USC Football Recruiting: How will the Trojans replace Matt Corral?

Mar 7, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Jack Sears (13) and quarterbacks coach Tyson Helton during spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 7, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Jack Sears (13) and quarterbacks coach Tyson Helton during spring practice at Howard Jones Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2018 USC Football recruiting class was dealt a blow Saturday with Matt Corral now longer being a part of it. Who can the Trojans get to replace him?

The Trojans’ recruitment of quarterbacks over the last few years has been bizarre, if nothing else. They once led for Shea Patterson, Tate Martell and Tua Tagovailoa, only to see them sign with Ole Miss, Ohio State and Alabama.

Ricky Town didn’t make it through his first fall camp in 2015, they were late to the party for Stanford’s K.J. Costello and wisely never got too close to Florida State flameout Malik Henry.

Luckily, Sam Darnold makes up for a lot of that. Steve Sarkisian prioritized him despite a commitment from Town, and two years later he led the Trojans to a miraculous Rose Bowl win and is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick the 2018 NFL Draft if he leaves after his redshirt sophomore season.

RELATED: 10 Most Ridiculous Sam Darnold Highlights (GIFs)

Therein lies the problem. News of five-star quarterback Matt Corral’s de-commitment strongly affects the Trojans’ chances of replacing Darnold.

USC has only two scholarship quarterbacks not named Sam, in Matt Fink and Jack Sears. Neither has experience, and despite Sears’ impressive debut in this year’s spring camp, he’s not ready for the spotlight.

The hope for the Trojans was that Corral would arrive in 2018 and battle it out with Sears and Fink. The competition would theoretically force each to develop at a higher rate and give Clay Helton two highly regarded young quarterbacks to choose from, along with a then-veteran option in Fink. Numbers as they were, the chances were that USC ended up in a good spot.

Without Corral, the Trojans are an injury to Sears or Fink away from not having any sort of competition. And a pair of injuries from having to resort to a walk-on or forcing Jalen Greene to spend his senior season back at quarterback.

SEE ALSO: How Matt Corral’s De-Commitment Affects USC

So Helton and his staff must replace Corral with a quarterback in the 2018 class.

Who could they possibly get? The timing is tricky, given how accelerated quarterback recruiting is. The landscape is mostly settled and there aren’t many clear options to explore.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Uncommitted Prospects Available

Currently, there’s only five uncommitted quarterbacks with at least a four-star rating in the 2018 247Sports Composite. Let’s walk through them…

Justin Fields ★★★★★Kennesaw, Ga. | No. 1 Dual-Threat QB | 3rd Overall Recruit

After de-committing from Penn State just over a week ago, Fields is not only the highest-rated quarterback left on the board, he’s the highest-rated uncommitted recruit period. Case in point, he spent his first full week back on the market being pulled in all sorts of directions. Fields unofficially visited in-state Georgia, Auburn and Florida State, with Florida expected to be next in line and Penn State still lingering in the picture. USC has not made an scholarship offer to Fields as of yet, and they would be swimming upstream to get into the picture. Nonetheless, if you’re looking to replace Corral with a similarly regarded talent, Fields is the guy to prioritize.

Tanner McKee ★★★★Corona, Calif. | No. 4 Pro-Style QB | 56th Overall Recruit

Corona Centennial’s McKee is the highest-rated pro-style arm on the board, and one who has been USC’s radar despite not receiving an official offer. The big 6-foot-6, 220-pounder unofficially visited the Trojans last October for the Arizona State game, and is currently anyone’s guess as to where he signs. McKee spent the spring visiting Texas A&M, Duke, Georgia and Alabama, but his future is uncertain. In March, he told Campus Insiders USC was his childhood team, though has has connections to UCLA and could fit the offense they’ve tailored for Josh Rosen. But what does that mean now? The Bruins have since received a commitment from four-star Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the Trojans are no longer tied to Corral.

Dakereon Joyner ★★★★North Charleston, SC. | No. 10 Dual-Style QB | 227th Overall Recruit

The athletic 6-foot-2 Joyner will decide Sunday if he’s going to commit to USC. The other USC, South Carolina. His final two schools are the in-state Gamecocks and not-too-far-away N.C. State, making him unavailable for the Trojans.

Gerry Bohanon ★★★★Earle, Ark. | No. 11 Dual-Style QB | 238th Overall Recruit

At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Bohanon fits the size of an ideal USC quarterback. But like Joyner, he’s not in the picture for the Trojans. The Arkansas prospect mistakenly tweeted out a commitment to Houston last week, and is a priority for the likes of Arkansas, Mississippi State, Baylor and Louisville.

Brevin White ★★★★Lancaster Calif. | No. 13 Dual-Style QB | 322nd Overall Recruit

The younger brother of ASU’s Brady White, Paraclete quarterback Brevin White is an intriguing name to follow. He’s had interest from the Trojans dating back two years to the Steve Sarkisian era –his brother’s stature as a recruit helped that along– and is on the radar to some degree as a Matt Fink type. That said, Boise State looks like the biggest player in his recruitment at the moment and White is probably better suited as a backup plan.

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy

Potential Flips to Know

Jack West (Stanford) ★★★★Saraland, Ala. | No. 6 Pro-Style QB | 109th Overall Recruit

If Jack West or Saraland sounds familiar, they should. West was a high school teammate of USC wide receiver Velus Jones and at one point visited the Trojans alongside Jones. He’s committed to Stanford since last July and despite five-star 2017 signee David Mills looking like the Cardinal’s quarterback of the future, there aren’t any indications he’d break his verbal to David Shaw. But from USC’s perspective, the Trojans have ins with West. Offensive coordinator and Mobile-native Tee Martin knows Saraland well, and the chance of reuniting with Jones could be a recruiting strategy to explore. West was at the Elite 11 camp in Redondo Beach two weeks ago and has been trending up the recruiting rankings.

Jack Tuttle (Utah) ★★★★San Marcos, Calif. | No. 7 Pro-Style QB | 128th Overall Recruit

After Corral and West, USC’s only other scholarship-offered quarterback in the 2018 class is another Jack, Utah’s Jack Tuttle. The 6-foot-4 SoCal native could be in play for the Trojans. Scout’s Greg Biggins tweeted Saturday that USC has already kicked the tires on him following the Corral de-commitment. Don’t hold your breath just yet, though. “USC has offered but I don’t plan on visiting any other schools [and] my commitment to Utah remains solid,” Tuttle told Biggins. If the Trojans’ goal is to flip him, they’re not alone. Alabama has already put a full-court press on him, as reported by 247Sports.