Over the past week, USC made about as much noise on the recruiting trail as a program can make without picking up a commitment. The Trojans sent out a number of offers in the 2022, 2023 and 2024 classes and landed on several top lists for big-time big men across the country.
USC’s offensive line Saturday
On Saturday, four USC offensive line targets announced top school lists ranging from a top 8 to a top 15. While the lists came from prospects in different parts of the country, USC was one of two schools (Florida State being the other) to appear on all four lists.
Five-star offensive guard Devin Campbell (Arlington, Tex./Bowie) is the nation’s No. 7 overall prospect and No. 1 offensive guard. He included USC among his top eight schools, with Alabama, Florida State, Houston, LSU, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M. Texas is considered the favorite, but USC only offered on February 3 and still managed a spot among the finalists.
Four-star offensive tackle Kiyaunta Goodwin (Charlestown, Ind./Charlestown) put USC among his final 13 schools. The 6-foot-7, 300-pound tackle is the nation’s No. 47 overall prospect and No. 5 offensive tackle. Ohio State is the likely leader at this point, with Alabama, Arizona State, Clemson, Florida State, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State and Oregon also listed.
Four-star offensive tackle Dayne Shor (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) put USC among his top 15 schools, alongside Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas A&M and UCF. The 6-foot-6, 295-pound lineman is the nation’s No. 176 overall prospect and N0. 23 offensive tackle.
And USC made the top eight for four-star offensive tackle Qae’shon Sapp (Leesburg, Ga./Lee County), a 6-foot-5, 340-pound prospect who checks in as the No. 349 overall prospect and No. 41 offensive tackle. This is another prospect that USC has done well with in a short time, as USC only offered in early February. His top eight includes Arkansas, Cincinnati, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and USC.
As always with out-of-state prospects, it will be interesting to see whether these offensive line targets elect to visit USC on official or unofficial visits before making a commitment. With the dead period extended through May 31, the hope is certainly that they will hold off until they can give USC a real look.
USC makes a move for defensive linemen
The Trojans extended offers to several defensive linemen this past week and USC also solidified its position with a national prospect.
Four-star Christen Miller (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) released a top-four list of Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Indiana in late January, but two big offers since then have forced him to grow that list. With a commitment date set for early April, the 6-foot-5, 285-pound defensive tackle said that Ohio State had joined that group, and said this weekend that now USC is among his top schools as well, with defensive line coach Vic So’oto leading the charge.
Miller is the nation’s No. 164 overall prospect and No. 11 defensive tackle. USC recently added a Louisiana native at defensive tackle, in Alabama transfer Ishmael Sopsher. The hope now is that the Trojans can dip into Georgia and grab an elite talent at the position, though getting Miller away from the Bulldogs and out of SEC country will be a tall task.
The Trojans also joined the race for two defensive linemen much closer to home.
One offer went out to a Trojan legacy, as defensive end Jaxson Moi (San Diego/Cathedral Catholic) picked up a USC offer. Moi is the son of Junior Moi, who played defensive end and outside linebacker for USC in 1991 and 1992.
Moi is a 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end, and the three-star prospect has been on a recruiting run this past month, picking up offers from Oregon, Stanford and USC in February. Moi said he’d like to take as many visits as possible this summer and announce a commitment before his senior season. Academics will likely play a part, as Moi holds the Stanford offer as well as plenty from Ivy League schools. USC has already seen four-star defensive end Gracen Halton (San Diego/St. Augustine) commit to Oregon in this class, so the Trojans don’t want to lose out on another San Diego prospect.
USC also extended an offer to 2022 defensive tackle Sir Mells (Henderson, Nev./Liberty). The 6-foot-4, 310-pound, three-star lineman had been committed to Washington since November, but he and teammate Anthony Jones both decided to step back from their Washington commitments over the weekend. Jones’ decision came after an offer from Oregon, while Mells’ was the day after the USC offer and the same day a Michigan offer came in. USC has yet to offer Jones, which could be something worth watching as the Trojans pursue Mells, if the two want to play together at the next level.
Mells is the No. 51 defensive tackle in the country, but it’s another year where the western states are light at that position. He’s the No. 5 defensive tackle in the Pac-12 footprint and the Trojans are chasing all three of the uncommitted prospects ranked above him.
USC offers Florida trio
USC extended offers to three Florida teammates over the weekend, as Hallandale (Fla.) High School prospects Edric Weldon, Alfonzo Allen and Dylan Reid all became Trojan targets.
Weldon and Allen are both four-star prospects, with Weldon checking in at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds and as the nation’s No. 372 overall prospect. Alfonzo is another four-star safety and the nation’s No. 242 overall prospect. The two would like to play together in college.
Weldon announced a recent top 10 list that came before the USC offer, but he said the Trojans have joined that group now. Allen has said he will release a top 12 list soon.
Reid is unrated as a 6-foot, 220-pound inside linebacker, but that will likely change soon, as now Penn State and USC have offered, in addition to Oklahoma, Maryland and others.
USC after another top cornerback
The Trojans are guaranteed to land an elite cornerback class if USC can hold onto early commitments from five-star Domani Jackson (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) and four-star Fabian Ross (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman). But USC and cornerbacks coach Donte Williams aren’t stopping there, as the Trojans still have a few targets in their sights.
One of those is four-star cornerback Julian Humphrey (Houston/Clear Lake), who announced a top five with USC one of the schools. Arizona State, LSU, Penn State and Texas A&M are the other finalists for the 6-foot-1, 185-pound cornerback who is the nation’s No. 149 overall prospect and No. 18 cornerback. He’s scheduled to announce on April 1.
USC offers Oregon receiver
USC has to elite pass catches in its back yard, in five-star Tetairoa McMillan (Anaheim, Calif./Servite) and four-star C.J. Williams (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), but the Trojans are also chasing a few national prospects at the position, and recently joined the hunt for four-star Darrius Clemons (Portland, Ore./Westview).
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound prospect is the nation’s No. 132 overall prospect and the top recruit in Oregon.
He possesses a tremendous combination of size and speed and brings everything to the table as a big receiver. Originally from Michigan, Clemons has plenty of Big Ten interest, with Michigan State and Penn State leading the way. In Oregon now, the Ducks will be in the mix for Clemons as well.
A family battle brewing for another Hawkins?
USC extended an offer to 2024 cornerback Khristian Dunbar-Hawkins (Playa Del Rey, Calif./St. Bernard), as the Trojans continue to hit the 2023 and 2024 defensive back classes.
Dunbar-Hawkins is the younger brother of former USC safety and now Arizona State defensive backs coach Chris Hawkins, as well as USC Director of High School Relations Armond Hawkins Jr.
There is still plenty of time for Dunbar-Hawkins to go through the recruiting process, but it’s a statement that USC offered this early in the process, and obviously the connections to those two schools will be interesting to watch. The 6-foot, 170-pound cornerback also holds early offers already from Colorado, Maryland, Miami, Oregon, Washington State and others.
Defensive back targets commit elsewhere
USC came up short on two recruiting battles recently, as five-star cornerback Will Johnson (Grosse Pointe, Mich./Grosse Pointe South) announced his commitment to Michigan and four-star athlete Larry Turner-Gooden (Playa Del Rey, Calif./St. Bernard) pledged to Arizona State.
At one point, things looked good for USC for both players. Johnson is close with USC commit Domani Jackson and the two have talked about playing together. Johnson came out to Los Angeles for a self-guided tour of USC, but he didn’t announce a commitment to the Trojans following that and the coaching moves Michigan subsequently made were enough to keep the Michigan legacy home. That commitment didn’t come as a surprise and isn’t a huge sting for USC, considering Michigan was always considered the frontrunner for Johnson.
Losing Turner-Gooden to Arizona State is a much bigger blow to USC, which likely would have signed Turner-Gooden had Chris Claiborne remained on staff. Claiborne coached Turner-Gooden in high school and is a huge reason he’s now committed to Arizona State, as Claiborne is now coaching linebackers for the Sun Devils. Turner-Gooden is the nation’s No. 57 overall prospect and likely a big-time safety at the next level. As always with recruiting, nothing is finalized until the prospect officially signs and at this time last year it looked like the Trojans would miss out on both Korey Foreman and Raesjon Davis. USC’s continued pursuit of Turner-Gooden will be worth watching, as USC likely needs a couple of safeties in this class even after bringing in four in the 2021 class.
Trojans offer two more young corners
Cornerbacks coach Donte Williams continues to push into the 2024 class at that position, as Omillio Agard (Philadelphia/St. Joseph’s) added an offer from USC over the weekend. The 5-foot-11, 160-pound cornerback holds plenty of offers already, as Florida State, LSU, Penn State, Pitt and others have come forward very early on.
Agard works with Oliver Davis II, the CEO of Sweet Feet Sports Performance in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Trojans have now offered a few of the prospects he helps train.
And one of those is sixth grader Micah Fleming, who tweeted that Williams had extended a scholarship offer from USC, his first. Offers to middle school prospects aren’t met with the same eyebrow raises they were a decade ago, when quarterback David Sills made a verbal commitment to USC when he was 13, but obviously there is still plenty of time left for Fleming to develop and proceed through his recruiting process. But USC is certainly in the door early on, and this can’t hurt USC’s pursuit of Davis’ other trainees, including Agard and 2023 standout cornerback Ethan Nation (Roswell, Ga./Roswell), who also holds an early USC offer.