Thank God I write this column on a weekly basis. It gives me the opportunity to write about each installment of the USC football tailspin.
Over the past few days, there have been a lot of rumors that early enrollee five-star wide receiver Bru McCoy is considering transferring to Texas. Yesterday, McCoy entered the College Football Transfer Portal, meaning that he is open to being recruited by other schools (namely Texas). These rumors share an eerily similar plausibility with the Kliff Kingsbury rumors two weeks ago.
It is pretty hard to believe that McCoy’s considerations aren’t based upon the loss of offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury. Five-star receivers want to go to a university to do a few things: win football games, get better under great coaches and get noticed by professional scouts. Right now, USC offers only one of those three things and it isn’t the first two. Hell, it’s almost February and USC still doesn’t have an offensive coordinator.
My gut tells me that this is a done deal. If someone had committed to USC, signed a letter of intent and enrolled early at the University in any other of the past few years, they were all in. Every recruit knew what he was getting himself into: a winning football program with elite coaches that would provide the opportunity to be noticed by NFL scouts. I don’t blame McCoy for having one foot out the door because, right now, it sure looks like he’s stepping away from a sinking ship.
For the sake of simplicity, let’s consider that McCoy does take a one-way trip from Los Angeles to Austin. There are a couple ways to look at this decision and how it will affect USC.
Most fans would agree that the loss of one wide receiver won’t affect USC. Granted, fans will be disappointed that USC failed to retain a five-star recruit, but wide receiver is pretty much the only position that is solid for the Trojans in 2019.
Going into next season, USC will retain a strong core of veteran wide receivers in junior Michael Pittman and redshirt sophomore Tyler Vaughns. Both wide receivers had solid 2018 performances, with Pittman posting an average of 69 yards per game and Vaughns notching 56 in the same category.
The Trojans will also bring back some young talent. Rising sophomores Amon-Ra St. Brown and Devon Williams both showed potential last season. St. Brown was a consistent starter for the Trojans, despite a bumpy season. A year of collegiate football under his belt should help iron out some of those inconsistencies. Although Williams didn’t enjoy as much playing time as St. Brown, his performance against Oregon State should not be overlooked. The freshman boasted 77 yards on three receptions with a touchdown.
At the receiving level, USC is doing swell. The Trojans have always been able to attract great potential at that position.
That brings me to my next take on the McCoy situation.
McCoy’s departure won’t hurt the 2019 Trojans or the 2020 roster, but barring another losing season from USC, it will set the precedent that USC is no longer a powerhouse and no longer has the ability to attract five-star talent.
Some sites have McCoy listed as the only five-star prospect in USC’s 2019 recruiting class, while others also have Kyle Ford, a hard commit wide receiver, as USC’s second five-star. But if McCoy decides to jump ship after enrolling at USC, what’s to stop Ford from following suit and getting a couple’s discount on a one-way flight out of Los Angeles?
The Trojans haven’t had back-to-back losing seasons since 1961. Back then, the Trojans were in the Athletic Association of Western Universities and were led out of the tunnel by John McKay.
This team doesn’t do losing. This fanbase doesn’t do losing. These recruits do not want to lose. That’s why the Coliseum is half empty. That’s why alumni are pissed off at USC Athletics. And that’s why the recruits keep leaving.
Sam Arslanian is a sophomore writing about sports. His column, “Extra Innings,” runs Fridays.