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USC Recruiting Roundup: Offers to local RB and elite safeties, and USC is a top-five school for a 4-star LB

USC extended a number of interesting offers over the later part of last week, as the Trojans are hoping to get seriously involved with several elite, national prospects, and also zeroed in on a local running back.

Trojan tailback target

Starting with the 2022 class, and starting very close to home, USC sent an offer out to running back Tomarion Harden (Inglewood, Calif./Inglewood) this past Thursday.

Harden, at 6-foot-1, 230 pounds, is a load to bring down at first contact, but he brings enough speed and agility to the position to put together some explosive plays and serve as a weapon in the passing game. While he is a three-star prospect and not ranked among the top 50 running backs in the country, what stands out about his recruiting process is that he holds offers from Colorado, Oregon State and Utah — perhaps the three Pac-12 schools that have done the best in recent years in identifying lower-ranked running backs and turning them into conference stars.

This will likely be a big offer for Harden and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to eventually see him as part of this 2022 recruiting class for USC if the Trojans push for a commitment. It’ll be interesting to watch how this running back class takes shape for USC, because the Trojans will likely need at least two backs in this class. USC will lose Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai after the 2021 season, and incoming transfer Keaontay Ingram is entering his fourth year. If Ingram were to leave early following the 2021 season, that would leave only Kenan Christon and incoming freshman Brandon Campbell as scholarship backs on the roster.

USC is still pursuing five-star back Gavin Sawchuk (Littleton, Colo./Valor Christian) and also made a recent offer to four-star running back TreVonte’ Citizen (Lake Charles, La./Lake Charles Prep). But there might be more likely targets closer to Los Angeles, as four-star Jovantae Barnes (Las Vegas/Desert Pines) is a very talented do-it-all back and four-star Rayshon Luke (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) is a 5-foot-8, 160-pound dynamo, capable of hitting a big play from anywhere on the field.

Safety school

USC would like to sign several safeties in this class, even after adding three high school safeties and one transfer in former Texas Longhorn Xavion Alford in the 2021 class. USC regularly plays three safeties and there is a feeling that there just aren’t enough numbers at the position still to promote healthy competition for starting spots or to provide suitable depth.

USC jumped into the mix with two great ones this week, as the Trojans offered five-star Jacoby Mathews (Ponchatoula, La./Ponchatoula) and four-star Sherrod Covil (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith).

Mathews is the nation’s No. 32 overall prospect and No. 2 safety, and will likely be a very difficult pull away from the SEC, with Alabama, Florida, LSU and plenty of others chasing him.

The Trojans will see if the combination of Jeff Martin and safeties coach Craig Naivar can get USC seriously involved. Martin has some very strong ties to recruits down in that area, and Naivar is regarded as one of the better recruiters in the country.

Naivar also took on a challenge as the Trojans offered Covil, the nation’s No. 251 overall prospect and No. 16 safety. Naivar will get some recruiting help from Vic So’oto with Covil, as So’oto made a number of connections in that area while coaching at Virginia.

Covil had a monster game over the weekend, as he had two interceptions returned for touchdowns, and also delivered this hit:

Texas tandem

USC went back into Texas with another couple offers, as the Trojans continue to show their comfort level recruiting that state.

USC already holds a commitment from linebacker Ty Kana (Katy, Tex./Katy) and has now offered his teammate, three-star wide receiver Nicholas Anderson. The No. 405 overall prospect checks in at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds.

The Trojans also offered another Texas offensive tackle, in three-star prospect Austin Kawecki (Frisco, Tex./Lebanon Trail). The 6-foot-4, 265-pound prospect doesn’t possess quite the same size as Ty Buchanan, USC’s 2021 offensive line signee from the Lone Star State, but he brings that same Texas toughness and a willingness to drive defenders way downfield and finish blocks through the whistle.

Kawecki holds several Ivy League offers and has gone on a recent offer run that includes Maryland, Utah, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech, in addition to USC.

USC makes top five for Northeast LB

Four-star linebacker Moses Walker (Brooklyn, NY/Erasmus Hall) is down to five schools and USC is listed alongside LSU, Penn State, Rutgers and Texas A&M. Walker is the No. 129 overall prospect and No. 10 outside linebacker. He’s a terrific athlete and a linebacker who fits in this Todd Orlando defense, capable of running sideline to sideline and also useful as a blitzer.

2023 offers and news

USC extended offers to two 2023 defenders over the past few days, as linebacker Tausili Akana (Kahuku, Hawaii/Kahuku) and safety Tackett Curtis (Many, La./Many) picked up offers. Both are unranked in the 2023 class at this point, but should be ranked fairly highly by the end of their recruiting cycle.

Akana is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker whose sister Keonilei plays volleyball at Nebraska, which has offered Akana early on. There is plenty of Pac-12 interest as well, as Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State have all offered in addition to USC.

Curtis is another Jeff Martin connection, stemming from his time at LSU and down in Louisiana. Curtis is a big-time safety with tremendous instincts, ball skills and physical ability.

USC also made another top schools list, this one for 2023 defensive tackle John Walker (Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola).

It’s a very impressive group of schools for the 6-foot-4, 280-pound lineman, as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and USC are all still involved.

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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