USC football is losing out to Oregon in offensive line recruiting

USC football trails Oregon in OL recruiting. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
USC football trails Oregon in OL recruiting. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /

USC football must be more competitive with Oregon in offensive line recruiting.

USC football boasts a higher-rated recruiting class than Oregon for 2021, but the Trojans should still take note of the Ducks.

They have what USC doesn’t: Elite offensive linemen.

Earlier this week, Oregon landed a commitment from Jonah Miller out of Tucson, Arizona. He’s a four-star offensive tackle ranking 267th in the 247Sports composite.

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Miller, a USC target, now joins four-star tackle Bram Walden out of Scottsdale and four-star center Jackson Light out of Utah. They rank 86th and 315th in the 247Sports composite respectively.

Things could get even better for the Ducks if they add the commitment of Kingsley Suamataia, the No. 62 overall prospect out of Orem, Utah. He appears a lock to join Oregon’s class of 2021 before all is said and done.

USC football’s recent offensive line recruiting trails behind Oregon

USC has nine commits who rank inside the Top 315, but none of them are offensive linemen.

The two the Trojans do have committed — three-star offensive tackles Mason Murphy and Maximus Gibbs — are among the best OL prospects in California, but they’re not top-tier talents nationally.

Putting aside the complexities of recruiting, from personalities to schematic fit, Oregon has USC beat on the offensive line front.

Since the 2018 recruiting class, Oregon has signed five Top 300 offensive lineman, including Penei Sewell, who was lauded as the best offensive lineman in the country in 2019. On top of that, they added No. 1 junior college offensive tackle Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu in 2019 and No. 1 junior college offensive guard T.J. Bass in 2020.

In that same span, USC has signed just two Top 300 offensive lineman: No. 110 Justin Dedich and No. 299 Jason Rodriguez.

Sure, any of USC’s six 2020 offensive line signees could turn out to be diamonds in the rough who spectacularly outperform their recruiting rankings. But the fact of the matter is recruiting rankings are predictors of success, pretty good ones at that. Oregon is more likely to hit on their highly-rated prospects than USC on their low-rated ones.

As exciting as it has been to see the Trojans’ recruiting train rolling this spring, adding elite athletes and wide receivers along the way, it would be a greater relief to see USC hit on some offensive linemen.

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Unfortunately, opportunities to do so appear scarce.

Five-star offensive tackle Tristan Leigh included USC in his Top 15 earlier this month, but snagging him away from the likes of Clemson or Oklahoma is a pipedream.

There’s always time to look ahead though. In the class of 2022, USC has offers out already for highly-rated prospects like Earnest Greene out of St. John Bosco, Addison Nichols from Georgia, Josh Conerly from Washington and George Maile from Utah.

Oregon will be competing for some of those names too. It’s time for USC to push back.

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