./Riverside City College), Drake Jackson (Corona, Calif./Centennial)

Figueroa and Jackson were massive recruiting wins—especially Jackson, a longtime USC lean who looked like he could have signed with Arizona State today. As with the offensive line, there were a few misses along the defensive line that keep this group from being exactly what USC needed at this spot. The Trojans missed on defensive tackle Siaki Ika, so they turned to Dejon Benton, flipping him from his Washington State commitment. And Washington was able to grab Laiatu Latu just before signing day, when it appeared he would eventually wind up with the Trojans.

What’s left for February? Again, as with the offensive line, a new target or two here wouldn’t be a surprise.

Linebacker

SigneesRalen Goforth (Long Beach, Calif./St. John Bosco), Stanley Ta’ufo’ou (Simi Valley, Calif./Grace Brethren), Maninoa Tufono (Halawa, Hawaii/Punahou)

The Trojans didn’t need a big haul at linebacker after signing so many talented prospects last year, but this is a good group of capable prospects who could fill in at several spots.

What’s left for February? The Trojans are likely finished at this spot for 2019 and will now put their full effort into recruiting 2020 standout Justin Flowe.

Defensive back

SigneesBriton Allen (Orlando, Fla./IMG), Trey Davis (Federal Way, Wash./Federal Way), Max Williams (Carson, Calif./Serra)

USC desperately needed to add at least one safety in this class after so many departures at the position last season and received a late flip from former Georgia Tech commit Briton Allen. There are a couple question marks at cornerback, as Davis was an unknown before his commitment to USC and Williams, while talented enough, is recovering from an ACL tear. Helton was extremely high on Davis during his signing day press conference, so that will be an interesting prospect to watch his development.

What’s left for February? Former USC commitment Chris Steele is still available and the Trojans hope they can pull him back into this class.



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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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