The USC Trojans continued their positive recruiting momentum on Friday evening, grabbing a commitment from big, and big-time, offensive lineman Maximus Gibbs.
The 6-foot-6, 360-pound offensive lineman from local power St. John Bosco is a three-star prospect, but held offers from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon and others.
Gibbs initially cut his list off offers down to a final seven schools last weekend before announcing earlier this week that he was ready to make a commitment. Gibbs’ final seven schools included Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Nebraska, Texas A&M and USC. He originally was looking to take some visits, but clearly felt comfortable enough with the hometown Trojans to announce his commitment.
This is another commitment for USC that helps in several ways. First, it sends another massive offensive lineman to USC. The Trojans are caught shorthanded along the offensive line right now thanks to a few injuries at the position and some recruiting misses.
Three-star 2016 signee Nathan Smith could have been a redshirt senior this season but had to medically retire in March of 2018. The Trojans turned in a phenomenal effort recruiting the offensive line in 2017 – signing five linemen who have all started at USC – but did not back those efforts up in the 2018 or 2019 classes.
USC signed just Liam Douglass and Justin Dedich in the 2018 class, as the Trojans missed out late on Penei Sewell and Jackson Carman, who have become starters and stars at Oregon and Clemson. And USC signed just two more offensive linemen in the 2019 class, in Jason Rodriguez and Gino Quinones, as the Trojans missed on Jonah Tauanu’u and junior college lineman Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, who signed with Oregon, as well as eventual UCLA signee Sean Rhyan and others. USC did sign graduate transfer Drew Richmond, but lost signee Tilini Livai due to academics.
Those missteps left USC shy on depth along the offensive line this spring and heavily reliant on that 2017 group, which features Alijah Vera-Tucker, Brett Neilon, Jalen McKenzie and Andrew Vorhees. But help appears to be on the way, as the Trojans loaded up with six offensive linemen in the 2020 class, and already have two commitments along the line in 2021, as Gibbs joins fellow three-star tackle Mason Murphy (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./JSerra).
This also helps USC in its quest to build a fence around Los Angeles, and keep homegrown prospects headed to the Coliseum. Gibbs is a well-known recruit in the region, having been one of the stars of the Netflix series ‘Coach Snoop,’ which documented a season in the life of Snoop’s Steelers as part of the Snoop Youth Football League. It’s not the first time rapper Snoop Dogg has been mentioned along with USC, as he was one of the visible celebrities on the sideline during USC’s dynastic run in the early 2000’s.
Gibbs is the second player from the Snoop Youth team to commit to USC this week, as four-star defensive back Anthony Beavers (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) announced his commitment on Wednesday. Gibbs also might not be the last USC commitment from that team in this class, as the Trojans are also in the hunt for four-star safety Jaylin Smith (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany).
Gibbs is commitment No. 8 for USC’s 2021 recruiting class, as the Trojans continue to hold onto the No. 1 class in the Pac-12 and are climbing the national rankings as well.
Five-star quarterback Jake Garcia (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) is the headliner, while the Trojans have piled up five four-star commitments, after signing just two in the 2020 class. That group consists of linebacker, and Gibbs’ high school teammate, Ma’a Gaoteote (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), defensive tackle Jay Toia (Simi Valley, Calif./Grace Brethren), running back Brandon Campbell (Katy, Texas/Katy), safety Xamarion Gordon (Downey, Calif./Warren) and Beavers.
The Trojans have added commitments from Gordon, Beavers and now Gibbs in April, as an increased focus on recruiting from assistant coaches and a revamped recruiting department has USC moving back to its old ways on the trail.
USC has made recruiting St. John Bosco a priority (as has virtually every other program) in recent years. Cornerback Chris Steele, linebacker Ralen Goforth, tight end Jude Wolfe and defensive tackle Kobe Pepe are all former Braves. USC also has two walk-ons who are St. John Bosco products, in punter Will Rose and linebacker Spencer Gilbert, as well as two more who will join the program this season, in running back Matt Colombo and linebacker Danny Lockhart.
The Trojans will certainly keep their focus on St. John Bosco moving forward as well, as USC coaches will continue to recruit Clemson wide receiver commit Beaux Collins in the 2021 class. In the 2022 class, offensive tackle Earnest Green, defensive end Nathan Burrell and running back Rayshon Luke are top targets.