USC football recruiting for the class of 2018 has only just begun, but cornerback stands out as a position of need for the coming cycle.
With USC’s spring camp approaching the halfway point, the Trojan brain trust has had an opportunity to peruse the strengths and weaknesses of their squad and at least one position has been identified as an area of need.
Cornerback is a thin position and that was true even before Keyshawn “Pie” Young switched to wide receiver.
With Adoree’ Jackson departed for NFL riches, finding lock down corners, both now and in the future, has to be a worry for defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, despite the return of Iman “Biggie” Marshall and the expected emergence of sophomore Jack Jones.
This is because as of this writing, the Trojans have only eight scholarship corners on the roster including Marshall and Jones. Those eight will also be counted on to man nickel passing situations.
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While a lack of cornerbacks currently on the roster is a problem, what may be of even greater concern is the prospect of signing prep players for the position going forward.
That is because even though cornerback is stocked with prep talent this year and despite the fact USC has offered no less than 17 players at the position, only two corners have returned the Trojans love.
This article will look at those two players and peruse the Trojans efforts going forward at this critical position.
Will a lack of corners be a major issue for the men of Troy going forward? Read on to find out…
Note: All statistics, including level of interest, are courtesy of 247sports.com
Isaac Taylor-Stuart — 4-Star; San Diego, CA
At 6-foot-2, 187 pounds, Taylor-Stuart has all of the physical tools—especially height—that Pendergast covets in a cornerback.
Though Alabama leads with 57 percent of 247sports “crystal balls,” USC will be a player for Taylor-Stuart’s services. Defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford will continue to put the full court press on until LOI signing day.
With Taylor-Stuart holding more than 30 offers already, his recruitment will go down to the wire but don’t be surprised if the talented San Diego cornerback is wearing cardinal and gold in 2018.
Olijah Griffin — 4-Star; Mission Viejo, CA
Another talented corner, Olijah Griffin doesn’t possess the tremendous size of Taylor-Stuart but at 6-foot, he is not a small defensive back although he will have to add more weight than the 170 pounds he now carries.
Listed as “warmer” by 247Sports in terms of his interest in the Trojans, Griffin has been assigned 67 percent of the USC Crystal Ball predictions.
Supremely athletic, Griffin has the ability to cramp the style of bigger receivers while also being quick enough to stay with smaller slot receivers.
Other Cornerback News
Though USC appears to have an “iron in the fire” for only a couple of cornerbacks so far in this recruiting cycle, there is good news.
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The Trojans have already secured a verbal commitment from four-star corner Marcus Johnson—the younger brother of 2017 USC signee, Greg Johnson.
Listed as a “hard” commit by 247Sports the younger Johnson is both quick and athletic and despite only being 5-foot-10, 175 pounds, he is a surprisingly hard hitter.
Other considerations include the real possibility that Iman Marshall turns pro after this season although that depends heavily on how he performs this season.
Also, it should be noted that this is very early in the 2018 recruiting cycle, so more offers are likely to be extended and with more work by the recruiting department, perhaps those not strongly considering USC will change their minds.
So, will the cornerback position be a problem for USC in the future? Time will tell.