USC needed an elite linebacker in the 2017 class and now they have one.
Levi Jones picked the USC t-shirt on Wednesday during ESPNU’s Signing Day Special, spurning Florida State and Florida in order to play his college football in Los Angeles.
Jones is actually from Austin, Texas, but eliminated schools from his home state before settling on a final three including the Trojans, Seminoles and Gators. UCLA had also been in the running for his signature.
Rated as the No. 6 outside linebacker in the class, Jones represents one of USC’s most important gets to wrap up the 2017 class.
He stands 6-foot-3, 215 pounds and has that mouth-watering combination of power and speed to wreck havoc in opposing backfields, as evidenced by his 21 tackles for loss during his high school career.
With his size, he’s also big enough to take up a spot in the middle of the field as an inside linebacker.
Where He Fits
The Trojans lost starting inside linebacker Michael Hutchings and primary back up Quinton Powell to graduation after the 2016, leaving a thin rotation at the position going into 2017. Moreover, the expulsion of Osa Masina and Don Hill at the start of the 2016 season had USC already woefully thin behind Uchenna Nwosu on the outside.
Those depth concerns made Jones a key piece in the recruiting class, as he has the size and athleticism to play in either position. That also means he could be in line for immediate playing time, whether he ends up behind Nwosu or competes for a spot in the rotation on the inside.
High School Highlights
He Reminds Us Of…Keith Rivers
Though not as highly touted as Keith Rivers coming out of high school, Levi Jones is just as much of a sure-tackler who can play multiple linebacker positions, while being at his best against the run. Given his 6-foot-3 frame, he should grow into a bigger, bulkier linebacker like Rivers, and projects to slots right into USC’s weakside inside linebacker role.