USC football’s 2020 draft class unacceptably small

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

USC football’s 2020 draft class was unacceptably small, no matter how you slice it.

USC football needs to get its act together.

The ultimate NFL Draft factory has dropped the ball in two successive drafts, leaving records on the table to be stolen and confidence in its ability to produce pro players drooping.

The two players USC put in the NFL in 2020 are stellar. Austin Jackson was a first-rounder and Michael Pittman went not long after. It was the first time since 2015 the Trojans saw two draftees inside the first 34 picks.

The trouble is what came after…


Round 3 was blank. So was Round 4. Nothing in Round 5 or 6 or 7 either.

While USC was sitting waiting for a single name to be called, Notre Dame had six players selected, bringing their all-time draft total equal to the Trojans (according to the Irish, though disagreements can be had on that score).

MORE: USC holds off Notre Dame for all-time draft lead

USC has had six players picked in the last two drafts. Notre Dame has had six in each.

What came after the draft closed was even more surprising.

The normal frenzy surrounding undrafted free agents bypassed the Trojans almost completely.

Linebacker John Houston was picked up quickly by the Pittsburgh Steelers, joining JuJu Smith-Schuster and Zach Banner. The former Top 50 prospect from the class of 2015 tweeted his eagerness to take the opportunity to prove himself as an undrafted free agent.

Like Rounds 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the draft, Saturday and Sunday were otherwise silent.

Defensive end Christian Rector and offensive lineman Drew Richmond remain unsigned as of midday Monday.

As Jon Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News pointed out, “Temple had twice as many players drafted (four) as USC.”

Sure, the Trojans only had five players with starting experience who were draft-eligible, but that’s hardly an excuse for the low numbers, wrought by a wave of transfers and failed prospects.

It also doesn’t explain how two of the five weren’t immediately snatched up as coveted undrafted free agents.

There can be no excuses in 2021. That draft class will include a far bigger pool of draftable seniors, as well as a potential crop of draft-eligible juniors. A repeat of 2020 is unacceptable.

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