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2022 USC Recruiting: Tight end

Erik McKinney02/23/21
Article written by:On3 imageErik McKinney


Keyan Burnett

Up next in the 2022 USC Recruiting series, we're taking a look at USC's 2022 tight end recruiting.

Previous entries:

2022 USC Recruiting: Quarterback

2022 USC Recruiting: Running back

2022 USC Recruiting: Wide receiver

Tight End

2021 signees: Michael Trigg, Lake McRee

2022 Commitments: None

2022 Targets:

4-star Keyan Burnett (Anaheim, Calif./Servite)

4-star Donovan Green (Dickinson, Tex./Dickinson) -- Texas A&M Commit

4-star Holden Staes (Atlanta/Westminster)

4-star Oscar Delp (Cumming, Ga./West Forsyth)

3-star Trent McGaughey (Pearland, Tex./Shadow Creek)

4-star Jack Pedersen (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) -- UCLA Commit

4-star Sam Roush (Nashville, Tenn./Lipscomb Academy) -- Stanford Commit

4-star Karson Gay (Chattanooga, Tenn./Boyd-Buchanan) -- Virginia Commit

Tight end recruiting

USC probably needs just one tight end in this class. The Trojans did just sign two in the 2021 class, in Lake McRee and Michael Trigg, but USC will lose Erik Krommenhoek and Josh Falo after this season, and both Jude Wolfe and Ethan Rae are entering their third seasons at USC.

Donovan Green was the top out-of-state target, but the nation's No. 106 overall prospect made an early commitment to Texas A&M. The Trojans also saw in-state offer Sam Roush commit to Stanford (Roush subsequently transferred high schools out of California).

Local four-star prospect Keyan Burnett remains a top target, as the nation's No. 212 overall recruit and No. 7 tight end looks a lot like what USC coaches talk about when they discuss what they want in a tight end. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound prospect is a downfield threat and very good pass catcher, and he's physical enough to make an impact at the line of scrimmage. He's a two-way player in high school, though offense is likely where he'll wind up in college.

Burnett said he prides himself on his ability to make plays on the ball in traffic, as well as his ability to run block. He's a guy who can line up in multiple spots, from an H-back role in the backfield to all the way out wide against a cornerback.

It still feels as though the USC coaches are getting a handle on the tight end position with the players available on the roster. Traditional tight ends have not had a huge impact during the last two seasons, but Drake London has been lumped in with the tight ends in terms of production from the Y-receiver position. London's production has been something that caught the eyes of both Trigg and McRee in the 2021 class, as well as Burnett in the 2022 class.

One school to watch for with Burnett could be Arizona, where his father played and a program looking to build from the ground up with a new head coach and direction. The Wildcats have been all about bringing former players back at every level of the coaching staff and personnel department, so getting big-time legacy recruit would be at the top of the to-do list as well.

Burnett spoke about his connection with the USC coaches the the early part of his recruiting process back in September.

Elsewhere, the Trojans are chasing some big names in Holden Staes (the nation's No. 204 prospect) and Oscar Delp (No. 237). Staes recently decommitted from Penn State and then Notre Dame came forward with an offer. The 6-foot-4, 220-pounder is the nation's No. 6 tight end and holds offers from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oregon and others.

The 6-foot-5, 220-pound Delp is a big-time pass catcher and would be a great fit in this USC offense, but Georgia and Michigan look to be leading the way at this point.

Pedersen held an early offer from USC but recently announced his commitment to UCLA.

Four-star prospect Carsen Ryan (American Fork, Utah/American Fork) doesn't hold an offer from USC, but the nation's No. 265 prospect and No. 11 tight end is an intriguing prospect at the position. He's 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, and while he looks much more like a block-first tight end, he's surprisingly agile downfield and catches the ball very well.