USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley drops hint about future transfer portal plans

Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley, USC Football
Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley, USC Football / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC Football and Lincoln Riley have absolutely dominated the transfer portal this cycle, and Riley has only been on the job for a couple of months.

He has the No. 1 transfer portal class in the nation, which helps him boast a top 10 overall class (247Sports) despite not being here until after the season of course. He's bagged 13 transfers instead of going after high school talent, as he's only signed just eight high school players this cycle.

This method of roster construction is best for right now, because the transfer portal was already being used heavily before Riley got here. He needs to keep up and be aggressive in the portal as well, and on top of that, he had the chance to take three four/five star transfers with him from Oklahoma so he could get some guys in the locker room who already know SC's new systems. He did that by signing four-star transfers WR Mario Williams and CB Latrell McCutchin, as well as the most anticipated transfer in portal history, five-star transfer QB Caleb Williams.

Arriving to SC in November, most high school kids were already committed and/or knowing where they would choose to go to school by the time Riley got here. The portal, however, was stocked with many players who were looking to go elsewhere, so the transfer portal was the way to go for Riley. It was the way to go for all new head coaches who signed on at around the same time Riley did at USC.

Riley does, however, know that this should not always be the way USC builds its roster:

Next season, Lincoln Riley will not be building USC football's roster the same way as he did this year.

Again, USC Football Head Coach Lincoln Riley had to build the class through the transfer portal this year due to the timing of his arrival at SC. After this class goes through, however, the focus will shift to where the portal will be utilized less and high school recruits will be sought after more. He'll have a full calendar year to put a class together, so he won't need to go to the portal as much.

And that's the right move. While the portal does have some gems inside of it, it's oftentimes preferable to sign kids out of high school so we can have them for longer and stock up on depth that's more willing to sit for some time before they get their chance to play. Dominating the recruiting trail is such a major advantage for any football program that SC needs to make sure they take care of that as well.

Next. USC's depth chart after Caleb, Mario Williams. dark

Therefore, recruiting prep kids will be just as important as luring transfers into our prestigious program moving forward. Riley will actually have the chance to do that next time, and he was clear about that being the way he will choose to go about roster-building in the future. It was a great call by Riley, and a bit expected when considering the unique circumstances Riley walked into for his first offseason with the program.