By Johnny Curren
Here’s a look at some of the key news and notes that have come out over the last week in the world of USC football recruiting.
USC dishes out two new offers
While the 2016 campaign on the field is in full swing, and the Trojans have been working hard to turn their season around, it’s safe to say that the USC coaching staff hasn’t been slacking off when it comes to recruiting. In fact, Clay Helton and Co. reportedly handed out two new offers this past week.
The first of those offers was reported by Class of 2017 running back Cyrus Habibi-Likio (Mountain View, Calif./Saint Francis) on Wednesday. A one-time Washington State commit who opted to open up his recruitment recently, he originally caught the Trojans coaching staff’s eye this past summer at a satellite camp. At 6-foot-1 and 197 pounds, Habibi-Likio is currently a tailback prospect, but it’s not hard to imagine him potentially growing into fullback down the line if he adds some weight. Holding a total of over a dozen offers, he recently took an official visit to Utah, and he’s expressed interest in checking out the USC campus sometime in the near future.
The second Trojans offer of the week went out on Friday to a name that has just started to emerge in recruiting circles, Class of 2017 defensive tackle Brandon Pili (Portland, Ore./Westview). The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Pili moved from Anchorage, Alaska to Portland this past offseason without holding a single offer. Having shined on the field through the early goings of this season, however, he now holds an offer not only from USC, but Colorado, Hawaii and Oregon State as well, and more are sure to be on the way. Still new to the process, Pili isn’t leaning any particular way, but his recruitment will be interesting to follow as his stock continues to rise.
Corral, Echols shine
A number of USC commits and targets came up with big performances this past weekend, but none was more impressive than the show that Class of 2018 Trojans pledge Matt Corral put on. The Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian quarterback was flat-out stellar in the Lions’ 63-49 victory over Newbury Park (Calif.), as he completed 19 of 29 passes for a school-record 510 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 86 yards.
From the Class of 2017, USC commit Hunter Echols – who is one of the Trojans’ hardest working recruiters – had the best night of his senior campaign so far in Los Angeles (Calif.) Cathedral’s 40-0 victory over Santa Fe Springs (Calif.) St. Paul. The athletic defensive end compiled 11 tackles with three tackles-for-loss including 1.5 sacks, and he also came up with a pick-six.
We will have more of the statistical numbers that USC’s commits and targets racked in our normal Tuesday feature.
Neither Corral nor Echols made it to the Coliseum on Saturday for USC’s clash with Colorado, and while it wasn’t a particularly loaded list of prospects that was on hand, there were still some big names there, including uncommitted Class of 2017 safety K.J. Jarrell (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro).
The 6-foot-3 safety also visited USC this past summer, and he’s been in near-constant contact with the Trojans staff ever since. Holding close to 20 offers, USC is battling the likes of Arizona State, Cal, Colorado, Nebraska and Washington for his services.
In addition to Jarrell, it’s also interesting to note that all three of USC’s current offensive line commits from the Class of 2017 were in attendance in Brett Neilon (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita Catholic), Alijah Vera-Tucker (Oakland, Calif./Bishop O’Dowd) and Andrew Vorhees (Kingsburg, Calif./Kingsburg).
Some other prospects who took in the game include Class of 2017 Florida cornerback commit Elijah Blades (Pasadena, Calif./Muir) and Arizona safety commit Rhedi Short (Los Angeles, Calif./Cathedral), Class of 2018 linebacker Merlon Robertson (Gardena, Calif./Serra), Class of 2019 defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (Los Angeles, Calif./Dorsey), and from the JUCO ranks, defensive lineman Brandon Lawless (Van Nuys, Calif./L.A. Valley College), a current West Virginia commit.