USC’s 2021 recruiting class isn’t complete yet — the regular signing day period doesn’t begin until February 3 — but after wrapping up an exceptional early signing day period, which officially ended December 16, there is a lot for Trojan fans to be excited about. According to 247Sports, USC’s 2021 recruiting class currently ranks No. 8 nationally and No. 2 in the Pac-12, a far cry from the previous year, when the Trojans’ recruiting class ultimately finished No. 64 nationally and dead-last in the conference.
In light of the program’s recruiting turnaround and seeming return to national prominence, here is a look at the top five recruits in USC’s 2021 class thus far. (All rankings were retrieved from 247Sports composite rankings).
Korey Foreman, fivestar defensive end
The importance of Foreman’s (Corona, Calif.) commitment to USC is impossible to understate. Following the disappointment that was the Trojans’ 2020 recruiting cycle, the program beefed up its recruiting staff and revamped much of its recruiting infrastructure to ensure that its slide in prominence didn’t become a regularity. Landing Foreman sends the message that the program is back on track and worthy of attracting top-talent from across the country again. Perhaps most importantly, however, it’s a key step towards reclaiming the program’s recruiting dominance in California, a strategy USC has dubbed, “Take Back the West.” It’s been five years since the Trojans last secured California’s top recruit.
Though much of the commentary following Foreman’s commitment has centered on the symbolic importance of the defensive end’s decision, fans shouldn’t forget that Foreman projects to be an early impact player for the Trojans next season. Standing at 6’5 and 255 lbs, Foreman possesses a well distributed frame, elite quickness, and is considered a technician on the defensive line. Those qualities — which have led some analysts to forecast Foreman as a future No.1 NFL draft pick — will likely serve him well next season, when he presumably bookends USC’s defensive front along with former teammate sophomore Drake Jackson.
Miller Moss, four-star quarterback
Moss (Mission Hills, Calif.) is the No. 71 recruit in the nation and the No. 5 player in California. He’s a pure pocket passer with one of the quickest releases in the country, good arm strength and exceptional accuracy. He also spurned Alabama, LSU and cross-town rival UCLA to sign with USC, which represented a major recruiting victory for the Trojans.
Unlike Foreman, Moss isn’t expected to see the field next season, with sophomore Kedon Slovis projected to lead USC’s offense again after a productive 2020 campaign. However, Slovis will be draft-eligible after next season, and all signs are pointing to a battle to succeed Slovis between Moss and the only other quarterback on this list, Jaxson Dart.
Ceyair Wright, four star cornerback
Wright (Los Angeles, CA) is the only recruit on this list who has yet to officially sign with USC, but his commitment to the Trojans is a hard one. He’s the No. 6 cornerback in the country and the No. 8 recruit in the state of California. Like Foreman and Moss, Wright’s commitment also represents the fulfillment of USC’s efforts to “Take Back the West.”
At 6’1, Wright has the ideal frame and lengthy build necessary to play man-to-man at the college level. Wright also possesses elite speed, as evidenced by the 10.84 100 meter-dash he clocked as a junior on his state-winning 4×100 relay team. Given the likelihood that USC’s secondary will be much less experienced next season than it was this past season — the result of the junior cornerback Olaijah Griffin and junior safety Talanoa Hufanga declaring for the draft — Wright appears poised to be an early contributor to the Trojans’ defense.
Jaxson Dart, four-star quarterback
Unlike other recruits on this list, Dart (Draper, Utah) was not a recruiting commodity prior to the 2020 high school season. In fact, as of last September, Dart didn’t have a single Power Five offer and wasn’t even ranked by 247Sports composite rankings until October. His meteoric recruiting rise is largely due to the fact that during the 2020 season, Dart threw for 67 touchdowns, a Utah state-record and more than 3-times his total from any previous season, and 4691 yards, almost double his total from any previous season, on his way to winning his third straight Utah state-championship.
The stats don’t appear to be a fluke either. Dart, a pocket passer, possesses prototypical size for his position at 6’3, 210lbs. He also demonstrated excellent vision last season while flashing all the necessary intangibles to succeed at the college level. His arm strength isn’t lacking either, as evidenced by his previously mentioned stat line. With Slovis likely to head to the NFL after next season, fans should expect a quarterback battle between Dart and Moss to become USC’s next starter under-center.
Julien Simon, four star outside linebacker
Simon (Tacoma, Wash.) is the No. 119 overall prospect and No. 4 recruit in the state of Washington. Perhaps no word sums up Simon’s skill set better than versatile. Simon played running back, wide receiver, linebacker and safety during his junior season and managed to find the end zone multiple times on both sides of the ball. Though he offers production and potential on offense, he projects as a linebacker at the college level, a position he’s already slated to play at USC.
When playing linebacker his junior season, Simon showed off excellent ball skills, an ability to cover running backs, tight ends and receivers and a knack for getting into the backfield and stuffing the ball-carrier. Fans should expect him to be a playmaker whenever he eventually finds his way onto USC’s starting defense.