Signing Day 2016 was predicted to be a disappointment for USC football, but Clay Helton’s Trojans rallied to fill a talent-laden class now ranked among the nation’s best.
Heading into Signing Day, there was some concern about USC’s ability to finish out the 2016 class with seven spots available and prospects on in unclear territory. Despite the question marks, the Trojans finished strong — probably stronger than anyone expected.
Not only did Clay Helton and his staff fill all 20 spots available, but they did so with some shrewd out-of-state recruiting which paid major dividends.
The Trojans flipped Oregon commit Vavae Malepeai, a four-star running back, and Florida State commit Jamel Cook, a four-star safety, later adding Miami-product Keyshawn “Pie” Young, a versatile three-star athlete. They secured two more big out-of-state signings in four-star Georgia offensive tackle E.J. Price and four-star Phoenix defensive end Connor Murphy.
Finally, USC landed the top local target left on the board, five-star cornerback Jack Jones. They also delivered a late offer to three-star JUCO defensive tackle Joshua Fatu.
Those seven additions moved the Trojans up the national recruiting rankings by leaps and bounds.
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Post Signing Day
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USC began the week as the 19th class in the 247Sports composite but leaped up to 8th. By ESPN’s measure the Trojans improved from 17th to 11th, just outside the Top 10. The same goes for Scout, though the jump was significantly bigger from 25th to 11th.
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Rivals gave USC the biggest boost on Signing Day as they went from 28th up 20 spots to 8th.
The 247Sports independent class rankings posted the Trojans in their highest position at 6th.
Thanks to the Signing Day push, USC finishes this recruiting cycle with the top ranked class in the Pac-12 by 247Sports, Rivals and ESPN’s measure. UCLA’s 7th-ranked class in Scout sits ahead of the Trojans.
That’s a remarkable turn around from a staff that was only completed a couple weeks ago and a class that was accused of lacking buzz as Signing Day approached.