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Top 2020 wide receivers don't want to play for USC

Top 2020 wide receivers don't want to play for USC

If anyone were to point out that USC can’t seem to recruit superstars on offense in the 2020 class, a natural reaction would be to blame to Air Raid.

If the Trojans can’t get one of the better tailbacks in the country to sign, it’s fair to say the Air Raid, a wide open passing offense, isn’t the most attractive option to those recruits.

If USC can’t get one of the better offensive linemen in the country to sign, it’s fair to say that such an unbalanced attack probably isn’t ideal for those players as well.

Wide receivers, however, should be stumbling over each other to sign up for USC. A big name program, in a massive media market, focusing on a passing offense should be special to those players. Especially when there’s so many talented high school wide receivers in the greater Los Angeles area.

So, for a team with all of that going for it, it’s shocking how bad USC has been at recruiting 2020 wide receivers. It really is shocking

But first, let’s address what’s gone right.

USC has a commitment from Josh Jackson, a wide receiver from Harbor City, Calif. He’s considered a four-star by some recruiting sites. USC is also the favorite for four-star wide receiver Gary Bryant of Corona, Calif. 

Three-star wide receiver Daniel Jackson from Texas took an official visit to USC over the weekend and the Trojans are very much in it.

USC made three-star wide receiver Brenden Rice’s top 11. Rice is from Chandler, Ariz. so the lack of significant distance makes it feel like USC has a shot with him. USC also made four-star KeAndre Lambert’s top 11. Lambert is from Norfolk, Va. and is the nephew of former Virginia Tech star Kam Chancellor. It’s unlikely he picks the Trojans but the fact that he named USC as a top school is a positive.

USC is also very much in it for four-star WR Mookie Cooper of St. Louis, four-star LV Bunkley-Shelton of Gardena, Calif., four-star Logan Loya of Bellflower, Calif. and for three-star WR Rome Odunze from Las Vegas. I’m not sure USC can be considered the favorites for these players but the Trojans are definitely in contention.

It’s also worth mentioning that four-star wide receiver Elihah Badger of Folsom, Calif. hasn’t eliminated USC from contention yet.

There’s some talent there. In a best case scenario situation, USC probably gets Jackson and Bryant before adding two more of the names we just mentioned.

That would mean four receiver commits, probably a couple of four-stars in that mix. That seems like a class most college teams would be happy with.

But this is USC and that’s supposed to mean something. That class would be laughable by normal USC standards at wide receiver, especially considering the offense that’s now being run.

This is a school that normally signs all the top receivers in California. It would be nice to see that tradition continue with the Air Raid. Unfortunately, you can’t argue with results. More than half of the wide receivers targeted by the Trojan coaching staff have already committed to other schools. And there are notable misses all over the state of California.

Five-star Johnny Wilson from Calabasas, Calif. released a top five that didn’t include the Trojans. Four-star Jermaine Burton, a teammate of Wilson, chose LSU over USC. Four-star Jalen McMillan from Fresno, Calif. picked Washington over USC. Four-star John Humphreys from Newport Beach, Calif. chose Stanford over USC. Four-star Traeshon Holden from Harbor City, Calif. chose Alabama over USC. Four-star Kris Hutson from Bellflower, Calif. backed off his commitment to USC and eventually committed to Oregon. Three-star Bryce Farrell from Westlake Village, Calif. picked Stanford over USC. And while he’s technically considered an athlete, four-star Jaden Navarrette from Norco, Calif. committed to Oregon over USC as well (he plays wide receiver so it’s worth mentioning).

Outside of California, the issues continue. 11 of the 17 wide receivers USC has offered outside of California have already said no to the Trojan coaching staff. Nearly every top prospect outside of the West Coast doesn’t want to even look at the school.

While I’m not going to bash USC for missing out on a five-star from the East Coast, four-star Gee Scott, Jr. from the state of Washington, decided to travel to Ohio and play football for the Buckeyes over playing for USC. Choosing Ohio State over a short trip down the coast means there’s a problem at USC. And while I would never blame the Trojans for missing on a kid from Louisiana, it’s worth mentioning that four-star Koy Moore backed off his commitment to USC.

In fact, as this article is being written, USC’s staff has more de-commitments from wide receivers in the class of 2020 than they have commitments.

So while USC is hosting three-star receivers on official visits to fill space in the class, remember the top kids in California said no thanks to being a Trojan. The top kids in the country said no thanks to even seeing the campus. 

That’s a big deal, especially for a team who’s offense will put its future in the hands of wide receivers. it seems obvious but if a coaching staff is going to run the Air Raid and have a great offense, they need to do well at recruiting wide receivers. This staff isn’t doing that.

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