USC’s 5 Biggest Recruits after National Signing Day

Jan 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; USC Trojans coach Clay Helton celebrates with the Spirit of Troy marching band after the 103rd Rose Bowl against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Rose Bowl. USC defeated Penn State 52-49 in the highest scoring game in Rose Bowl history. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With National Signing Day in the books, here’s a look at the 5 biggest recruits that signed with the USC Trojans.

The USC Trojans had a big National Signing Day. They were considered a winner in many aspects, obtaining the commitments of some big-name prospects to close out their 2017 recruiting class with a bang. They nabbed 24 total signees on February 1, putting teams on notice in the process.
Head coach Clay Helton took the Trojans to a 10-3 record in 2016 and that success paid off in a big way on the recruiting trail. With quarterback Sam Darnold returning after a stellar freshman season, the Trojans got better on both sides of the ball. And now the Pac-12 Conference is on notice.

The Trojans flipped a defensive tackle, got an outside linebacker to troll a few schools, and a load of offensive talent on February 1 to a whole lot of fanfare. They finished with the fourth ranked recruiting class, according to 247 Sports. As the only Pac-12 team with a Top 10 recruiting class, USC looks to turn a corner in 2017, particularly on defense.

National Signing Day was a good day overall for the Trojans. The recruits they got solidify one thing: The Trojans are back! The road to a National Championship starts on the recruiting trail. Getting a boost into the top five certainly helps USC’s cause as well.

Here’s a look at the Trojans’ five biggest recruits after National Signing Day.

5. Josh Falo, TE

Tight end Josh Falo commitment to the USC Trojans strengthens an offense in need of weapons. Most had Falo leaning towards Oregon but surely coaching changes played a role in his final decision. Playing time also could have played a role. He is the lone tight end commitment in this year’s recruiting class and will be the only tight end on the roster in 2017.

Falo chose a creative way to announce his decision as well with the above video. He chose traditional Haka dancers to show his heritage while announcing “Fight On!” at the end.

At 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, the Sacramento native is the fourth ranked tight end in the nation, according to 247Sports. Falo is the 140th ranked prospect in the 2017 recruiting class and 19th-best player in the state of California.  He caught 21 passes for 410 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in his senior season at Inderkum High School.

4. Levi Jones, OLB

The USC Trojans took many by surprise when four-star outside linebacker Levi Jones committed to them on National Signing Day. Jones used a unique way of committing to the Trojans as well. He donned a black hoodie before removing a Florida Gators shirt then removing a Florida State shirt, finally revealing a USC Trojans shirt.

The four-star linebacker out of Austin, Texas ranks 92nd overall in the nation, according to 247Sports. He is the sixth-best outside linebacker and 14th-best player in the state of Texas. Many had Jones leaning towards Florida State but his commitment to USC strengthens a unit in need of defensive depth.

Jones had 103 tackles (72 solo, 31 assisted), 12 tackles for loss, four sacks and four pass breakups in his senior season at Westlake High School. Head coach Clay Helton closing out on this coveted target now puts the Trojans in a position of conference dominance.

3. Jay Tufele, DT

The USC Trojans interior defense will be stacked for years to come. Before National Signing Day, the Trojans flipped Washington Huskies commit Marlon Tuipulotu to enroll early at USC. Then on Signing Day, they got the commitment of another highly-rated defensive tackle in Jay Tufele.

Tufele is a 6-foot-3, 297 pound terror who ranks 41st nationally, third by position and first overall in the state of Utah. The South Jordan native was split between staying home and attending Utah or playing on the big stage in Southern Cal. He ultimately chose USC in the end.

The Trojans currently have five junior defensive tackles and nine total on the roster for 2017, so adding Tufele and Tuipulotu is needed for obvious reasons. With a lot of upperclassmen, there will be enough playing time to go around for all parties involved.

Tufele joins a strong recruiting class, bringing big run-stopping and sacking ability to a defense in huge need. Head coach Clay Helton has done good work on the recruiting trail and Tufele is evidence of that.

2. Joseph Lewis, WR

Wide receiver Joseph Lewis is a five-star prospect the USC Trojans are ready to pair with quarterback Sam Darnold. Lewis ranks 31st overall in the nation, fourth at his position and sixth overall in the state of the California, according to 247Sports. The Los Angeles native is the lone wide receiver commitment in this year’s recruiting class.

With six underclassmen at wide receiver, Lewis enters the fray to immediately compete for playing time. With the departure of wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to the NFL Draft, the Trojans will definitely need a number one option at receiver.

Lewis caught 21 passes for 555 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns in just seven games. He was injured and missed the latter part of his senior year.

At 6-foot-2 and 204 pounds, Lewis already has the frame and size to compete with collegiate level cornerbacks. Adding size and strength through the USC Trojans’ conditioning program will do Lewis a lot of good in getting on the football field early.

1. Stephen Carr, RB

Running back Stephen Carr is another five-star prospect the USC Trojans hope can get them back to Pac-12 dominance. Carr is the Trojans first five-star prospect at running back in awhile and he hopes to make the most of it.

At 6-foot and 202 pounds, Carr already has a running back’s body but he’ll have some competition in getting the starting job. The Fontana, California native ranks 20th in the nation, third by position and third in the state of California, according to 247Sports. Carr ran for 2,123 rushing yards, 31 touchdowns and 9.1 yards per carry in his senior season. He averaged 176.9 yards per game. Carr also caught 20 passes for 466 receiving yards and five touchdowns as well.

Carr brings versatility to the running back position and could compete for playing time behind some up and coming underclassmen. As the lone running back commit, the Trojans haven’t gone too deep at the position, which bodes well for Carr. USC returns running back Ronald Jones, who rushed for 1,082 yards last season. So, Carr will have his work cut out for him in cracking the depth chart.

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