USC Football Recruiting: Latest News, Notes and Analysis
The spring evaluation period has come to a close, so USC's 2015 recruiting endeavors will cool off a bit through the summer. It was a busy spring for USC as the coaches crisscrossed the country checking out recruits and shuffling names up and down their boards. Additionally, the Trojans earned a few commitments in the past few weeks and will look to carry that momentum into the summer.
For the past few seasons, the spring evaluation period meant USC would hit the recruiting trail hard, hoping to lock up at least half of its class before the next football season began. There was a sense of urgency in filling the reduced classes with the highest available talent. But because the Trojans can bring in 25 guys for 2015, things are really just getting started for USC.
Here's a look at where USC's next recruiting class stands, as well as what's to come down the trail later this year.
National Ranking: No. 13
Pac-12 Ranking: No. 1
4-star DT Jacob Daniel: Clovis North (Clovis, California); 6'4", 310 pounds
5-star OT Chuma Edoga: McEachern (Powder Springs, Georgia); 6'4", 276 pounds
4-star OT Roy Hemsley: Windward School (Los Angeles); 6'6", 280 pounds
3-star DE/OT Noah Jefferson: Desert Oasis (Las Vegas); 6'5", 271 pounds
3-star CB Taeon Mason: John Muir (Pasadena, California); 6'0", 170 pounds
3-star QB David Sills: Eastern Christian (Elkton, Md.); 6'3", 180 pounds
4-star ILB Cameron Smith: Granite Bay (Granite Bay, California); 6'3", 225 pounds
5-star QB Ricky Town: St. Bonaventure (Ventura, California); 6'4", 205 pounds
USC touts the top-rated recruiting class in the Pac-12, and the Trojans are just getting started. With 17 spots left to fill, there's still a lot of ground to cover and more blue-chip talent to secure before February.
Edoga, Town, Hemsley and Daniel are the most promising prospects of the bunch, with the best chance of quickly transitioning into their future collegiate roles. Edoga and Hemsley are particularly important, as the Trojans are pretty light on depth at tackle this year. If they stay their commitments, they will be a major gain for Steve Sarkisian and his ongoing plans to bolster USC's offensive line.
Smith is the newest of the Trojan commits, having given his pledge to USC in late May. Rated No. 3 nationally at his position, Smith earned All-State honors during his sophomore season in 2012. He backed that up with a tremendous 2013 campaign, racking up 113 tackles and three interceptions as a junior.
Mason plays both wide receiver and cornerback in high school, but USC recruited him primarily as a corner. He will spend his senior season working on his defensive skill set, and if he stays committed to USC, he will join a secondary that's decently full on bodies but short on proven talent.
Jefferson and Daniel speak to the future of USC's defensive line. With huge bodies and excellent athletic abilities, their presence in the Trojan ranks would ensure USC maintains its defensive dominance in the seasons to come.
Sills is the one commit that we can expect to decommit before February rolls around, thanks to the presence of Town in the group. The Eastern Christian quarterback has been committed to the Trojans since he was in middle school, when Lane Kiffin extended him an offer. He's been visiting Big Ten schools like Michigan and Penn State of recent, and it's possible he ends up in that conference come national signing day.
USC earned five commitments during the spring, from April 21 to the end of May. Of those five commits, three are considered top-eight players at their position, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. Five of USC's current commits are homegrown prospects, which is increasingly important now that UCLA is quality competition in Los Angeles.
Top California Targets
4-star WR Kanya Bell: Diamond Bar (Diamond Bar, California); 6'0", 160 pounds
5-star DT Rasheem Green: Junipero Serra (Gardena, California); 6'5", 275 pounds
5-star CB Iman "Biggie" Marshall: Long Beach Poly (Long Beach, California); 6'1", 190 pounds
4-star S DeChaun Holiday: Mission Hills (San Marcos, California); 6'2", 195 pounds
4-star WR Desean Holmes: John Muir (Pasadena, California); 5'10.5", 175 pounds
5-star ILB John Houston: Junipero Serra (Gardena, California); 6'3", 211 pounds
4-star CB Isaiah Langley: Foothill (Pleasanton, California); 5'11", 170 pounds
5-star DE Keisean Lucier-South: Lutheran - Orange County (Orange, California); 6'5", 225 pounds
4-star APB/WR Malik Lovette: Redlands East Valley (Redlands, California); 5'11", 180 pounds
5-star DT Kahlil McKenzie: De La Salle (Concord, California); 6'4", 309 pounds
4-star WR Equanimeous St. Brown: Servite (Anaheim, California); 6'5", 205 pounds
4-star S Marvell Tell: Crespi (Encino, California); 6'2", 175 pounds
4-star CB/WR Ykili Ross: Polytechnic (Riverside, California); 6'2", 185 pounds
4-star OG Zach Robertson: St. John Bosco (Bellflower, California); 6'5", 308 pounds
USC's most pressing position of need for 2015 is running back now that Ty Isaac has elected to transfer out of the program. The Trojans will do just fine without him this season, but with the possible departures of key upperclassmen Javorius Allen and Tre Madden, it's important that USC keeps the stable stocked with talent.
And that's where Malik Lovette comes in.
There's not much top talent in California this year at running back, so Lovette gets to command nearly all of USC's attention, locally. He lacks ideal height to be an elite wide receiver at the next level, but his compact frame makes him an ideal ball-carrying prospect for the Trojans. In addition to USC, Lovette is considering the Trojans' rivals, Notre Dame.
USC could have the inside track with several top defensive recruits, like Biggie Marshall, Kahlil McKenzie, John Houston, Rasheem Green, Keisean Lucier-South and Isaiah Langley.
McKenzie considers USC his No. 3 interest, behind Tennessee and Arizona, while Green says the Trojans are a "top school" for him. McKenzie plans to commit on July 10 during Nike's The Opening camp, so USC will be courting him heavily if they want to earn his commitment.
Like McKenzie and Green, Lucier-South is a top Trojan D-line priority, though UCLA and Notre Dame are gunning for him with equal effort.
At linebacker, John Houston could be considered a USC lean at this point because he sported USC sleeves during an April 7-on-7 event. That said, he's remaining mum for the next few months as to which schools are at the top of his list.
Marshall is the highly touted defensive back the Trojans are really vying for, with fantastic ball skills and loose hips in coverage. He's high on USC's priority list, but he doesn't intend to make his commitment until February. In addition to Marshall, Langley is another defensive back that the Trojans would love to have in their ranks, and the coaches visited him twice during the spring evaluation period. He stood out during Oakland's NFTC camp last month, really turning heads with his skills in coverage.
Top out-of-State Targets
5-star SDE Terry Beckner Jr.: East St. Louis (East St. Louis, Illinois); 6'4", 293 pounds
4-star WR Cordell Broadus: Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nevada); 6'2", 195 pounds
5-star ATH George Campbell: East Lake (Tarpon Springs, Florida); 6'3", 184 pounds
5-star RB Damien Harris: Madison Southern (Berea, Kentucky); 5'11", 205 pounds
5-star OLB Justin Hilliard: St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio); 6'2", 230 pounds
4-star WR Christian Kirk: Saguaro (Scottsdale, Arizona); 5'11", 195 pounds
5-star CB Tarvarus McFadden: American Heritage (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida); 6'3", 198 pounds
4-star RB Jacques Patrick: Timber Creek (Orlando, Florida); 6'1.5", 220 pounds
As previously mentioned, signing a running back is critically important for USC in 2015. The Trojans have been chasing out-of-state prospects Jacques Patrick and Damien Harris, but at this point, neither athlete has returned much love to USC.
But defensive end Terry Beckner Jr. and wide receiver Cordell Broadus have, which is a good thing for the Trojans. UCLA is also going after Broadus, and the battle for his commitment is sure to be an exciting one. But USC might have the upper hand here, and Broadus' father, Snoop Dogg, is a noted USC fan.
Fellow wide receiver Christian Kirk is looking to be an early enrollee for next year, and during the spring evaluation period, he said he will likely use one of his official visits to come to Troy during football season. In addition to USC, Texas A&M, Oregon and Ohio State are pursuing him aggressively.
Linebacker Justin Hilliard recently cut USC from his top five, but the commitment of Cameron Smith last month lessened the blow of that rejection.
George Campbell and Tarvarus McFadden are Florida boys, and with USC's proven record of plucking talent out of the South, these are two names to pay attention to in the coming months.