USC football's transfer class is already best in the nation without Caleb Williams

Alabama linebacker Shane Lee (35) now plays for the USC football program.
Alabama linebacker Shane Lee (35) now plays for the USC football program. / Gary Cosby Jr. via Imagn Content

After transfers from SEC linebackers Romello Height (Auburn) and Shane Lee (Alabama), USC football officially established themselves atop the transfer portal rankings for this offseason (all recruiting and transfer rankings/ratings in article are as of 247Sports).

USC was knocking on the door of grabbing that top spot, but with Caleb Williams' decision taking seemingly forever, we didn't know if the day would come. Somehow, some way, Lincoln Riley is enough of a beast to where he now has USC at the top spot without even landing his former QB.

Of the 12 transfers SC has landed, four of them are four-star transfers. That's Travis Dye (Oregon), Latrell McCutchin (Oklahoma), Mario Williams (Oklahoma), and Brenden Rice (Colorado).

USC football is building an All-Star team for 2022 through the transfer portal.

The only other team in the top 12 that has as many transfers as USC football would be Nebraska who is at No. 8. They only have one four-star, however.

The fact that SC is able to do this without even landing the top-ranked transfer in Caleb Williams, who is expected to be a Trojan, speaks volumes to how strong of a recruiter and roster builder Riley is.

When Riley showed up, the USC overall class (both recruits and transfers) was outside the top 100. Now, the transfer class is No. 1 and the overall class has risen from outside the top 100 and into the top 12.

We're already landing proven commodities. Dye has been one of the best running backs in the Pac-12 for years, and is coming off a year in which he led the league in yards from scrimmage (1,673 yards). McCutchin played well for OU last year, and outside of the Texas game where he admittedly didn't have his best showing, he gave up just six receptions for 86 yards and no scores (13 targets).

His former Sooners teammate Mario Williams really developed nicely under Riley at OU and brought down 35 catches for 380 yards and four touchdowns in just his true freshman season. Rice, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Jerry, isn't too shabby either.

In his first two years of college football, he has averaged 15.5 yards per reception despite playing in a bad offense. Not to mention he showcased his talent in the return game by averaging 27.6 yards per kickoff return this past season (17 returns) as well as running a punt return back for six in 2020.

Riley is absolutely raiding the transfer portal, and 100% of the 247Sports crystal ball picks for Caleb are all in USC's favor. It makes even more sense as to why Mario transferred over here, and why Jaxson Dart is transferring away. Still, even if SC doesn't grab Caleb in the portal, they are establishing quite the army of both impact and high-impact players who are drastically altering and improving the roster.

3 realistic destinations for Bru McCoy's transfer. dark. Next

I'll also add that the worst case scenario from here on out is that Caleb doesn't transfer to USC. In that case, Miller Moss, who was a four-star recruit in the 2021 recruiting class and the No. 12 QB would be QB1 for the Trojans. It's a pretty good worst-case scenario to have.