USC football recruiting: Four-star DE Derek Wilkins has Trojans in favorites list

USC football needs reinforcements at defensive end. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
USC football needs reinforcements at defensive end. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

Four-star defensive end Derek Wilkins listed USC football among his 12 favorites.

USC football officially remains in the running for four-star defensive end Derek Wilkins.

The Santa Margarita Catholic product announced his Top 12 schools on Tuesday.

Along with USC, Wilkins included Cal, Oregon, Washington, Boston College, Michigan, Northwestern, UCLA, Oregon State, Virginia and Nebraska among the schools he is still considering.

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Wilkins rates as the No. 338 prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings, checking in at No. 29 in California. Among strongside defensive ends, he ranks 24th.

Greg Biggins of 247Sports compared the 6-foot-2, 250-pound lineman to Cameron Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers. If he puts on weight he could work on the interior of the defensive line. If not he could take his snaps on the edge.

Wilkins picked up an offer from USC on March 1, posting pictures of a visit to campus just over a month later.

USC’s new defensive line coach Vic So’oto is hard after Wilkins and other prospects to keep his talent upfront well stocked.

The Trojans already have a commitment from four-star defensive tackle Jay Toia but the defensive line representatives in the class are otherwise lacking.

End is a particular need considering the upcoming graduations of Connor Murphy, Caleb Tremblay and Nick Figueroa. While USC picked up defensive linemen like Kobe Bepe, Jamar Sekona and Tuli Tuipulotu in the class of 2020, that trio figures in as defensive tackles.

Regardless of what USC does on the defensive line, the class of 2021 is looking significantly stronger than the previous cycle. The Trojans rank eighth nationally thanks to eight prospects in the Top 350 of the 247Sports composite. If USC successfully added Wilkins that number would grow.

Of course, it’s a long way to Wilkins’ ultimate signing. The battle is now on between the Trojans and a bunch of familiar rivals for the players’ pledge.

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