USC added two impact offensive prospects to its 2021 recruiting class over the past several days, and the Trojans extended a very interesting offer over the weekend.
USC is putting the finishing touches on its offensive skill class and the Trojans were able to add two big commitments there over the past few days.
It started last week, as USC was able to go into SEC country to earn a commitment from three-star athlete Josh Moore (Atlanta/Marist School).
The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Moore is listed as a four-star safety by 247 Sports, and he originally committed to Stanford to play on the defensive side of the ball. But USC targeted him as a wide receiver, and the strong combination of football and athletics offered by the Trojans was enough to get him to flip from his Stanford commitment.
Moore gives USC three wide receiver commits in this class, as he joins four-star Quay Davis (Dallas/Skyline) and three-star Michael Jackson III (Las Vegas/Desert Pines) an an all-out-of-state class of receivers.
And speaking of both out of state and going into SEC country, the Trojans backed up that Moore commitment by getting one from four-star tight end Michael Trigg (Tampa, Fla./Carrollwood Day) on Sunday. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Trigg looked like he might be a longshot for the Trojans when they first offered back in February, but USC was there every step of the way for him. USC made his top 20 in mid-May, then his top 10 in early June.
Several schools, including Alabama, Auburn, Kentucky, LSU, South Carolina, USC and others, confirmed in mid-June and Trigg would have the opportunity to play both football and basketball in college.
The Trojans then made Trigg’s list of top three schools he released in early August. The final confirmation regarding Trigg’s significant interest and likely commitment to USC came two weeks ago, when he came out to Los Angeles on an unofficial visit and took part in a recruiting event put together by USC quarterback commit Miller Moss (Mission Hills, Calif./Alemany), where Moss, Trigg, Korey Foreman (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and Ceyair Wright (Los Angeles/Loyola) all met for a meal and Moss pitched them on becoming Trojans.
Trigg’s commitment came Sunday, as the Trojans beat out other finalists LSU and South Carolina. He is a physical mismatch in the passing game while split out wide against defensive backs and is reminiscent of recent USC tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe in his athletic ability.
It’s always interesting when USC extends an offer to a senior quarterback. It’s far more interesting when it does so while already holding commitments from two others.
But that happened over the weekend, as USC offered three-star quarterback Jaxson Dart (Draper, Utah/Corner Canyon).
It should be added that Dart is a three-star quarterback, for now. He’s put together one of the best senior seasons for a quarterback in the country this year, as Corner Canyon is 9-0 and as scored at least 29 points in every game–including four 50-point outbursts.
Dart has completed 68% of his passes for 2,982 yards and has an astounding 41-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He’s also been a dangerous threat on the ground, with 797 yards and nine touchdowns as a runner, including four 100-yard games.
It will not be surprising to see Dart shoot up the rankings whenever the next updates happen. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound prospect is a two-sport standout, as he plays baseball as well, and was away from a lot of the offseason football events due to playing that second sport.
Dart has a tremendous arm and showcases throws from virtually every arm angle, both stationary and on the move. He also combines a running and passing ability in a way where taking off with the ball is only done after every attempt to release it downfield has been exhausted. Then, when he does cross the line of scrimmage, he’s a true threat with his legs.
BYU has been seen as a potential landing spot for him, but Arizona State, Iowa State, TCU, UCLA and now USC have all offered since September 1. He might be the top target for the Bruins at this point.
This is a very interesting offer for USC, as the Trojans have long held a commitment from four-star Jake Garcia (Valdosta, Ga./Valdosta) and four-star quarterback Miller Moss has turned into an important recruiter for the Trojans since his commitment. It will be worth watching how this recruitment plays out. Miami commits, targets and fans have been loud and clear with their attempts to pry Garcia away from his USC commitment and his move to Georgia to attempt to play a season of high school football certainly made it easier for the Hurricanes to put some more local pressure on him.
In the 2020 class, USC held a commitment from five-star prospect Bryce Young for more than a year, but when he flipped to Alabama in late September of last year, USC couldn’t rebound and land a quarterback commitment late in the process. That’s one reason the Trojans have just two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster now, and why signing two in this class is a priority.
Malone Still in Play
Last week, four-star defensive tackle Tywone Malone (Oradell, NJ/Bergen Catholic) released his top six. The 6-foot-4, 300-pound tackle is the nation’s No. 55 overall prospect, but a top-50 player according to ESPN.
Florida State, Ole Miss, Rutgers, Tennessee and Texas A&M made the final six along with USC, and this recruitment is starting to feel a little bit similar to Trigg’s in that those teams closer to home might rather see USC out of it entirely rather than allowed to stick around in the race.
Defensive line coach Vic So’oto loves a challenge, and getting a guy like Malone to come all the way across the country is definitely that. USC has a commitment from four-star defensive tackle Jay Toia (Simi Valley, Calif./Grace Brethren) but the defensive line is definitely the spot where USC could make the most noise in closing out this 2021 class.
Four-star defensive end Aaron Armitage (Blairstown, NJ/Blair Academy) is seen as a likely addition to this USC class, so the Trojans are hopefully they can pull off a New Jersey double. USC is also still in the mix for five-star defensive end Korey Foreman (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and four-star lineman Josh Simmons (La Mesa, Calif./Helix) could be an option along the defensive line as well.
Through two games as a senior, Malone has eight tackles, 3.5 sacks, an interception he returned for a touchdown, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
He’s also a standout baseball player and plans to play both sports in college. All six of his finalists are recruiting him to play both football and baseball. The challenge of letting football players play a second sport in the spring is one that many football coaches don’t even deal with. But USC and head coach Clay Helton have been good about that, and can point to the successes players have had in being able to play two sports. Just last year, Kenan Christon ran track and Drake London played basketball as true freshmen. Going back a few years, Adoree’ Jackson was also able to participate in track and field.
Helton’s Praise for Recruiting Support Staff
On Monday’s conference call, head coach Clay Helton was asked about the recruiting support staff, in light of the recruiting run the Trojans have been on with this 2021 class.
“When we got done with the season last year, it was, ‘Coach, what do you need?'” Helton said of President Carol L. Folt and Athletic Director Mike Bohn. “To be able to sit down with them and say, ‘Hey, this is what we need from the coaching staff. This is what we need from personnel assistants, recruiting assistants, technology assistants–whether it’s video, social media.’ We upgraded both our numbers, but also I think the quality of individuals, as far as video production and social media and recruiting assistants. And obviously you’re seeing the results.”
Helton was quick to point out that this 2021 class isn’t finished, and the Trojans do still have several spots left in what will be a full class.
“It is from daylight till dawn that they have been on phones and video calls, relationship-building with players and parents and coaches,” Helton said of the staff. “It’s been a daily emphasis and something that we’re reaping the rewards for right now. Now we have to go finish.”