Four-star cornerback Chris Steele decommitted from USC football on Thursday, delivering a blow to the Trojans 2019 recruiting class.
USC football’s recruiting efforts have felt slower than usual for the class of 2019 and they took a major hit on Thursday with the decommitment of four-star cornerback Chris Steele.
Steele announced his decision to decommit via Twitter, releasing a statement talking about the difficulty of the recruiting process and thanking head coach Clay Helton and the Trojan staff for their support.
“There is no love lost for USC, it’s my hometown school and they will always hold a special place in my heart.” Steele wrote. “This is a decision that I have lost a lot of sleep over and put myself through a lot for, but I’m now ready to use this little time that I have to find the school that will fit me best as a player, student, and most importantly, as a young man. I understand not everyone will agree with my decision, but I do ask that everyone respects it.”
Steele was the highest rated recruit in USC’s 2019 class, and the only Top 100 commit on the board for the Trojans. The St. John Bosco-product ranks 42nd nationally and sixth in California, per the 247Sports composite. He is the sixth-rated cornerback in the class.
Since committing in early July, Steele had been one of the Trojans’ most active recruiters, engaging with other players in the class and encouraging them to consider USC. That makes his decommitment a particularly big concern.
When it comes to the cornerback position, the Trojans at least have other players filling spots in the class. Serra’s Max Williams, a four-star prospect, committed earlier this month. Three-star Trey Davis, from Federal Way in Washington, has been committed since May.
USC is set to lose a handful of corners following the 2018 season, including Iman Marshall, Isaiah Langley, Ajene Harris and Jonathan Lockett, making numbers at the position particularly important. The transfer of Je’Quari Godfrey has only added to the need.
As far as replacements go, the Trojans have offers out to Steele’s four-star St. John Bosco teammate Trent McDuffie as well as four-star Arizona-product Noa Pola-Gates.
USC’s 2019 class is now down to 14 commits, with four-star offensive tackle Jason Rodriguez headlining along with Williams and four-star linebacker Maninoa Tufono.