USC football’s No. 3 recruiting class: 2002
Grade: 9/10 Class Ranking: 8th nationally | 2nd in Pac-12 Class Composition:
1 ★★★★★ 9 ★★★★ 11 ★★★
USC’s 2002 class found great value in three-star players and saw most of its four-star targets work out.
Undoubtedly, the biggest contributor from this class was three-star recruit Mike Williams, who put in two of the greatest seasons a wide receiver has ever had at USC. He was a consensus All-American in 2003.
Tom Malone, another three-star, became arguably the greatest Trojan punter ever by earning All-American honors himself.
Four-star Darnell Bing became a captain and All-American.
Five-star offensive tackle Winston Justice started three years and was drafted in the second round of the NFL draft. However, his career was marred by a one-year suspension for a student conduct issue.
Players like Dominique Byrd, Fred Matua, Dallas Sartz, LaJuan Ramsey became regular starters and were ultimately drafted in the NFL, living up to their four-star ratings.
Also a four-star, Kyle Williams contributed as a backup and then started at right tackle as a senior in a reasonably productive career.
Three-star Oscar Lua served as a backup, earned a starting job and led USC in tackles in 2005.
Just three of USC’s nine four-star players didn’t exactly pan out. Manny Wright served as a productive backup, but started and ended his career academically ineligible. He also had off the field problems including an arrest.
Four-star junior college transfers Jason Mitchell and Danny Urquhart never amounted to much.