USC has been landing on so many top lists for top targets this spring that it was notable when four-star prospect Cyrus Moss (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) announced his top five schools and the Trojans weren't included.
Moss is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker and would have been a impactful addition for USC with his ability to get after the quarterback on the outside. At USC, outside linebackers Hunter Echols and Juliano Falaniko are listed as redshirt seniors (though both would seemingly have the option to return with the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA) and it is likely that Drake Jackson could jump to the NFL following a productive 2021 season. USC has 2021 signee Raesjon Davis slated for outside linebacker when he arrives later this year, and Korey Foreman could help fill that role as well.
Missing on Moss, the nation's No. 57 overall prospect and a top-five defensive end, could hurt the Trojans in two ways. His top five includes Arizona State, Notre Dame and Oregon (in addition to Clemson and Florida), so he could be lining up against USC over the coming years.
USC was also hoping to have a successful Las Vegas run in the 2022 class. The Trojans already have a commitment from four-star cornerback Fabian Ross, Moss' teammate at Bishop Gorman, and are squarely in the mix for four-star safety Zion Branch (another Bishop Gorman star), running back Jovantae Barnes (Las Vegas/Desert Pines) and teammates in outside linebacker Anthony Jones and defensive tackle Sir Mells (Henderson, Nev./Liberty).
As far as bouncing back at the position, the Trojans are well-positioned with four-star outside linebacker David Bailey (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), the No. 82 overall prospect and priority target for USC. At 6-foot-3, 220-pounds, Bailey brings a ton of athleticism to the position and has some pass-rush pedigree of his own.
And an interesting target has popped up recently, in three-star prospect Anto Saka (Towson, Md./Loyola Blakefield).
The 6-foot-4, 225-pound defensive end is a long, rangy, disruptive force off the edge with a terrific first step and non-stop motor. Saka has a long list of offers, including many from the Big Ten and Ivy League. USC extended an offer in late March (followed by offers from Cal and Oregon) and Saka announced Sunday that he'll take an official visit to see the Trojans on June 11. That will be followed by trips to Michigan and Penn State the following two weekends, so USC will need to make a lasting impression. Defensive line coach Vic So'oto is leading the recruiting charge for Saka. He's familiar with that area from his time recruiting for Virginia and signed defensive end Colin Mobley out of Maryland in the 2021 class.
More June visits for USC
At the rate they're going, the Trojans are going to need to have several welcome mats on hand in the month of June because there are going to be so many visitors hitting campus.
With the dead period set to expire on June 1, USC is absolutely loading up on official visitors for the weekends of June 4, 11 and 18. At times this month it's felt as though there are multiple prospects a day scheduling visits, and a few more were added to the list this past week.
In addition to Saka, USC will host three-star wide receiver Nicholas Anderson (Katy, Tex./Katy), a teammate of USC linebacker commit Ty Kana. Anderson led Katy with 29 receptions for 450 yards last season and has seen his recruiting stock soar over the past five months. Notre Dame offered in late-November and the Fighting Irish are a real player for the 6-foot-4, 195-pound receiver. He'll visit South Bend in June as well. Texas, Michigan, Stanford, Florida State, USC and Oregon have all offered since late-December.
USC will also get a visit from five-star outside linebacker Harold Perkins (Cypress, Tex./Cy Park), who will visit the Trojans on June 4.
USC was in on Perkins very, very early. The Trojans offered last April, just behind his first two offers, from Baylor and Tulsa. Since then, just about everybody has offered and Perkins now stands as the No. 14 overall prospect and a five-star recruit.
He's played some offense in his high school career, but the 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is likely an outside linebacker at the next level and plays with a physical edge to his game. As with a lot of Texas prospects in this 2022 class, both Texas and Texas A&M will be extremely tough to beat for him, but he's another guy willing to give USC a shot with a visit.
Closer to home, USC will have two of its top safety targets in the 2022 class on campus at the same time, as Zion Branch (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) and Kamari Ramsey (Chatsworth, Calif./Sierra Canyon) have both scheduled June 18 visits to see the Trojans. Branch is the nation's No. 51 overall prospect, while Ramsey checks in at No. 105. USC is looking to land at least a couple safeties in this class and any group that includes Branch and Ramsey would be a major haul.
Trojans make top schools lists
While USC didn't make the cut for Moss, the Trojans did land on a couple of important top schools lists for top big-man targets.
Four-star defensive tackle Anthony Lucas (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) released his top 10 last week and it's yet another top group of schools that includes USC.
Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA and USC are the final schools for the 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive tackle. It's interesting that Arizona State is not in there, considering the Sun Devils are recruiting at a high level in this 2021 class. The list of schools contains a mix of schools that have done very well in Arizona recently, including Notre Dame, Oregon and Texas.
Lucas is the nation's No. 116 overall prospect and is all the way up at No. 26 overall according to 247 Sports. Needless to say, landing the West region's top defensive tackles is always a priority for USC and Lucas is ranked as the top guy west of Texas by a sizable margin right now.
USC also stayed in the mix for four-star offensive tackle Malik Agbo (Federal Way, Wash./Todd Beamer), who put the Trojans in his top 12, along with Alabama, Arizona State, Florida, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.
Agbo is another highly-ranked Washington offensive lineman in this class, but he sure seems interesting in heading out to take a look at a number of Southeast schools. Agbo took an unofficial visit to USC in early March of 2020. He's scheduled visits to LSU and Miami in June.
USC extends more offers
USC got in fairly early with two Southeastern 2023 prospects this week, as the Trojans extended offers to outside linebacker Raylen Wilson (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) and defensive end Zavion Hardy (Macon, Ga./Tattnall Square Academy).
Wilson is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound linebacker and the nation's No. 111 overall prospect. Florida State, Miami and USF have already offered in state, in addition to ones from South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. USC is clearly hoping it can rekindle the recruiting success it once had at Lincoln, which produced former Trojans in cornerback T.J. Bryant, safety Jawanza Starling and running back Buck Allen.
The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Hardy already holds in-state offers from Georgia and Georgia Tech, but only Florida State and South Carolina had offered apart from them until USC's offer came in. USC is working hard for defensive linemen in Georgia in this 2022 class and the Trojans will keep their sights set there for future classes as well.
USC offers 2024 running backs
The Trojans have now offered three 2024 running backs and two of them are from the state of Washington.
Jason Brown (Seattle/O'Dea) joins Unterrio Latin-Henley (Samammish, Wash./Eastside Catholic) with very early USC offers. Brown holds an offer from Washington and will be a high priority recruit for the Huskies.
USC also extended an offer to Stacy Gage (Bradenton, Fla./IMG). The 5-foot-11, 190-pound back has been a known recruit since he was 12 and after a very good freshman season at IMG, his stock is likely to continue climbing this offseason and into his sophomore season. Arizona, Penn State, USC and Utah have offered already.