Lincoln Riley plans to sign biggest USC recruiting class since 2019

Lincoln Riley, USC Football, USC Trojans
Lincoln Riley, USC Football, USC Trojans / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Lincoln Riley signed just seven high school players in last year's recruiting cycle for USC Football. He instead decided to fill his roster's open spots with mostly transfers, as he signed to coach at USC just under three weeks before Early Signing Day. He was vocal at the time that he was building up the 2022 roster that he would likely not be using the transfer portal as much to build future rosters.

And that's the right call. While Riley was forced to turn this roster around quickly last year due to signing with USC just before Early Signing Day, and most high schoolers already knowing where they were signing before he got here (or already committed even), he of course has had and will have a full year to figure this recruiting cycle out.

It's in his best interest to recruit high school talent, so that he doesn't risk taking a player who potentially couldn't cut it at a different school for a reason. Also, because it's the best long-term roster-building strategy to bring in fresh talent consistently.

There truly needs to be a good mix, and Riley recently told Chris Treviño of 247Sports something that shows he has his head on straight in this area:

A recruiting class in the "mid-20s" would be the biggest one that USC Football has signed in 2019, where they signed 24 players.

USC Football signed 12 players in 2020, 22 players in 2021, and of course seven in 2022. They signed seven high school players in the last high school class to a group that also hauled in 21 transfers (including JUCO transfers).

So, they brought in 28 players. Therefore, signing somewhere between approximately 24-26 high school players not only will result in a good high school class, but will also leave room for at least a couple of high-impact transfers. It will result in a good high school class because SC is already at No. 13 in the country (according to 247Sports) in recruiting, and that's even with just 20 commits.

Every school in front of them in the rankings have over 20 commits, except for Miami. Therefore, it goes to show that SC's class is certainly going to take at least some sort of leap if they can get up to the mid-20s in commits.

They'll at LEAST continue to have a top 15 class of high schoolers, and they'll most certainly be able to haul in some top-tier transfers again to improve the overall class. They call Riley the Portal King for a reason.

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He brought in two five-star transfers last offseason and five four-star transfers. He knows how to build a roster through both avenues, and will likely use both to bolster SC's last PAC-12 roster in 2023.