USC football stars highlight Clay Helton as coach to play for

USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Which coach should five-star recruits want to play for? According to USC football players, it’s Clay Helton.

Clay Helton is a polarizing figure. On the one hand, many USC football fans are wary of his ability as a head coach. On the other hand, his players continually show their love for him.

Yet another example of that popped up this week as FOX College Football asked which coach a five-star recruit should want to play for.

Answers trended towards Nick Saban and other national title-winning head coaches, as expected. FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff panel put Saban, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, LSU’s Ed Orgeron and Ohio State’s Ryan Day at the top of the list.

But in Los Angeles, Trojan players past and present turned the spotlight on their own head coach.

USC football stars went to bat for Clay Helton.

Wide receiver Bru McCoy was the first USC player to submit his vote.

As a former five-star prospect, McCoy has a unique perspective on this. After all, he committed to Helton only to jump ship for Texas after a few weeks. Thanks to the head coach’s ability to part ways without burning bridges, the player turned his sights back to USC after a few months in Austin. Now he is on the verge of playing his first season in college while wearing cardinal and gold.

McCoy wasn’t the only current Trojan to chime in.

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Defensive lineman Jay Tufele, who was judged a five-star in the 247Sports independent rankings, also gave his vote to Helton.

Another former five-star lineman also weighed in. Zach Banner, who was a Rivals five-star, didn’t name Helton specifically, but he certainly played for him at USC.

The current Pittsburgh Steeler technically committed to Lane Kiffin and played for both Ed Orgeron and Steve Sarkisian, so he’d have to clarify if he meant someone other than Helton.

USC needs the word of McCoy, Tufele and Banner to work in their favor as they navigate the 2020 season and the 2021 recruiting cycle.

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There are key five-star recruits out there who will ultimately have to cast their vote as well.

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