Insider: Lincoln Riley Turned #1 Consensus QB Away, USC Football All In On Julian Lewis

Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, every USC Football fan knows who Julian Lewis is. The High School phenom out of Carrollton, Georgia that has been committed to the USC Trojans since August 22, 2023. Since that commitment, teams all over the country have been in full-fledged attack mode, trying to flip the five-star QB.

All of Trojans Nation has been on edge, remaining hopeful that Lewis would stay committed all the way to signing day, but with programs like Georgia, Texas, Alabama, and others all lurking, there has certainly been doubt.

Doubt for everyone it seems, except for USC head coach Lincoln Riley. National College Football Recruiting Insider for On3, Steve Wiltfong, reported that Riley believed in Lewis so much that they never offered another QB in the 2025 class. In fact, the number one prospect in the nation, Bryce Underwood out of Belleville High School in Michigan, was turned away when he thought about taking a visit to USC.

So early and USC, they invested in Julian Lewis more than any other school. And what I mean by that is if you look at all his other finalists, they offered other quarterbacks. Lincoln Riley knew Julian Lewis was ultimately gonna be a reclassify and he did not offer a 2025 or 2026 while Julian Lewis was in the 2026 class. Bryce Underwood thought about visiting USC. You’re a talented player, but don’t come out, we’re on Julian Lewis.

USC Football HC Lincoln Riley All In On Julian Lewis

Whether you like this decision or not, it just shows the confidence that Riley has in two things. One, that once Julian Lewis committed he would stay committed (still some time to go before signing day in December), and two, that Lewis was the guy that he wanted to be the face of USC Trojans football.

Related: USC Football 2025 Recruiting Class Tracker

No one has a better track record in college football with quarterbacks than Lincoln Riley. People can debate his ranking as an overall coach, but “QB Guru” is not up for debate. Three Heisman Trophy winners and three number-one overall picks in the NFL Draft speak for themselves. Lewis has spoken many times about how his decision to commit to USC ultimately came down to Riley and what he would mean for his development and for his future.

Now USC has the task of ensuring that they fill in all of the other gaps so that the vultures don’t swoop in. That means building a winning culture from top to bottom. That means having a plan for the future. That means getting back to dominant recruiting. That means having one of the most competitive NIL programs in the nation.

We are still over two months away from kickoff against the LSU Tigers, but on paper, the USC program seems to be checking these boxes.

A winning culture isn’t built overnight, but necessary changes were made at the end of the last season and new building blocks and cornerstones were created. You could see a very quick success story in the Holiday Bowl. Check.

The coaching staff has built a plan for the future, and based on comments from many recruits, they feel like it has been laid out in front of them directly. Check.

Currently, USC stands with the number three overall recruiting class. After a great weekend that saw 19 official visits, there are seemingly two more commitments coming, after gaining one from four-star EDGE rusher Hayden Lowe, with the possibility of more. This will move USC pretty close to the number one overall class. Check.

The NIL program is improving daily. It still has work today, but it is far and away better than where it was a year ago and is able to compete with the juggernauts in the NIL space. We had Jeff McKay, Co-Founder of Conquest Collective, on our USC LAFB show to discuss everything NIL and how all of the collectives are working together to ensure what is best for the Student-Athletes and program. Check.

Bryce Underwood (committed to LSU) may go on to be a tremendous college football quarterback (and we hope that he does). But based on his track record, USC fans should trust the judgment of Lincoln Riley. He is all in on Julian Lewis. Trojans fans should be too.