In another sign that the 2021 regular season is creeping closer, MaxPreps last week began releasing its top-10 positional rankings for high school prospects heading into the season. With the Trojans chasing some of the most impactful and productive players in the nation, USC targets showed up on a few position lists.
Here are the offensive rankings, and prospects with whom USC fans should be familiar.
USC won’t sign any of the top 10 quarterbacks on this list, but it’s still an interesting position because by the end of the year, two future Trojans could be here. Quinn Ewers and Arch Manning are seen as far and away the top quarterback prospects in the 2022 and 2023 classes, respectively. California is home to three players on this list who likely won’t be headed to USC. Malachi Nelson (Los Alamitos, Calif./Los Alamitos) recently committed to Oklahoma in the 2023 class, and Noah Fifita (Anaheim, Calif./Servite) and Maalik Murphy (Gardena, Calif./Serra) are committed to Arizona and Texas, respectively.
USC’s 2022 quarterback commit, Devin Brown (Draper, Utah/Corner Canyon) is ascending as much as any quarterback in the country at this point. He turned in a phenomenal showing during the Elite 11 earlier this month and his transfer from Queen Creek (Ariz.) to Corner Canyon means he’ll be in line to take over for USC 2021 signee Jaxson Dart, who put up eye-popping numbers last season in that offense. If Brown continues his progression and does well this fall, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him finish his high school career as a top-10 national quarterback prospect.
In the following class, Nico Iamaleava (Downey, Calif./Warren) is the name to watch following Nelson’s commitment to Oklahoma. Like Brown, Iamaleava has risen in a big way up the recruiting rankings this offseason and now sits as the nation’s No. 41 overall prospect. He completed 60% of his passes for 1,004 yards and 17 touchdowns against just one interception last season.
USC has offered just about every running back among this top 10, but it’s right at the top of the list where the Trojans are now focused. Five-star back Raleek Brown (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) is committed to Oklahoma, but the Trojans are putting together a big push and had him on campus multiple times in June, including an official visit. Brown has a special skill set as a runner and receiver and part of USC’s recruiting pitch to him as been that he could become a 1,000-yard rusher and receiver in the USC offense.
Standout back Rueben Owens (El Campo, Tex./El Campo) was also on the USC campus for an unofficial June visit.
It’s not unusual to see potential USC Trojans on the list of great high school wide receivers. It has been a position the Trojans have dominated over the years. In the 2022 class, four-star Tetairoa McMillan (Anaheim, Calif./Servite) is right up there at No. 2 on this list. He is a major target for the Trojans as a tall, athletic receiver who is difficult to handle off the line and has a slant/fade package as good as any receiver in the country.
USC will also take a run at the No. 10 receiver on the list, C.J. Williams (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), but Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas have seemingly made big impressions on him, so it might be difficult to keep him closer to home.
There’s a former USC commit right in the middle of this list, in Keyan Burnett (Anaheim, Calif./Servite). He opened up his recruitment this summer and it looks like Arizona could be the team to beat for him. That might make the McMillan recruitment tougher, if teammates and good friends Noah Fifita and Burnett both head to Arizona. The Trojans still have a couple of targets on this list, both in the 2023 class. At No. 3 is Matayo Uiagalelei (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), a big, physical prospect capable of playing tight end or defensive end at the next level. He might wind up on the defensive side of the ball in college, but he’ll be a big factor at tight end over the next two years for the Braves.
USC recently offered Duce Robinson (Phoenix/Pinnacle), a standout football and baseball prospect. Robinson was one of the standout performers during The Opening in early July, and programs across the country have made him a priority recruit.
Here’s the one that matters for so many USC fans hoping to see the Trojans start reeling in highly-ranked prospects along the offensive line.
USC is in the mix for the No. 2 player here, five-star guard Devon Campbell (Arlington, Tex./Bowie), though in-state Texas is likely going to be very difficult to beat. The Trojans will also keep pushing for four-star guard Earnest Greene (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), though visits to Ohio State, Oklahoma and Texas stood out and the Buckeyes have landed a couple Bosco players in recent years.
Five-star tackle Josh Conerly Jr. (Seattle/Rainier Beach) checks in at No. 10 on this list and ranks highly on USC’s target board. Conerly took an unofficial visit to USC in June, but Washington isn’t going to let him out of the state easily. The Huskies lost the top two in-state prospects in the 2021 class to Ohio State and will want to lock up the top Wasington prospect in this cycle.
Class of 2023 standout Francis Mauigoa (Bradenton, Fla./IMG) began his high school career in Southern California, but he’ll have been out in Florida for a while when it comes time to pick a school and it hasn’t been easy for programs to bring guys back across the country from IMG.