The 2016 USC recruiting class will be a big test for Clay Helton, who is completing his first recruiting cycle since being appointed full-time head coach.
Unlike last year, the Trojans are not going to have the No. 1 recruiting class. For starters, they won’t sign nearly as many players. They also don’t have the wealth of local products set to announce on Signing Day as they did in 2015.
But with six scholarships left, USC has more than enough room to work with and more than enough interested targets to close out Helton’s first class strong. Here’s a look at five must-get recruits for the Trojans:
TE/DE Devin Asiasi (Concord, CA)
Last year, the Trojans were looking to close the recruiting class with elite defenders that went two-ways in high school, Porter Gustin and Osa Masina. Both had Steve Sarkisian remarking that they could see time at tight end, in addition to linebacker.
They’ve yet to do so, but it could become more of a reality for four-star Devin Asiasi out of De La Salle. At 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, he has the size and ability to play both at tight end and defensive end, two positions of need for the Trojans.
USC has a commitment from Cary Angeline out of Pennsylvania and Tyler Petite will be a sophomore in 2016, but Asiasi would be a big body that the Trojans just don’t have. Both Angeline and Petite are vertical passing targets, while Asiasi is more of a physical presence.
On top of that, his versatility on defense could help USC re-stock the defensive line after losing five to graduation. A weak-side defensive end by trade, where he would slot in exactly in Clancy Pendergast’s system is up in the air.
Asiasi’s teammate at DLS, fellow four-star Boss Tagoloa is another recruit to watch for, and nearly made the list. Both are expected to visit USC in January, which could lend itself to a package deal on Signing Day if things go right for the Trojans.
Asiasi recently named USC among his top five schools.