It was a huge week on the recruiting trail for USC, as the Trojans reeled in three commitments and added three major offensive weapons to the top-five class.
Offensive skill added
USC’s latest recruiting run was started last Monday by quarterback Miller Moss (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany), who committed to USC over Alabama, LSU and UCLA.
USC wanted two quarterback commitments in this class and the Trojans have them right now, in Moss and Jake Garcia (La Habra, Calif./La Habra)–both four-star prospects and top-10 quarterbacks overall. Both quarterbacks knew that USC would look to take two players at that position in this class, but it’ll still be interesting to watch how this situation unfolds, and if both wind up signing. Either way, USC has some insurance now, which is very important considering how the Trojans were left hanging in the last class after five-star quarterback Bryce Young flipped to Alabama and USC couldn’t land a replacement.
Moss appears to be a great fit in this USC offense, as he’s comfortable making reads from inside the pocket and can buy himself some time while keeping his eyes downfield.
USC’s quarterback depth chart is scary-thin for the 2020 season, as redshirt senior Matt Fink and Vanderbilt transfer walk-on Mo Hasan are scheduled to be the only options behind Kedon Slovis.
Slovis gives the Trojans arguably one of the top five quarterbacks in the country, but having just two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster isn’t exactly ideal for a program that has had to play three quarterbacks each of the past two seasons.
If either Moss or Garcia winds up as the starter at some point down the line, he might be looking to get the ball to the two other commitments from this past week.
Wide receiver Michael Jackson III (Las Vegas/Desert Pines) made his announcement on Wednesday. Jackson said the USC coaches envision him taking on Amon-Ra St. Brown’s role, as a physical receiver who can play both inside and outside.
The 6-foot, 198-pound Jackson is a hard worker on and off the field and is a dynamic weapon with the ball in his hands, able to consistently make the first man miss and turn upfield for big plays.
He’s a receiver who could have had a big spring and summer season on the camp circuit and it will be interesting to watch how he performs in his first few games this fall to see if it’s enough to bump up his three-star rating.
Another three-star pass catcher was added to the class late last week, as tight end Lake McRee (Austin, Texas/Lake Travis) announced his commitment on Friday. The 6-foot-4, 217-pounder is another prospect who could see a rankings bump with a solid senior season. McRee missed his junior year due to a knee injury, but it didn’t scare off many programs.
USC remained consistent in their pursuit, as the Trojans offered last summer after McRee turned in a terrific camp performance. McRee eventually committed to Texas, but backed away from that pledge earlier this year. Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Penn State, Utah and Washington all extended offers to McRee since late January, but the Trojans were able to score another Texas commitment, as McRee joins running back Brandon Campbell (Katy, Texas/Katy) and wide receiver Quay Davis (Dallas/Skyline).
McRee is a hybrid tight end who, as a sophomore, lined up in a variety of ways, from serving as an H-back, to working in the slot and split out wide, and as a traditional tight end. He’s a willing blocker, but his strength is in the passing game, where he can use his big frame and athleticism to attack defenders downfield and turn upfield after short receptions.
This past week didn’t see the same number of offers go out as other week, but USC did enter the race for standout 2023 running back Rueben Owens (El Campo, Texas/El Campo). Owens already checks in at 5-foot-10, 181 pounds heading into his sophomore season. He has a good feel for the running back position, and ability to find the hole and a good burst when he needs it.
USC joins some heavyweights in this recruiting race, as Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M have already offered. The Trojans will get some recruiting help from Campbell, who will certainly work on his fellow Texas back in an effort to get the youngster to follow him out to Los Angeles.
Receiver back on the board
The wide receiver spot is an interesting one for USC in this class. There are a handful of really good receivers–and a couple of truly elite ones–in California this year. USC might not wind up with any of them, and still manage to bring in a good group.
Davis and Jackson are already committed, and while there is still time left for USC to potentially get back in the mix with Troy Franklin (Menlo Park, Calif./Menlo-Atherton) or pull Beaux Collins (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) away from his Clemson commitment, the Trojans haven’t been shy about looking out of state at the position.
One of those early targets was Latrell Neville (Missouri City, Texas/Hightower). The 6-foot-3, 195-pound receiver announced his commitment to Virginia Tech in early April, as the Hokies were making serious noise in Texas, similar to what USC has done in this class. But Neville announced his decommitment this past Saturday. Several programs are looking to get back into the mix, with Nebraska a strong competitor at this point. But recent USC commitment Miller Moss was quick to reach out to Neville following the announcement.
USC in the top eight for a top corner
Donte Williams is keeping USC in the mix for a few elite defensive backs in this class, and the Trojans are in the top eight for No. 75 overall prospect Isaiah Johnson (Bluefield, WV/Bluefield).
It’s a who’s who of finalists for Johnson, as Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M, USC and West Virginia remain. He missed a lot of last year with an ankle injury, but he’s a 6-foot-2, 180-pound defensive back with all the traits you look for in a corner—true speed, burst, fluid and good football IQ.
Ducks looking to load up
USC is going to finish with a very impressive 2021 recruiting class, but Oregon isn’t going away quietly after reeling in the top Pac-12 class each of the past two years.
The Trojans and Ducks are going up against each other for a number of prospects in this class, and it looks as though a few in the near future are going to to Oregon’s way.
Four-star cornerback Jaylin Davies (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) is set to announce his decision on June 19, with the Ducks looking good for him. Four-star tight end Terrance Ferguson (Littleton, Colo./Heritage) also said he is set to make his decision soon, and while the Trojans are also in his top group, it looks as though Oregon could add a second four-star tight end to its 2021 recruiting class.
Recruits put on a showcase
The first ever Top 100 SoCal Showcase took place at Winner Circle Athletics this past Saturday, and the event produced a very good turnout for it being the first time.
No. 1 overall prospect Korey Foreman (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and 2022 standout Domani Jackson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) were the headliners going into it, but there were more than a few players, and some young stars, who caught our eye.