In the final year of signing a class limited to 15, Steve Sarkisian had to work the balancing act of which positions to heavily recruit and which to put off for 2015 .
Ultimately, Sarkisian signed a nationally-ranked class full of versatile prospects and was able to address some immediate needs, one of which was at tight end.
Getting a commitment from Bryce Dixon was instrumental as the Trojans were set to begin the 2014 season with only two scholarship tight ends on the roster — Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick and Randall Telfer.
However, even with Dixon’s commitment, the tight end position is again at the forefront of needs for the 2015 recruiting cycle. Barring unforeseen circumstances, 2014 will be Telfer’s final season as a Trojan, which will leave a gaping hole at the position.
With that in mind, here are four tight ends to keep an eye on with 2015 National Signing Day only one year away.
1. Devonaire Clarington (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnat Catholic)
Clarington had 84 receptions, 890 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns in his junior season. He has yet to receive a scholarship offer from the Trojans, but given their recent success in recruiting the sunshine state, that could soon change.
Rivals ranks the 6-5 prospect as the No. 3 tight end in the 2015 class. Clarington currently holds scholarship offers from Florida, Miami, Notre Dame and South Florida.
2. Alize Jones (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman)
Jones is Rivals’ No. 1 tight end in the 2015 class and is currently committed to UCLA. However, that didn’t prevent the coaching staff from taking a visit to Bishop Gorman in January.
During his junior season, Jones hauled in 35 receptions for 571 yards and 10 touchdowns. With Sarkisian possessing a track record of targeting the tight end in his offense, it may give the Trojans another recruiting pitch that was previously absent.
The Trojans, as well as several other Pac-12 schools have extended scholarship offers 6-4 prospect and his recruiting is likely far from over .
3. Kyle Penniston (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei)
Penniston didn’t put up the prolific stats Jones did, catching 11 balls for 131 yards and one touchdown, which can in part be attributed to the Monarchs having a 1,000-yard rusher.
Penniston currently holds four scholarship offers from Florida State, Miami, Washington State and Wisconsin.
With the history of Mater Dei products moving on to USC, Penniston may be the next Monarch to make the transition.
4. Garrett Williams (Orlando, Fla./First Academy)
Like Clarington, Williams also hails from Florida, however his list of scholarship offers is far more extensive. Thus far, Williams holds over 20 offers, including the likes of Alabama and Stanford, but the Trojans have yet to enter the fray.
Williams only caught four passes for nine yards, but added 10 rushes for 41 yards and recorded 14 tackles as a defensive end.