Four-star defensive end Connor Murphy named USC in his Top 5 schools Monday night alongside Michigan, Alabama, Oregon, and ASU.
The Phoenix-area product from Brophy College Preparatory is one of the top players in Arizona for the 2016 class. He is the No. 16 weakside defensive end available, according to the 247Sports composite.
USC is making a push for Murphy, but the team to beat could be Michigan. Murphy’s brother Trent, who is currently in the NFL with the Washington Redskins, was recruited by and played for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford.
At 6-foot-7, 250 pounds, Murphy is already impressive physically, even though he may need some time to develop at the college level. If his brother’s progression is anything to go by, that development could take him to great places. He would be USC’s tallest defensive lineman if he ultimately decided to join the Trojans.
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Despite bringing in five defensive linemen in the 2015 class, USC still needs major reinforcements up front on defense. Five starting or contributing defensive linemen are not returning next year due to graduation.
USC recently lost the commitment of three-star defensive end Keanu Saleapaga, so the 2016 class is currently composed of just 14 players, with six spots left to fill before February 4th.
They have been recruiting without a defensive staff in place but that may be the case for just a little while longer. With the official hiring of defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast announced on Monday, USC is one step closer to a finalized staff.
Murphy’s announcement came shortly after Pendergast’s addition was finalized, if that counts for anything.
A defensive line coach and defensive backs coach are presumably still in the works.