Summer heat hits USC football recruiting

Head Coach Lincoln Riley standing in front of USC football players.
USC football Head Coach Lincoln Riley is partaking in his first full-year recruiting cycle at USC and has wasted no time in getting marquee players. The Trojans currently have the 20th best recruiting class for 2024. (Robert Westermann | Daily Trojan)

All rankings in this article are according to the 247 Sports Composite.

If USC fans went on Twitter earlier this week, their feeds may have been flooded with peace sign emojis. And no, that does not mean USC and UCLA have finally set aside their rivalry. 

Those emojis represent the USC victory sign and, when football Head Coach Lincoln Riley tweets one out, it means he and his staff have landed a commitment for their recruiting class. Riley made five such tweets between Saturday and Monday.

The Trojans only had three verbal commitments in their 2024 recruiting class at the start of June, but that number is already up to eight after a strong weekend of official visitors. A pair of out-of-staters in 4-star safety Jarvis Boatwright and 3-star offensive tackle Hayden Treter were the first to commit coming out of the weekend, making their decision official Sunday. They were quickly followed by 4-star cornerback Dakoda Fields, 4-star edge rusher Kameryn Fountain and 4-star offensive tackle Manasse Itete, who all committed Monday.

These new recruits more than double the size of the class as they join previously-committed 4-star wide receiver Xavier Jordan, 4-star tight end Joey Olsen and 3-star running back Bryan Jackson. The eight give USC the 20th-ranked recruiting class in college football with six months still to go until early signing day.

This 2024 group will be the first USC recruiting class to play in the Big Ten conference, as that move is made official in August 2024. Currently, the Trojans have the sixth-best recruiting class in their soon-to-be conference. USC’s class is ranked second in the Pac-12, which shows how strong Big Ten schools are on the recruiting trail.

While it is still early into the recruiting cycle and additional commitments will change the overall look of the class, the eight players committed to the Trojans seem to be bucking trends of USC’s 2023 group, a class that was ranked eighth in the country. All three of USC’s top signees in 2023 were on the offense, while Fountain and Fields are both defensive players and currently the highest-rated players of USC’s commits.

USC’s class still has room to grow, as its eight members pale in comparison to the top-ranked 17-player groups of Georgia and Michigan or 19-player group of Notre Dame. The Trojans hosted more high school players this past weekend, which might catch them up to other schools’ recruiting classes. 4-star running back Taylor Tatum, 4-star cornerback Zabien Brown, 4-star offensive lineman Isaiah Garcia and 4-star tight end Walter Matthews, among others, all visited USC this past weekend. 

The Trojans still do not have a quarterback commitment in this class so far, missing out on highly-ranked quarterbacks Dylan Raiola and DJ Lagway. USC is still in contention for Elijah Brown, who attends high school at nearby Mater Dei. The Trojans still have Heisman-winner Caleb Williams and former 5-star Malachi Nelson on their roster as signal callers but are looking toward the future of their team.

Brown is just one of multiple highly-ranked players at Mater Dei and other nearby-California schools that the Trojans are heavily recruiting. Many of them have already scheduled visits to USC. 4-star offensive tackle DeAndre Carter and Brown are both Mater Dei students who plan to visit in June, and the Trojans will look to lock down their signatures during the summer. Six of the top 11 players in California for this recruiting cycle hail from Mater Dei.

More high-level players are expected to visit USC in the coming weeks, which means victory sign emojis will likely pop up on Twitter feeds a couple more times as the summer goes on.