It's not even that surprising that USC football missed out on five-star OT Francis Mauigoa. It's been rough when it comes to recruiting offensive linemen for SC these past few years. After the Josh Conerly debacle, nothing surprises Trojans fans anymore.
2020 saw many offensive linemen to USC in recruiting, but not a lot of big names. 2021 was a great class for SC, but not a lot of top-tier linemen. 2022 was a lighter recruiting class in general so USC could build through the transfer portal.
There's a chance, though, that SC's luck can finally reverse when it comes to recruiting in the trenches on offense. No. 3 Interior O-line recruit in the country (all recruiting ratings and rankings in article are as of 247Sports), Markis Deal, has placed USC in his top six.
Markis Deal would be a game-changing get for the USC football program.
Markis Deal would be the first out of state four-star 247Sports composite lineman recruit that USC football has picked up since 2018 (Trevor Trout out of Missouri). Deal hails from Texas, and can also play on the D-Line. Getting a two-way player like this would mean everything.
It AT LEAST gives USC much-needed depth on both sides of the trenches. It was just last year when SC had to use one of their true freshman backup offensive linemen, Maximus Gibbs, on the defensive line in live action.
Not only did that showcase that SC is lacking depth if they need to convert an O-Lineman to a different position, but there are also rumors that Gibbs is not with the Trojans anymore. If that's the case, there are no two-way linemen on this team for 2022.
Deal is the No. 17 overall recruit in the talent-rich state of Texas. He's the No. 102 player in the nation.
SC has had some success in this 2023 cycle with highly-touted recruits from Texas (four-star S Braxton Myers, four-star RB Quinten Joyner, and four-star RB A'Marion Peterson), so to continue poaching talent from there would be huge with the class overall not looking great right now.
The 2023 recruiting class for SC is so far a good one, but not a great one at No. 15 in the country. They do, however, have the sixth-best average recruit ranking in the nation. Adding Deal would certainly not pose big issues to that, and would provide a huge boost both on the field and in terms of confidence on the recruiting trail for SC.
USC has the No. 1 recruiting class in the Pac-12, and needs to continue recruiting Deal hard. He's already been on his official visit to SC, and it reportedly went well.
Winning is the best recruiter, however, so SC will need to prove to recruits that they are on their way to being back once September comes around if they really want to secure Deal and other top offensive linemen for the first time in years.