High-ranked players commit to USC

USC commit C.J. Williams stands on the field in the All-American Bowl.
Wide receiver C.J. Williams announced his plans to play for the Trojans Jan. 8 after narrowing his options down to USC and UCLA. (Photo courtesy of C.J Williams on Twitter @CJWilliams_3)

Since Head Coach Lincoln Riley decided to join USC in November, the Trojans have been in the spotlight, especially for potential high school recruits and transfers. With Riley comes the expectation for success, as seen with his past track record at Oklahoma, which is appealing for many players. He had a record of 55-10 over 5 seasons with the Sooners.

Although many are waiting for the transfer decision of Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams, the No. 1 player in the transfer portal who was originally recruited by Riley, here are some of the top recruits confirmed to be representing the Trojans next season. 

Raleek Brown, Running Back, Mater Dei High School

Raleek Brown will offer much needed skill to the running back position after the departures of senior Keaontay Ingram for the NFL Draft and redshirt senior Vavae Malepeai. As one of the best running backs in his class, ranked at No. 2 according to 247Sports, Brown committed to USC and stayed closer to home after originally choosing Oklahoma. 

Due to his speed and play style, the 5-star recruit will work well all around the field on offense. He has the potential as a running back or wide receiver, highlighting his versatility as a playmaker. 

Domani Jackson, Cornerback, Mater Dei High School

To further bolster the secondary, USC swayed 5-star cornerback Domani Jackson away from Alabama to come play for the Trojans. As the No. 1 recruit overall out of California, according to 247Sports, Jackson will pair up well alongside Fabian Ross to strengthen the Trojan defense in the upcoming season. With his speed and ability to cover receivers well, Jackson will be a crucial component to help rebuild USC’s secondary. 

Jackson is also a key piece in USC’s attempt to keep top-recruits in Southern California. His commitment may possibly mark a new era of Southern California stars staying home.  

Mario Williams, Wide Receiver, University of Oklahoma

A former 4-star wide receiver recruit from Florida, Mario Williams stood out during his freshman season at Oklahoma. He had 35 receptions, along with 380 yards and 4 touchdowns. His most notable performance was against Texas Tech, where he earned 100 yards and 1 touchdown with 5 receptions. 

With Mario Williams being one of the newer additions to the Trojans receiving corps and potentially catching passes from his former Oklahoma teammate Caleb Williams, the offense moving forward will be more explosive. 

C.J. Williams, Wide Receiver, Mater Dei High School

A 4-star receiver from the Southern California powerhouse Mater Dei High School, C.J. Williams will add more talent to the Trojans this upcoming season. Williams made his decision while playing in the All-American Bowl with his future teammate, running back Raleek Brown, on Jan. 8 over cross-town rivals UCLA. Originally, Williams had committed to USC’s rival Notre Dame, but decommitted on Dec. 13 soon after Riley was hired. 

In his last season as a senior, he had 51 receptions for 830 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Terrell Bynum, Wide Receiver, University of Washington

Another former 4-star wide receiver transfer, Terell Bynum, is coming back home to Southern California after playing up north in Seattle for Washington the past 4 seasons. During his last year, as a redshirt junior, Bynum had 436 yards and 4 touchdowns on 26 receptions. 

His most notable performance was against Arizona, where he earned 143 yards and 1 touchdown in just 5 receptions, to help the Huskies edge out the Wildcats 21-16. Bynum adds some experience to a receiving corps that will be without last year’s leader Drake London.

Zion Branch, Safety, Bishop Gorman High School

Arriving from Las Vegas, Zion Branch will add more talent to the Trojans’ defense. With offers from other major schools like Ohio State, Oklahoma and Alabama, Branch decided to stay closer to home at USC. 

Ranked as the No. 1 player in Nevada according to 247Sports, Branch is known for his strength and ability to tackle. He had 42 solo tackles senior year and has been compared to Los Angeles Chargers’ Rayshawn Jenkins. Branch’s younger brother, 5-star class of 2023 wide receiver Zachariah Branch has also committed to USC. 

Fabian Ross, Cornerback, Bishop Gorman High School

Like his high school teammate Zion Branch, Fabian Ross will also join the Trojans’ secondary next year. Ross is ranked as the No. 28 ranked cornerback in the nation and has received praise for patience and being able to stick onto the receiver, according to 247Sports. As a participant of the Polynesian Bowl, Ross has been recognized for his talent and will be a key piece in USC’s defense next season.