USC football’s 2019 recruiting class finished Signing Day 2019 at No. 18 recruiting rankings, falling well short of a sixth-consecutive Top 10 class.
USC football came into the 2019 recruiting cycle with a legacy to live up to. The Trojans had managed to pull in five consecutive Top 10 recruiting classes and were consistently among the nation’s elite when it came to pulling in top talent.
However, a 5-7 season, instability in the coaching staff and major question marks about the direction of the program have ensured USC’s streak and seemingly unstoppable recruiting prowess has slowed down considerable.
During Wednesday’s Signing Day, the Trojans completed a class of 26 players, which ranks No. 18 in the 247Sports composite team rankings. The class ranks No. 18 in Rivals recruiting rankings as well, falling to No. 20 in the 247Sports and ESPN rankings.
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The low ranking is a reflection of some major misses for the Trojans, who failed to sign a 247Sports composite five-star for the first time this century. More accurately, USC failed to keep the five-star it signed and enrolled, losing five-star athlete Bru McCoy to Texas as a transfer two weeks into his tenure at USC.
The Trojans saw other highly-touted recruits like four-star cornerback Chris Steele, four-star running back Jordan Wilmore, four-star linebacker De’Gabriel Floyd slip through their fingers as former commits, now heading to Florida, Utah and Texas respectively.
They also unsuccessfully pursued players like Oregon’s five-star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux, Michigan’s four-star running back Zach Charbonnet, Oregon’s four-star tackle Jonah Tauanu’u, UCLA’s four-star guard Sean Rhyan, Washington’s four-star defensive tackle Faatui Tuitele, LSU’s four-star tackle Siaki Ika, Nebraska’s four-star cornerback Noa Pola-Gates and others.
There’s little guarantee USC’s No. 18 rank will be its final one either.
The Trojans are still getting credit for the commitment of four-star receiver Puka Nacua, who has opted to delay his signing in order to spend more time considering his options. Though Nacua has been a USC commit since the summer, he spent January looking around at other schools, taking visits to Oregon, Washington and UCLA.
The delay in his signing likely means he will commit elsewhere rather than signing with USC in the end.
If that happens, the Trojans’ recruiting class would drop to No. 20 nationally, just ahead of Stanford at No. 21. If Nacua were to join Washington, the Huskies could rise to No. 16.
Either way, USC is slated to finish well below its normal standings.
Still, the class isn’t without its merits. The Trojans landed two Top 100 signees in four-star wide receiver Kyle Ford and four-star defensive end Drake Jackson. They also shored up some major positions of need by signing eight defensive backs to cover departures at cornerback and safety.
With 18 three-stars in the class to go along with seven four-stars, Clay Helton and company will look to develop this group while regrouping with a smaller, but more highly-rated class in 2020.