USC football recruiting: Speedy 2021 running back names Top 8

USC football running backs coach Mike Jinks. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
USC football running backs coach Mike Jinks. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

USC football recruiting made the Top 8 for three-star running back Tavierre Dunlap.

USC football’s running back room needs an injection of new talent in the class of 2021, so it’s a good thing the Trojans are in the running for Tavierre Dunlap.

The three-star running back announced his Top 8 on Thursday morning, listing USC alongside Utah, Michigan, Virginia Tech, Washington, ASU, Nebraska and Oklahoma State.

Creatively, Tavierre commissioned a graphic resembling the cover of the old EA Sports NCAA Football video games.

Why does USC football want Taviere Dunlap?

Dunlap ranks No. 374 in the 247Sports composite, sitting 22nd among running backs and 53rd in the state of Texas. However, there is some disagreement about where he belongs in the class. The 247Sports independent rating judges him as a four-star. They rank him No. 222 nationally, 14th at running back and 36th in Texas.

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Rivals agrees somewhat on Dunlap’s positional ranking, judging him 24th at running back. However, they grade him 47th in the state. ESPN is less bullish on his potential. They rank him No. 36 at his position and No. 82 in Texas.

Whatever his ranking, Dunlap brings a strong skill set to the table. He stands 6-foot, 196-pounds with a frame to add more weight. Meanwhile, his speed is well established. In 10 games for Del Valle High School last year, he broke free for 19 touchdowns, amassing 1,163 yards on 111 carries, per MaxPreps.

USC’s running back group is loaded for 2020, but the Trojans have a veteran-heavy unit. Vavae Malepeai, Stephen Carr and Quincy Jountti will all graduate after the season, leaving Markese Stepp and Kenan Christon as the lone scholarship running backs available for 2021.

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Since the Trojans didn’t add any running backs in the class of 2020, it’s especially critical to land a couple of rushers in the current class. They already have one committed in four-star Brandon Campbell.

In a larger sense, the class of 2021 is shaping up nicely at the moment. The Trojans have 17 commitments including eight prospects in the Top 200.

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