Which members of USC Football’s 2018 recruiting class are the most likely to start as freshmen? A pair of Mater Dei teammates may not have to wait long to feature.
USC Football hit more than a few home runs closing out the 2018 recruiting class on National Signing Day.
Now that the class is complete, it’s time to look at what kind of impact the newest Trojans could have during the coming season.
Here’s a look at the five freshman with the greatest chance to start in Year 1:
JT Daniels | Quarterback
USC has only ever had one true freshman quarterback start a season opener and just three true freshmen earn a start at quarterback, period. When Matt Barkley did both in 2012, he had the advantage of enrolling early and settling into the college game with a full spring camp.
JT Daniels won’t have that head start, but he still has as good a shot to follow in Barkley’s youthful footsteps as any quarterback at USC in recent memory.
Daniels reclassified into the class of 2018 a year ahead of schedule, giving him the opportunity to compete immediately with Matt Fink and Jack Sears for the right to replace Sam Darnold as the Trojans’ quarterback. If neither of those take advantage of spring and take hold of the job, Daniels has the arm and the brain to make a run at it.
As a five-star prospect, National Gatorade Player of the Year and one of the most promising quarterbacks to come out of high school in recent years, Daniels is a more gifted passer than Fink or Sears.
And Clay Helton may have a reason to take the risk with a young gun considering the Max Browne-Sam Darnold situation from 2016.