USC’s recruiting class lags behind previous years

Bru McCoy, a senior wide receiver at Mater Dei High School, is the latest in a long line of star pass-catchers to commit to USC. (Photo Courtesy of TFB Texas Twitter)

Gone are the days when the Trojans could easily run laps around Pac-12 rivals, especially for local recruits. USC has gained prominence at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana and Junipero Serra in Gardena, locking up diminutive four-star cornerback Max Williams from the latter school.

But Southern California native Kayvon Thibodeaux, the No. 1 edge recruit, and four-star Mater Dei inside linebacker Mase Funa both signed with Oregon, marking a huge loss for the Trojans’ local presence.

USC typically dominates Pac-12 recruitment, boasting a top-five class nationally in three of the past four years and the top Pac-12 class for the past five years. But after its Early Signing Day period, recruitment for the Trojans could be impacted by former offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury’s departure from USC, after he was hired as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.

However, USC successfully signed five-star Bru McCoy, another one of freshman quarterback JT Daniels’ targets at Mater Dei. He is listed as an “athlete” but is expected to slide in at receiver. He could also see action at outside linebacker for the Trojans in the coming season.

McCoy was expected to sign with USC, so it was not a particular feat, but the hard commit of five-star wide receiver Kyle Ford was a significant triumph, shooting the Trojans up the Pac-12 rankings. McCoy and Ford are big physical receivers, standing at around 6-foot-2 and weighing around 212 pounds.

Unfortunately, pass catcher is not a position of need for the Trojans, with solid wide receivers already at the program in freshman Amon-Ra St. Brown, junior Michael Pittman Jr., redshirt sophomore Tyler Vaughns and redshirt sophomore Velus Jones Jr. However, McCoy and Ford will add value to the already deep receiving corps with big bodies and strength in the red zone.

Ben Griffiths, an under-the-radar signing, could fill a position of need that often goes overshadowed by the flashier skill players–punter. The Australian will look to fill a major role on a special teams unit that did no favors for an already struggling offense and lagging defense. The coaching staff will be looking to target more positions of need for National Signing Day.

In addition, the coaching staff is heavily targeting four-stars Noa Pola-Gates, a tall cornerback from Arizona, and Enokk Vimahi, a guard from Hawaii. Signing Pola-Gates would be a huge win, as USC lacks depth at the position, but 247 Sports has it lower on the list of his options, listing Nebraska as the favorites to sign him.

Additionally, the Trojans are looking at Matthew Pola-Mao to fill the defensive tackle vacancy. Offensive tackle Dawand Jones is also a target, but USC is an underdog for his commitment; according to 247 Sports, Ohio State is Jones’ most likely destination.

The 2019 class is currently shaping up, but it is still weaker than in past years at No. 13 ranking. The SEC once again dominates the recruiting rankings currently with four of the top five classes and the Trojans aren’t helping to dethrone the SEC with turmoil in the coaching staff and inconsistent on-field play.

Kingsbury was supposed to be the great beacon of hope for the Trojans’ underperforming offense, and his cool charisma gave the program a brief resurgence. But his departure has hurt the Trojans’ chances at landing their recruiting targets and moving into the top-five class.