USC Early Signing Day 2019: LOI tracker, live blog and open thread

Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy
Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy /

USC Early Signing Day 2019 is upon us, with Clay Helton’s Trojans looking to bounce back from a down season with a strong recruiting class.

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The pressure is on for the Trojans on Early Signing Day 2019 as USC looks to put together yet another top recruiting class despite a 5-7 record in 2018.

There is quite a bit of work to do with the Trojans ranking 28th nationally and fourth in the Pac-12 to start the day, but there are far fewer top prospects up for grabs for USC than normal.

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Clay Helton and company are in the running for several intriguing prospects, but the big fish like five-star athlete Bru McCoy, five-star wide receiver Kyle Ford and four-star cornerback Chris Steele are expected to hold off on their commitment announcements until the new year.

RELATED: USC’s 10 Biggest Signing Day Gets of the Last 10 Years

That leaves the Trojans to pick up pieces where they can while also securing signatures from the majority of previously committed prospects who are already in the fold.

Follow allow along with the 2019 USC early signing period here on Reign of Troy or on RoT’s new mobile app available in Apple’s App Store and Google Play on Android devices.

USC Early Signing Day Live Blog

6:50 p.m.: It would seem the Trojans aren’t quite as done as it looked like they were. Erik Ziskin tweeted a 20th Fight On emoji, putting the possibility of a “silent signee” back on the table.

4:30 p.m.: USC has wrapped up Early Signing Day with the No. 21 recruiting class in the country. But remember, the class is incomplete and there are major targets still on the board. Read more>>

4:15 p.m.: CORRECTION: USC has 18 signees officially announced plus a 19th presumed in punter Ben Griffiths.

3:40 p.m.: USC has shutting up shop with 18 signees, though only 17 announced. Punter Ben Griffiths is the only player left unofficial.

Meanwhile, Eric Ziskin tweeted a total of 19 Fight On emojis signalling letters of intent. That has sparked speculation about a player who has signed but perhaps intends to official announce their commitment at an All-American game in January.

2:55 p.m.: Drake Jackson is officially a Trojan.

2:43 p.m.: The signing of DE Nick Figueroa is complete.

2:38 p.m.:USC found themselves in a three-horse race late for three-star QB Dillon Gabriel, but the Hawaii-product went with the UCF Knights over the Trojans and Georgia Bulldogs. Read more>>

2:25 p.m.: Benton is officially official along with three-star lineman Gino Quinones.

2:15 p.m.: This one was unexpected.

Washington State commit Dejon Benton, a three-star defensive tackle, has flipped his commitment at the last minute to join the Trojans. Read more>>

1:45 p.m.: USC has officially announced the signing of three-star linebacker Stanley Taufoou. Read more>>

1:25 p.m.: Three-star athlete Chris Roland looked like a potential flip for USC, but he has opted to stick with his pledge to Arizona.

1:21 p.m.: USC’s 19th letter of intent is unofficially in, according to director of player personnel Erik Ziskin.

12:57 p.m.: And as things tend to go on Signing Day, when one piece of news drops, another follows. USC has officially announced the signing of running back Kenan Christon from San Diego. Read more>>

12:52 p.m.: Finally a bona fide KABOOM for the Trojans. Four-star defensive end Drake Jackson picks USC over ASU, a decision which was apparently delayed, but not for long. Read more>>

12:45 p.m.: USC makes it official for a different Drake. Drake London’s LOI is in.

12:40 p.m.: reports that Drake Jackson will indeed wait to make his decision between USC and ASU. It may come later this week.

12:36 p.m.: Four-star defensive end Drake Jackson was supposed to make his choice between USC and ASU on the Fox Sports West Early Signing Period Special but he hasn’t been included in any of the promotion thus far and may be delaying his decision.

12:20 p.m.: USC still hasn’t officially announced the signing of Drake London, but we know he has signed his paper work.

Tarek Fattal of the Daily News tweeted a picture from London’s Signing Day ceremony at Moorpark.

12:18 p.m.: Three-star linebacker Ralen Goforth, who was the Trinity League’s defensive MVP in 2018, announced his commitment to USC. Read more>>

USC didn’t take long to announce it either.

12:05 p.m.: The Fox Sports West Early Signing Period Special has begun. You can catch the action on Fox Sports Go.

11:40 a.m.: It’s almost time for some big hitters. At noon, USC targets Drake Jackson, a four-star DE, Stephon Wright, a four-star DE, and Ralen Goforth, a three-star LB, will be making their commitment announcements on the Fox Sports West Signing Day Show.

11:30 a.m.: With a few big commitment decisions coming down the line, JUCO defensive end Nick Figueroa got the party started for the Trojans by announcing his commitment to USC. Read more >>

10:45 a.m.: The Trojans are now up to 18 unofficial LOIs, which is one more than they have public commits.

That may be something for USC fans to cheer about. At least, director of player development seems to be dancing over something.

10:15 a.m.: USC has officially announced the signing of cornerback Trey Davis and wide receiver Munir McClain, the brother of Trojan linebacker Abdul-Malik.

10:00 a.m.: LOIs are still rolling in. The unofficial count is up to 17, with just eight announced so far.

9:51 a.m.: Four-star linebacker Maninoa Tufono is the latest USC commit to get the official signee treatment.

9:32 a.m.: The Trojans have made the signing of former Georgia Tech commit Briton Allen official. Read more >>

9:31 a.m.: And there will be more to come.

USC’s unofficial LOI count just rose to 16 courtesy of Eric Ziskin, the Trojan director of player personnel.

9:30 a.m.: Offensive tackle Jason Rodriguez, USC’s most highly-rated commit so far, is officially a Trojan.

9:15 a.m.: Linebacker Maninoa Tufono had apparently been wavering in his commitment to USC, but it seems he’s put any doubts behind him.

8:55 a.m.: Meanwhile, the Trojans have unofficially received another LOI, bringing the grand total to 14, with just five officially announced.

8:50 a.m.: Offensive guard Tilini Livai and tight end Jude Wolfe have been officially announced as USC signees.

8:30 a.m.: Tight end Ethan Rae is the third official signee to be announced. Read more >>

8:21 a.m.: The signing of cornerback Max Williams is officially official. Read more >>

8:13 a.m.: With the unofficial LOI count at 13, thanks to Eric Ziskin’s latest tweet, the Trojans have more signatures that public commitments who were expected to sign on Wednesday.

8:10 a.m.: It’s official! USC confirms the signing of QB Kedon Slovis.

8:05 a.m.: The Trojans have 12 LOIs in, unofficially of course.

Of USC’s 16 originally committed recruits, 11 were expected to sign on Wednesday. The Trojans have since added a commitment from Briton Allen, bringing the expected signees to 12. That fits right in line with the unofficial total.

7:48 a.m.: USC has several targets who have yet to make their commitment decisions, but most of the ones scheduled are for the afternoon, like DE Drake Jackson, DE Stephon Wright and LB Ralen Goforth. That leaves the Trojans on high alert for announcements from OG Sataoa Laumea and DE Nick Figueroa.

For all we know, those decisions have already been made with the tally on LOIs now at 11.

7:40 a.m.: The Trojans are still holding back official announcements, but the LOI total is up to 10.

7:25 a.m.: In the first big development of the day, Georgia Tech commit Briton Allen just flipped to USC, giving the Trojans help at safety and nickelback. Read more >>

And Ziskin keeps adding to the LOI tally, which is now at nine.

7:18 a.m.: And then there were eight.

7:14 a.m.: USC isn’t announcing any of these officially, but it seems the total number of LOIs received by the Trojans so far is eight.

7:12 a.m.: And another tweet from Ziskin brings the total to six quickly enough. That may cover each of Williams, Rae, London and Taufoou.

7:10 a.m.: Another three LOIs are unofficially in as Eric Ziskin tweets three, then four then five Fight On! emojis in a row. We’ve unofficially tallied signatures from punter Ben Griffiths and quarterback Kedon Slovis. The identity of the other three are unknown, though USC is expecting most of the current committed class to sign today.

With Kenan Christon, Jude Wolfe, Trey Davis, Munir McClain and Jason Rodriguez scheduled to put pen to paper later today in Signing Day ceremonies, it would seem the remaining three LOIs likely come from among CB Max Williams, TE Ethan Rae, WR Drake London and LB Stanley Taufoou.

7:00 a.m.: Here is some intrigue at quarterback. The Trojans are in the running for three-star Hawaii state passing record-holding QB Dillon Gabriel, who will be deciding between USC, UCF and Georgia later today. However, the Bulldogs just picked up a commitment from four-star QB Dwan Mathis, who had been committed to Ohio State.

Does that leave Gabriel a clear path to USC? We’ll see.

6:40 a.m.: A third Fight On! emoji should be coming shortly as reported Jordan Hamm confirmed the signing of three-star quarterback Kedon Slovis in Scottsdale. Read more >>

6:10 a.m.: It was expected, but the morning begins with disappointment for the Trojans as Siaki Ika went with LSU over USC, Oregon and others. Read more >>

But it’s not all bad news! Eric Ziskin has awoken with a signal that USC’s second LOI is in.

5:45 a.m.: Good morning Trojan fans! Early Signing Day is set to begin in earnest at 6:00 a.m. with the announcement of four-star defensive tackle Siaki Iki, who was one of our “Five Recruits to Know Ahead of Early Signing Day 2019.”

Meanwhile, emoji watch with Eric Ziskin has officially begun, though Twitter has been quiet on LOIs so far.

12:00 a.m.: Over the last two years, USC Director of Recruiting and Player Personnel Erik Ziskin has graced fans with a simple signal whenever the Trojans received a new letter of intent: a Fight On emoji.

It seems that tradition won’t be ending in 2019. On Tuesday afternoon, Ziskin got Signing Day started particularly early, tweeting out his signature signal well ahead of schedule. Why? USC has a commitment from Australian punter Ben Griffiths. Thanks to the major time difference, December 19 in Melbourne, Australia arrived just after midday in Los Angeles.

Though USC has yet to announce Griffiths’ signing, it certainly seems like one down, many more to go.

A couple of prospects who won’t be included in that many? Four-star defensive end Laiatu Latu and three-star JUCO prospect Datona Jackson.

Latu committed to Washington on Tuesday evening, bucking the conventional wisdom from before the weekend that he would be a Trojan. Read more >>

As for Jackson, his story was a downer to end Tuesday night. The College of the Desert product was ready to sign with USC, but it seems his scholarship offer was pulled at the last minute and he will now sign with Trojan rival UCLA. Read more >>

Signing Day has always been about drama, and Early Signing Day is no different. Stay tuned as the rest of the action unfolds.

The Big Board:

Four-star DT Siaki Ika

  • Rank: 159th in 247Sports Composite
  • Size: 6-foot-3, 351 lbs.
  • Location: Salt Lake City, UT
  • Status: SIGNED with LSU
  • Choices:  Florida, LSU, Oregon, USC, Utah

Four-star DE Drake Jackson

  • Rank: 165th in 247Sports Composite
  • Size: 6-foot-4, 260 lbs.
  • Location: Corona, CA
  • Status: SIGNED with USC
  • Choices: ASU, USC

Four-star DE Stephon Wright

  • Rank: 255th in 247Sports Composite
  • Size: 6-foot-3, 260 lbs.
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Status: SIGNED with ASU
  • Choices: ASU, USC, Washington

Three-star S Briton Allen

  • Rank: 394th in 247Sports Composite
  • Size: 6-foot, 186 lbs.
  • Location: Bradenton, FL
  • Status: FLIPPED to USC
  • Choices: Committed to Georgia Tech 

Three-star OG Sataoa Laumea

  • Rank: 429th in 247Sports Composite
  • Size: 6-foot-4, 305 lbs.
  • Location: Rialto, CA
  • Status: SIGNED with Utah
  • Choices: Cal, UCLA, USC, Utah

Three-star LB Ralen Goforth

  • Rank: 431st in 247Sports Composite
  • Size: 6-foot-2, 224 lbs.
  • Location: Bellflower, CA
  • Status: SIGNED with USC
  • Choices: UCLA, USC

Three-star JUCO DE Nick Figueroa

  • Rank: 20th (JUCO) in 247Sports Composite
  • Size: 6-foot-5, 270 lbs.
  • Location: Riverside, CA
  • Status: SIGNED with USC
  • Choices: Tennessee, UCLA, USC

Three-star JUCO DE Datona Jones

  • Rank: 64th (JUCO) in 247Sports Composite
  • Size: 6-foot-4, 265 lbs.
  • Location: Palm Desert, CA
  • Status: SIGNED with UCLA
  • Choices: Oregon, UCLA, USC

Three-star QB Dillon Gabriel

  • Rank: 1,190th in 247Sports Composite
  • Size: 5-foot-11, 186 lbs.
  • Location: Mililani, HI
  • Status: SIGNED with UCF
  • Choices: Georgia, UCF, USC

Three-star ATH Chris Roland

  • Rank: 1,514th in 247Sports Composite
  • Size: 6-foot, 180 lbs.
  • Location: Palmdale, CA
  • Status: SIGNED with Arizona
  • Choices: Committed to Arizona

USC Early Signing Day Signees (19):


Current Unsigned USC Commitments (2):