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USC working to flip two-way standout Josh Moore

USC has two wide receiver commitments in the 2021 recruiting class, but the Trojans are actively looking to add a third to that group. One of the top targets there is Josh Moore (Atlanta/Marist), who happens to be committed to a Pac-12 rival.

The 6-foot-2, 198-pound, three-star prospect (four-star by 247 Sports) announced his commitment to Stanford back in May, but USC has moved into the picture for the two-way standout and made it a true two-team race.

USC only began talking to Moore a little more than a month ago. The introduction came via Moore’s godfather, Joey Johnson, who has mentored other USC targets in the North Carolina, including running back Evan Pryor (committed to Ohio State) and wide receiver Malcolm Johnson (committed to Auburn). Johnson referred Moore to USC director of player personnel Spencer Harris and USC director of player development Gavin Morris.

Morris has been joined by wide receivers coach Keary Colbert and head coach Clay Helton in the Trojans’ pursuit of Moore, as the USC staff continues to increase communication with top targets by using multiple contacts.

While Moore was confident in making his commitment to Stanford, USC has done enough to make this a true recruiting battle down the stretch, as Moore will ultimately either flip to the Trojans or stick with his commitment.

It will come down to several factors, with his future position potentially playing a big role.

While USC is targeting him as a wide receiver, Stanford is recruiting him as a safety. A decision will ultimately land him on one specific college campus, as well as on one specific side of the ball. A few schools during this process have recruited Moore to potentially play both ways, but Stanford and USC are two that have one position in mind.

“Both coaching staffs see me excelling,” he said. “They say, ‘Whichever position you choose, you’re going to be a star.’ It’s going to come down to which one I see as my higher ceiling.”

But Moore doesn’t yet have an answer to that question.

“I’m not really sure,” he said. “I’ve played both for so long. Ultimately I feel like I can play either.”

Moore broke down what he feels he brings to each position.

“For DB, I know I’m big for the position,” he said. “You don’t see too many big DBs. I’m bigger, faster, and I can carry more weight than them. I’m 198 and I can still move.”

“At wide receiver, I feel like I just have it. I can beat anyone,” he said. “I’m not Tyreek Hill, but I can run routes and catch the ball.”

No matter what position and which campus, Moore will be packing up and hitting the road for college. He said he’s surprised by that, as he expected to stay closer to home.

“Sometimes stuff just happens,” he said. “It seems like the universities that are the best fit for me happen to be in California.”

Unable to take visits over the summer and through the fall, Moore said he’ll rely on virtual visits put together by both programs. He had one with Stanford this past weekend and did one with USC last week. Ultimately, he likes how the programs have adjusted to the way they need to recruit now, but there’s still a sizable hole in having to go through the recruiting process this way.

“It’s been really hard,” Moore said. “I always had this vision in my head of going on recruiting visits–seeing this place, stepping on campus and knowing this is where I want to be.”

Moore said he’s been able to get a feel for each campus through the virtual visits and tours. He said both campuses are beautiful. Stanford’s visit showed the Bay Area surroundings and featured former players talking about their experiences. USC’s featured plenty of Los Angeles–a city Moore has never visited–the campus, the facilities, and Moore said USC’s presentation regarding Name, Image, Likeness stood out. He said it centered on how the USC network can help players build their brand while still in school, in order to begin earning revenue based on NLI.

Moore said he’d like to major in business or economics in college, eventually making his way into finance.

His high school team is 2-0 this season, outscoring their opponents 66-3 so far. While he concentrates on the rest of his senior season, he’s also going over his options for the next level. Moore said he thinks he’ll need at least another month or so before he’s ready to make his final decision. He’d like to sign in December, but won’t be able to enroll early.

USC has commitments from wide receiver Quay Davis (Dallas/Skyline) and Michael Jackson III (Las Vegas/Desert Pines) in this 2021 class. There are several wide receiver prospects still being targeted by the Trojans, including heavy Oregon lean Dont’e Thornton (Baltimore/Mt. St. Joseph), Clemson commit Beaux Collins (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) and four-star athlete Titus Mokiao-Atimalala (Ewa Beach, Haw./James Campbell).

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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