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USC Recruiting Roundup: A cornerback target, more offers, and a new quarterback controversy

USC is setting its sights on a four-star cornerback, another Trojan target has set a commitment date, several offers went out in Washington and a quarterback commit is caught up in some controversy.

Another corner looking likely

USC cornerbacks coach Donte Williams was seen as a major addition to the Trojans’ recruiting efforts when he was brought in from Oregon and Williams has delivered on the trail so far.

The Trojans have commitments from five four-star defensive backs and likely aren’t done at Williams’ cornerback position.

Four-star cornerback Philip Riley (Valrico, Fla./Bloomingdale) announced his decommitment from Notre Dame this past Friday and USC is now likely in the driver’s seat for the 6-foot, 190-pound prospect.

Riley spent his first two high school seasons at Lakewood (Wash.) Lakes High School before moving to Florida for his junior year. His recruitment has bounced around a bit, as he reportedly named Clemson and Florida State his leader at various points, nearly committed to Virginia Tech, committed to Notre Dame in early May, decommitted this past Friday and is trending heavily to USC now.

Riley is an impressive cornerback with high football IQ and plays with a chip on his shoulder.

While this would technically be USC grabbing a Florida prospect, Riley’s background on the West Coast means there’s some familiarity with the Trojans, especially as USC was Riley’s first Pac-12 offer. He’s also spent some time with FSP, a training and 7-on-7 program based in Washington, and USC coaches are working on building a pipeline there, as it is home to many of Washington’s top prospects. Linebacker commit Julien Simon (Tacoma, Wash./Lincoln) is an FSP prospect, and USC targeted a number of others in the 2020 class and beyond.

If he does ultimately commit to USC, Riley would become another strong recruiter for the Trojans, as he consistently worked to push Notre Dame for other prospects while he was committed to the Fighting Irish.

He’d join four-star cornerbacks Prophet Brown (Elk Grove, Calif./Monterey Trail) and Jaylin Smith (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany), who are already committed. USC would then look to potentially round out the cornerback class with four-star prospect Ceyair Wright (Los Angeles/Loyola)–the No. 71 overall prospect and one of the top uncommitted recruits left on the board for the Trojans.

Providing a possible hint into Riley’s current thinking, 10 of his last 17 follows on twitter have been USC related, and an eleventh is someone who makes commitment edit graphics.

Trojans back in Washington with more offers

Sticking with the FSP cornerback theme, USC extended an offer to 2023 cornerback Caleb Presley (Sammamish, Wash./Eastside Catholic) last week. Presley checks in at 6-foot, 170 pounds already and could be on track to become one of the best defensive backs in the region for his class. It’s his first Pac-12 offer, and we’ve seen how important that can become down the road.

USC also extended an offer to 2022 offensive lineman Vega Ioane (Graham, Wash./Graham-Kapowsin), a 6-foot-4, 270-pound prospect who could play guard or tackle. He is the fourth Washington offensive lineman offered by USC in the 2022 class.

Tight end target sets commitment date

USC is looking to round out its collection of pass catchers in this class, and four-star tight end Michael Trigg (Tampa, Fla./Carrollwood Day) is a major target. The comparisons between Trigg and former USC standout wide receiver Mike Williams are obvious, as both are from Tampa, both are/were two-sport high school standouts in football and basketball, and both are/were matchup nightmares for opposing defensive backs.

While Trigg, the nation’s No. 152 overall prospect, is listed as a tight end, he often lines up out wide and serves as a big receiver. He’s a physical mismatch for just about any high school cornerback and his basketball ability often comes through on the football field.

Trigg is down to a final three of LSU, South Carolina and USC, and announced that he will make his commitment on October 11. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder plans to play both basketball and football in college and USC is recruiting him for both sports. USC has done well to stay in the game with Trigg and has the ability to use Drake London’s path, having played both sports just last season. Trojan recruits were out in force with messages recruiting Trigg when he announced his commitment date, including one from quarterback commit Miller Moss (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany).

A big play for a running back target

USC is still searching for a second running back in this class as the Trojans would like to pair somebody with four-star commit Brandon Campbell (Katy, Tex./Katy). While Byron Cardwell (San Diego/Morse) is the big in-state target, the Trojans are still in the mix back in Texas with Alton McCaskill (Conroe, Tex./Oak Ridge). The three-star back might not be one of the biggest recruits in the country, but the 6-foot-1, 200-pounder provided the biggest play possible in his most recent game, icing a win with a 99-yard run late in the fourth quarter.

Korey Foreman staying home, and on the move

No. 1 overall prospect Korey Foreman (Corona, Calif./Centennial) announced last week that he now plans to remain at Centennial and play his senior season in the spring. Originally, following the announcement that California high school football would be postponed until January, Foreman was one of the first recruits to announce that he would skip the season by enrolling early at his school of choice.

That should be good news for the Trojans, as USC now could have the ability to get Foreman on campus for a visit in January (provided the NCAA does not again extend the dead period that is now in place until Jan. 1). But Foreman is very serious about the SEC–Georgia and LSU in particular–and he was once again on campus in Baton Rouge over the weekend.

This is the second trip Foreman has taken to LSU in fairly quick succession and these visits make a statement, as Foreman is not allowed any contact with coaching staffs or to experience anything as a recruit during this dead period. Continuing to travel that distance to spend time with other LSU targets or commits sends a strong message that Foreman is serious about the Tigers.

It’s evident from talking to him that Foreman has struggled with this decision and he does want to take his time when it comes to making an announcement. After decommiting from Clemson already during this process, he does not want to go through a situation where he is second-guessing a second commitment.

Foreman is a massive recruiting battle for the Trojans in this class and someone this defensive staff could use to generate a ton of momentum. USC has missed on the last couple of five-star local defensive prospects, and Foreman offers another chance for the Trojans.

Garcia’s eligibility under investigation

USC quarterback commit Jake Garcia (Valdosta, Ga./Valdosta) transferred from California to Georgia in order to play a full football season before enrolling early at USC. Already, those plans have been derailed.

After starting the first game of the season, Garcia sat out the team’s second game due to a hamstring injury, according to head coach Rush Propst. But this past week, reports surfaced that Garcia’s eligibility is under investigation by the Georgia High School Association. The central focus of the issue stems from an interview Garcia’s father gave to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, where it was revealed that Garcia’s parents dissolved their marriage with the purpose of allowing Garcia to transfer, and they plan to resume their marriage when the season is over.

Already, Garcia has missed two games, though Propst has told media that it has been related to the hamstring injury. Valdosta plays again on October 2 and there is no reported timeline on the investigation into Garcia’s eligibility.

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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