Strap in USC football fans. The Trojans are likely heading for another season of medium in the Clay Helton era.
You already know what that means. Helton will continue to inspire the loyalty of his players, who will use their talents to win more games than they lose. The Trojans will look good at times, but rarely great. Even when they look bad, they'll find ways to win. It's the medium way.
Don't allow yourself to become totally discouraged though. USC recruiting is back on track and that will keep the Trojans afloat beyond Helton.
USC football's recruiting successes matter in the long run
The 2020 recruiting class was a very bad sign. The Trojans had the lowest-rated class in the Pac-12. Their ranking of 64th nationally was the worst in memory by several factors. Further, it showed the 2019 dip to 20th nationally as less of a blip and more of a trend.
The class of 2021 reversed that trend in a big way. The Trojans signed a Top 10 class including the No. 1 player and four other Top 100 prospects. Big time Mater Dei linebacker Raesjon Davis joined that number on Signing Day. The class as a whole includes nine of the Top 20 recruits in California.
That's the kind of haul USC should expect each and every year. It's also the kind that will make sure any dips the Trojans experience are relatively small.
In 2020, there was a real fear that Helton would ultimately leave the cupboards bare. That's been undercut by some savvy hires like Donte Williams on the defensive side of the ball and a support staff beefed up by the likes of Armond Hawkins. USC's cupboard now includes the kind of talent that can continue to feed success in the program for years to come.
Few believe that Helton is the man to take USC to the top. He's had ample opportunity to do so and hasn't been able to take the next step. Fortunately, the Trojans are still just one good hire away from contending thanks to renewed recruiting efforts.