While this past week didn’t provide the additions to USC’s 2021 recruiting class that the previous week did, the Trojans still were the beneficiaries of some good news on the trail. There was a massive decommitment that affects USC directly, the Trojans handed out new offers, and USC made the top five for a local defensive back.
The biggest news in the entire recruiting world last week was the decommitment of defensive end Korey Foreman (Corona, Calif./Centennial) from Clemson. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound lineman is the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit and arguably the most important prospect on the board for the Trojans in this class, as he is clearly a tremendous talent and gaining his commitment might singlehandedly put a stop to the narrative that top Southern California prospects are looking to leave the region.
Foreman committed to the Tigers in late January, but the Trojans never gave up in their pursuit. This commitment had plenty to do with Foreman’s wanting to take official visits being at odds with Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney’s policy of committed prospects not being allowed to take official visits elsewhere. It’s a policy that has worked very well for Clemson during this terrific run they are on, as Foreman’s was just the 11th decommitment since the 2012 recruiting class.
Foreman will keep Clemson on his list moving forward, but the Tigers have also increased their pursuit of other defensive ends. Alabama, Georgia, LSU and Oregon are likely to be in the mix as well. But USC is the clear winner here.
Foreman certainly isn’t a sure thing to the Trojans at this point, as he’s likely to take his time with the rest of the process. But having him officially open up his recruitment was the first part of the battle. Now, USC likely has several advantages. It starts with the new defensive staff, which has been and will be relentless in their pursuit of him. Defensive line coach Vic So’oto is one of the up-and-coming recruiting stars at this level and this will be his first huge test at USC. But he won’t go alone, as the Trojans are working hard to make sure that recruits have several contact points during the recruiting process, and Foreman is a prospect who is likely to hear from just about everybody on the coaching staff.
It’ll be interesting to see Foreman’s reaction to how he might fit into this defensive scheme once he has an opportunity to see it firsthand. But he’ll also be hearing all about it from good friend Drake Jackson.
Jackson and Foreman were high school teammates and are very close. The opportunity would exist for the two to play together again for at least one season should Foreman eventually sign with the Trojans.
USC has had opportunities each of the last two seasons to keep must-get defensive prospects at home, but 2019’s No. 2 overall prospect, defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Oaks Christian), and 2020’s No. 6 overall prospect, linebacker Justin Flowe (Upland, Calif./Upland), both signed with Oregon.
Those were stinging losses on the trail, but USC has been active in making necessary changes to its recruiting department and philosophy and early returns have been positive, as the Trojans have the No. 7 recruiting class in the country and commitments from seven four-star prospects after signing just two such prospects in the 2020 class on the way to the nation’s No. 55 class.
Trojans make top 5 for local DB
USC has loaded up at safety in this class, as four-star prospects Anthony Beavers (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne), Xamarion Gordon (Downey, Calif./Warren) and Calen Bullock (Pasadena, Calif./Muir) all committed this month. Several cornerbacks still remain as targets and one of those is D.J. Harvey (Chatsworth, Calif./Sierra Canyon).
Last week, the 5-foot-10, 165-pound corner released his top five schools, which included Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, Texas and USC.
It isn’t the first time that Oregon and USC have been on a top list for a prospect and Harvey isn’t the first prospect who has done so in part because of Trojans cornerback coach Donte Williams. Harvey is a four-star prospect and one of several in-state cornerback targets for USC, along with Jaylin Davies (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) and Ceyair Wright (Los Angeles/Loyola).
New offers extended
USC extended offers to a couple of 2021 prospects recently, as athlete Nathaniel Wiggins (Atlanta/Westlake) and center James Brockermeyer (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal).
Brockermeyer is the nation’s No. 1 center and his brother, Tommy Brockermeyer, is the nation’s No. 4 overall prospect and No. 1 offensive tackle. Their father played at Texas and their older brother is currently a linebacker for the Longhorns who was put on scholarship last year, so Texas will be tough to beat for both.
Wiggins is a very intriguing prospect, as the 6-foot-2, 170-pounder could play wide receiver, cornerback or safety at the next level. He’s a little reminiscent of recent USC commitment Calen Bullock in his skill set at each position in his smooth playing style and ability to go up and get the ball. Wiggins is dynamic with the ball in his hands and is often able to showcase his tremendous speed.
Wiggins is the nation’s No. 209 overall prospect and picked up an offer from Oregon the day before USC offered. Auburn and Clemson have offered, but Georgia has yet to extend an offer to this point.
USC also got in on several 2022 prospects recently.
The Trojans were in fairly early on in-state wide receiver Jadyn Marshall (Stockton, Calif./St. Mary’s), as USC became the 6-foot, 185-pound prospect’s third offer, after Arizona State and San Jose State. Since then, both Cal and Nebraska have offered.
Locally, offensive lineman Dylan Lopez (Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde) picked up an offer from USC. The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Lopez is likely a center at the next level, and he’s also teammates with 2022 quarterback target A.J. Duffy.
USC also extended an offer to 2022 offensive tackle Jake Taylor (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman). Taylor is part of a loaded 2022 class at Bishop Gorman, and USC has already offered teammates in linebacker Cyrus Moss, safety Zion Branch and cornerback Fabian Ross. USC is doing well early on with Branch especially.
And the Trojans again went into Texas, as USC offered two Lone Star State 2022 prospects, in defensive end Ernest Cooper IV (Arlington, Texas/Martin) and outside linebacker Kobie McKinzie (Lubbock, Texas/Cooper). McKinzie is an Oklahoma commit and is the nation’s No. 55 prospect. It remains to be seen whether USC can get into the mix for the committed prospect.
Cooper, at 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, is the nation’s No. 76 prospect and has an offer sheet to match. Alabama, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas and others have already offered.
The Trojans also got fairly deep into the 2023 class, as at least four offers went out to prospects who just completed their freshmen seasons. None of these come as major surprises though, as all four are on track to be national prospects.
The closest offer to the USC campus went to defensive tackle Howie Longi (Provo, Utah/Timpview), as the 6-foot-2, 285-pound lineman added USC to early offers from LSU, Texas A&M and Utah.
Defensive end Peter Woods (Alabaster, Ala./Thompson) was added to USC’s list of offers, though the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder already holds an offer from Alabama and it’ll be difficult to beat the Crimson Tide for an in-state prospect. Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Penn State and Tennessee are just a few of the other programs that have offered.
Athlete Jaxon Howard (Minneapolis, Minn./Robbinsdale Cooper) added USC to a list of offers that features Arizona State, Georgia, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State and others. Howard’s father is former Stanford defensive lineman Willie Howard, who won the Pac-10’s Morris Trophy in 1999. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Howard also plays baseball and could wind up at a number of position on the football field, including tight end, linebacker or defensive end.
Howard did take note of USC’s offer to himself and to Woods.
USC also offered tight end Mathias Barnwell (Spotsylvania, Va./Spotsylvania), who already checks in at 6-foot-5, 240 pounds. Both Virginia and Virginia Tech have offered, along with Penn State, Tennessee and others.