The USC Trojans are coming off of an undefeated (shortened) regular season, and despite losing in the Pac-12 championship game, it looks like they are going to continue to be good for the foreseeable future after pulling in the No. 8-ranked recruiting class in the nation.
The Trojans are losing quite a few players that are entering the NFL draft, and I think they’ll be missed, but there are a lot of local athletes on the offensive side that will be ready to fill the spots.
Head coach Clay Helton has had a pretty good recruiting offseason and the class is a big upgrade compared to last year’s ranking of No. 64 in the nation.
This article will focus on the 2021 recruits on the offensive side of the ball, we will focus on the defensive recruits in our next article dropping soon!
To add depth behind quarterback Kedon Slovis, pro-style quarterbacks Miller Moss from Bishop Alemany in Mission Hills and Jaxson Dart from Corner Canyon in Draper, Utah are arriving on campus.
The 6-foot-2-inch quarterback led his team to a 9-3 record in 2019 and reached the CIF Southern Section Division 3 semifinals as a junior. He completed more than 67% of his passes for more than 3,100 yards, 28 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions in addition to over 100 yards rushing on more than 30 attempts.
He graduated from high school early and has enrolled at USC for the spring.
“There were a ton of reasons why I chose USC,” Moss said in an interview with 247Sports. “I’ve mentioned it before but that’s the school I’ve always wanted to go to. It wasn’t an emotional decision — trust me, it was well thought out … when I thought about the school I could picture myself at, putting on that jersey and running out of the tunnel — it was always USC.”
Moss’s mother was a professor in the School of Architecture, so he must have experiences on the campus since he was young.
The lone running back recruit in the class is Brandon Campbell from Texas. He spent his freshman year in Houston, sophomore year in Katy, and junior year at Pearland.
He opted out of playing his senior year at Katy and spent his time preparing for college football in Rosenberg. He made the All-District first team last season at Pearland — running for almost 900 yards on about 120 carries and 18 touchdowns, plus 280 yards on 14 catches and 3 touchdowns.
The 5-foot-11-inch tailback tweeted on Wednesday that he’s on his way to campus. He graduated from high school early and already enrolled at USC.
The receiving corps in this recruiting class is good — with three wide receivers and three athletic receivers who can be placed in many positions. Kyron Ware-Hudson from Mater Dei, Michael Jackson from Desert Pines in Las Vegas, and Joseph Manjack from Memoria in Tomball, Texas.
Kyron Ware-Hudson is a four-star recruit ranked just outside the top-20 among wide receivers but sits at No. 11 in the state of California. 247Sports made the comparison to 3-time Pro Bowl wideout Anquan Boldin.
The Duarte-native had a strong junior year in Santa Ana catching passes from Alabama freshman Bryce Young with more than 850 receiving yards on almost 60 receptions and 13 touchdowns. The No. 2-ranked team nationally last season finished 11-2 and only losing to the top-ranked St. John Bosco team in the regular season and in the Division 1 Championship Game.
Mater Dei is the top-ranked football team in California going into this season but his senior year is unlikely to be played.
To add to the receiving corps, tight ends Michael Trigg from Carrollwood Day in Tampa, Florida, and Lake McRee from Lake Travis in Austin, Texas are looking to line up for Helton’s offense.
Trigg is a four-star recruit ranked in the top-5 in his position, which makes him a strong addition to the squad. 247Sports made the comparison to LA Rams’ tight end Gerald Everett, and they rank his athleticism, route running, mismatch ability, and hands very high on the scale.
The 6-foot-5-inch athlete finished his senior year with almost 600 receiving yards on 30 receptions and 5 touchdowns, but he had an even bigger junior year with over 1,200 yards receiving on over 80 catches and 16 touchdowns at Seffner Christian Academy.
He is a versatile player who stepped in at defensive end in his senior year and played his position as well as quarterback and defensive end in his junior year.
The offensive line is getting some upgrades too — offensive tackle Mason Murphy from JSerra Catholic in San Juan Capistrano as well as offensive guards Ty Buchanan from Calallen in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Maximus Gibbs from St. John Bosco in Bellflower will be helping to beef up Slovis’ protection next season.
Murphy is a four-star recruit ranked in the top-30 at offensive tackle and just outside the top-30 overall in the state. He can be a nice addition to the offensive tackle position where Vera-Tucker is leaving a small void.
He made the 2020 PrepStar All-American list after being a 2-way tackle in his junior year.
Buchanan is also a four-star recruit ranked inside the top-40 at offensive guard. He made the 2020 PrepStar All-Midland list as well as the All-District 15-4A Division 1 Most Valuable Offensive Lineman award as a 2-way tackle during his senior year. He finished the season with 6 tackles on defense. As a junior, he made the All-District 15-5A Division 2 first team at Calallen.
He also threw the discus on the track team.
Among the nationally ranked top-200 players on the 247Sports list, only a handful haven’t signed their letter of intent.
On offense, running backs Camar Wheaton and L.J. Johnson are still around, but Wheaton is committed to Alabama while Johnson has strong interest from Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, and Oklahoma.
Running back Byron Cardwell has interest from multiple Pac-12 teams not named USC and will be announcing his commitment on January 25.
Wide receivers Brian Thomas Jr. and Destyn Hill both have strong interest from big schools like Alabama and LSU among other schools while Trevonte Rucker has interest from Florida and Arkansas. They each have a strong commitment to their next school — Thomas Jr. to LSU, Hill to Florida State, and Rucker to Deion Sanders’ Jackson State team. Rucker will be joining ex-USC linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain on the team.
USC offensive tackle Courtland Ford did some recruiting on social media this week, trying to bring in former Oklahoma wide receiver Charleston Rambo, who is a new addition to the NCAA Transfer Portal.
The list is likely to change, whether someone on the list decides that they want to find something better, or more offensive weapons will be added to the list. It’s unlikely it’ll change before the official signing day for high school athletes.
It looks like the Transfer Portal is getting some good names on it as well, so additions can come from there. All of the options are open.
National Signing Day is on February 3rd. Expect the four-star and five-star athletes who haven’t signed a letter of intent to announce their picks in a big way.