USC Recruiting Review: The 2019 class

Erik McKinneyabout 2 months
Aritcle written by:Erik McKinneyErik McKinney

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Chris Steele

This offseason, we’ve had a look back at some of the recruiting classes that make up this 2021 USC football roster in the Recruiting Review series. It started with the 2017 recruiting class, and we also covered the 2018 group, looking at what kind of production USC has gotten out of its recent recruiting classes, as well as the hits, the misses and some what-ifs. Now, we'll move onto the 2019 class, which will be hugely impactful on the success of this USC team.

The 2018 Class

National Rank: 20
Pac-12 Rank: 4

5-star signees: 1 (WR Bru McCoy)
4-star: 7
3-star: 16
Not rated: 1

Transfers: 2 (4-star CB Chris Steele, 3-star OT Drew Richmond)

Technically, McCoy is typically counted as a transfer because he ultimately came in from Texas, but from a recruiting perspective, McCoy signed with USC and enrolled out of high school.

Class highlights

Landing McCoy was a major recruiting win (as was getting him back after he left for Texas). Defensive end Drake Jackson was a signing day decision who nearly went to Arizona State. Wide receiver Kyle Ford was a top-50 national prospect and cornerback Max Williams, tight end Jude Wolfe, wide receiver Drake London and offensive lineman Jason Rodriguez were all big in-state pickups. Defensive end Nick Figueroa was a very late addition and he's worked out tremendously for the Trojans.

Kedon Slovis has to be viewed as a major highlight from this class. It was clear from very early on that the USC coaches really liked him and he absolutely proved them right, coming out of nowhere to impress early on and take over as the starter just one half into his college career.

Class lowlights

Cornerback Trey Davis was a very questionable take at the time and he didn't last long at USC. USC rolled the dice on a lot of defensive back additions late in the cycle and we're still waiting to see what kind of impact they can make. Only a season and a half into their careers and with a huge majority of the class still on the roster, it's tough to be too down on a class that can still contribute heavily to the Trojans this season and next.

To be determined

What will USC get from the defensive backs? Max Williams is injured again this season but showed he can be an impact player when healthy. Cornerbacks Adonis Otey, Dorian Hewett and Jayden Williams have seen time sporadically but are going to get seriously pushed by the 2021 additions and the guys coming in 2022. Safety Kaulana Makaula was moved to linebacker in the spring and Briton Allen showed some positive flashes working at nickel this spring.

It's also worth watching to see just how good the top players can be. Quarterback Kedon Slovis, wide receiver Drake London and linebacker Drake Jackson are all poised to have huge seasons and put themselves in line for conference and national awards. Those three could bump this class a full grade on their own.

And this class is loaded with guys who are continuing to develop and very much wild cards in terms of what kind of performance USC will get out of them this season. Guys like Ford and Wolfe could be major factors or see injury setbacks limit them. Kenan Christon has a chance to be an offensive weapon. Can Ralen Goforth take another step forward as a leader in the middle of the defense? Can De'jon Benton or Stanley Ta'ufo'ou be factors along the defensive line?

Position hit

Pass catcher

McCoy, London, Ford and McClain at wide receiver. Wolfe and Ethan Rae at tight end. It was a great haul at receiver and tight end for the Trojans. Hopefully we finally get a chance to see McCoy, London, Ford, Wolfe and Rae healthy and on the field at the same time this fall. London has been the only one to experience good health while at USC.

Position miss

Offensive line

Rodriguez was a big addition and he's a guy to watch grow under the new strength staff and position coach Clay McGuire. The only other high school offensive line addition was Gino Quinones, after offensive guard Tilini Livai did not make it in academically. USC did bring in Richmond as a transfer from Tennessee, but landing just two offensive linemen in that class has hurt the Trojans going forward.

What if

Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux is the huge "what if" question. The No. 1 prospect in California wound up at Oregon and is an absolute star. And he isn't the only Southern California standout USC lost to Oregon, with the Ducks grabbing cornerback Mykael Wright, linebacker Mase Funa and offensive tackle Jonah Tauanu'u. And of course, the offensive line is the next spot. Offensive tackle Sean Rhyan went to UCLA and became a true-freshman starter. Tauanu'u has medically retired, so losing him hasn't had the same impact as the others. But Arizona State's Dohnovan West has turned into a star for the Sun Devils and he was the No. 78 overall prospect in California.

Full class

WR Bru McCoy (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) -- No. 9 overall prospect
WR Kyle Ford (Orange, Calif./Orange Lutheran) -- No. 38
DE Drake Jackson (Corona, Calif./Centennial) -- No. 56
CB Max Williams (Gardena, Calif./Serra) -- No. 186
ILB Maninoa Tufono (Honolulu/Punahou) -- No. 195
TE Jude Wolfe (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) -- No. 239
WR Drake London (Moorpark, Calif./Moorpark) -- No. 247
OT Jason Rodriguez (Hesperia, Calif./Oak Hills) -- No. 299
S Briton Allen (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy) -- No. 387
RB Kenan Christon (San Diego/Madison) -- No. 405
LB Ralen Goforth (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) -- No. 431
TE Ethan Rae (Orange, Calif./Orange Lutheran) -- No. 467
DE Nick Figueroa (Riverside, Calif./Riverside CC) -- No. 24 Juco
CB Adonis Otey (Murfreesboro, Tenn./Blackman) -- No. 529
WR Munir McClain (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./JSerra) -- No. 561
QB Kedon Slovis (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) -- No. 705
LB Tuasivi Nomura (Corona, Calif./Centennial) -- No. 763
LB Stanley Ta'ufo'ou (Simi Valley, Calif./Grace Brethren) -- No. 770
DT De'jon Benton (Pittsburg, Calif./Pittsburg) -- N/A
S Jayden Williams (Corona, Calif./Centennial) -- N/A
CB Trey Davis (Federal Way, Wash./Federal Way) -- N/A
S Kaulana Makaula (Honolulu/Punahou) -- N/A
C Gino Quinones (Honolulu/St. Louis) -- N/A
S Dorian Hewett (Houston/North Shore) -- N/A
P Ben Griffiths (Australia/ProKick) -- N/A

Transfers

CB Chris Steele (Florida)
OT Drew Richmond (Tennessee)