USC Football has found the perfect transfer just before signing day to help fix this linebacker room, in Oklahoma State's Mason Cobb. Cobb is the No. 2 Linebacker in the transfer portal, and couldn't be more necessary for Year 2 of this re-build, with SC losing three linebackers to the portal so far this offseason.
SC is returning starting Will Linebacker Shane Lee and starting Mike Linebacker Eric Gentry, but they have absolutely no depth with Ralen Goforth transferring, along with potential depth candidates in Julien Simon and Tayler Katoa hitting the portal as well. They need bodies, and only have brought in one via the transfer portal in Jamil Muhammad.
Muhammad was most certainly an upgrade over Katoa and Simon, and now SC has a stud in Cobb heading to Los Angeles. That's what Cobb is, as he's coming off of a 96-tackle season in 2022, to go along with 13 tackles for loss.
This linebacker rotation is now already significantly better than what it was this past year, and had already been putting together depth with the Muhammad addition and commitment from four-star Many (Louisiana) Linebacker Tackett Curtis in the 2023 recruiting cycle.
This position group has completely flipped from one that was suspect with little depth, to one that has proven, front-end talent with some depth behind it in case injuries strike again. Remember when SC had to use Tuli Tuipulotu as a Mike Linebacker at times this past season? Those type of stunts are not necessary anymore.
New USC Football Linebacker Mason Cobb's advanced numbers jump off the page.
According to Shotgun Spratling of USCFootball.com, new USC Football Linebacker Mason Cobb had 51 'defensive stops' in 2022 (PFF). Spratling explained that a defensive stop is a 'tackle that constitutes a failure for the offense.' He also pointed out in a tweet that nobody with the Trojans this past season had more than 29 defensive stops:
This is clearly a major and incredible upgrade for the Trojans here. Cobb was a Second-Team All-Big 12 selection for the Oklahoma State Cowboys this past season, and it shows when looking at how big the jump that SC's transfer portal class took with this move. They were 14th in the country before Cobb made his decision, and they are now fifth in the country.
A fifth-ranked transfer portal class and 13th-ranked recruiting class is what SC has (all recruiting rankings in article are as of 247Sports), and that's a great situation to be in. SC likely wants to be a bit better than that, but things are already going great as they are.
Also, there is still over a month until the final signing day for high school recruiting, and there are still over four months for SC to pick up transfers this cycle. SC has done a great job building this roster for the Lincoln Riley re-build both last offseason and this offseason.
It's a major part of why they were able to go from 4-8 to 11-2 in just Year 1 of the new era. If things continue, the roster will keep getting better and so will this program.