LSU has the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class for 2020 according to Rivals with two commitments from Southern California. They are ranked No. 2 by 247.
USC is ranked No. 33 and No. 31, respectively.
This is where you can get some curmudgeon to pipe in and talk about how recruiting rankings in February don’t matter or how they should be ignored generally.
I don’t necessarily disagree. But everything must be viewed within the prism of Clay Helton as USC coach.
For example, Pete Carroll decided early during his tenure at USC that he wanted to wait and take most of his commitments later in the year because he placed emphasis on how a recruit performed their senior year. He made exceptions obviously but he preferred to watch more film of recruits.
Norm Chow used to laugh because Carroll always worried before Signing Day he might not sign a full class but it always worked out. One reason was Carroll had the gravitas to turn a recruit’s head late in the year.
Ask yourself if Clay Helton can do the same? Who wants to play for him besides JT Daniels?
USC was handing out offers like candy in January it was so desperate for players and mostly failed to get an array of three-star prospects.
The word is out locally. And don’t think recruits are not hearing from current USC players about how toxic the atmosphere is created by Helton (with a big assist from Lynn Swann).
“I could always fall back on USC,” St. John Bosco wide receiver Kris Hutson told the Los Angeles Times last month.
The USC brand is so damaged Helton cannot even get two Calabasas wide receivers to list the Trojans despite the fact Chris Claiborne is their head coach and Curtis Conway their offensive coordinator.
So maybe these recruiting rankings are a red flag. Like I said before, a new dynamic coach might overcome this but Helton and Swann are digging quite a hole for a potential successor.