With numerous new offers out for the USC football recruiting class of 2018, here’s a look at where the Trojans stand with their latest targets.
Despite the rigorous efforts by USC’s coaching staff to prepare for and now conduct the Trojans’ spring camp, they have not taken their eyes off of the ball when it comes to making offers to the prospective class of 2018 recruits.
To that end, the Trojans have recently extended a bevy of offers across all positions to 2018 prep players throughout the nation.
Although some of these offers have been handed out to players already committed elsewhere, it is worthy to note that it is still early in the process and USC carries a strong reputation for “flipping” players thought to be heading to other programs.
This article will look at these new offers and forecast whether or not these players stand a reasonable chance of donning the cardinal and gold next year.
Note: All statistics, including level of interest, via 247Sports.com
Mychale Salahuddin (3-Star RB; Washington DC)
One of the hidden benefits of new running backs coach Deland McCullough’s trek out west is the list of players he was recruiting while at Indiana. One of those players is Washington DC running back Mychale Salahuddin.
Both sturdy at 5-foo-11, 190 pounds and athletic, Salahuddin is rated a three-star prospect but that should change if he replicates his junior season and his Woodson high school team finds success in the upcoming year.
Though 247Sports doesn’t list USC among Salahuddin’s favorites, McCullough has a relationship with the player and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Salahuddin make an official visit to USC nor would it be a shock if—after he does—he winds up at Troy.
Justin Dedich (4-Star Center; Temecula, CA)
Though the Trojans signed Brett Neilon—a very highly regarded center—in the 2017 class, USC is looking for another one and in the 6-foot-2, 290 pound Justin Dedich, they are reaching for a good one.
However, USC values versatility and like Neilon, Dedich can play guard as well. With the ability to play multiple positions, offensive line coach Neil Callaway will have options should the local product sign to play with the men of Troy.
As of this writing, 247Sports has USC assigned as one of three places Dedich will wind up at along with Washington and UCLA but the Trojans only recently offered and have a lot of momentum going forward, so I like USC to land Dedich when all is said and done.
Sione Angilau (3-Star OG; Salt Lake City, UT)
One of USC’s new favorite recruiting areas is Utah and the Trojans are reaching into Salt Lake City again for offensive guard Sione Angilau.
Though still raw, at 6-foot-5, 280 pounds, Angilau has all of the tools to be a force at the next level despite his only carrying a three-star designation as of right now.
Angilau is playing his recruiting journey close to the vest, and 247Sports does not reflect any favorites for his services. Despite the Trojans success in Utah, look for Angilau to ply his services elsewhere in 2018.
Markese Stepp (4-Star RB; Indianapolis, IN)
Another running back that new running backs coach Deland McCullough has a prior relationship with, Notre Dame commit Markese Stepp just recently was offered by the Trojans and his recruitment will be monitored closely.
At 6-foot-0, 200 pounds, Stepp has all of the attributes one looks for in a running back including speed on the edges as well as power to run between the tackles.
According to Stepp, he has known McCullough since he was ten years old and “the relationship is definitely there” with the new Trojan coach. Having said that, pulling Stepp away from the Fighting Irish will be difficult although this recruiting battle will be worth following as the season progresses.
Marquez Ezzard (4-Star Athlete; Stockbridge, GA)
Another recruiting hotbed for USC in recent years has been the state of Georgia and this is where we find the talented Marquez Ezzard.
Though designated as an “athlete,” Ezzard projects as a wide receiver where the 6-foot-1.5, 213 pound prospect hauled in 50 passes for 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns as a junior.
As stated before, USC values versatility and along with his pass catching abilities, Ezzard also rushed for three touchdowns as well last year.
This will be a tough road to hoe for the Trojans to pry Ezzard westward as 247Sports projects him solidly to sign with in-state Georgia.
Aeneas Hawkins (4-Star Defensive Tackle; Cincinnati, OH)
Casting their recruiting net far and wide, the Trojans have reached into Urban Meyer territory to offer Aeneas Hawkins, an undersized defensive tackle from Cincinnati, Ohio.
At 6-foot-3, 265 pounds Hawkins will have to put on weight at the next level but he has the frame to do just that and his athleticism makes young Aeneas very intriguing.
This will be another tough pull to get Hawkins out west as in-state Ohio State is the overwhelming favorite, although Penn State may offer some competition for the Buckeyes for Hawkins signature.
Still early in the 2018 recruiting cycle, USC continues to extend offers throughout the nation as they try to craft this year’s recruiting class.
With the process still being so fluid, how the 2018 class shapes up remains a mystery, but look for USC to pull off some late surprises as they so often do.