College Football
Lincoln Riley defends recruitment of ex-Sooners to USC
College Football

Lincoln Riley defends recruitment of ex-Sooners to USC

Updated Dec. 13, 2022 10:25 a.m. ET

Hollywood is the home of megastars, but where the bright spotlight shines, scrutiny follows.

New USC football coach Lincoln Riley is receiving firsthand experience of that since his arrival in Los Angeles.

After stunning the football world by departing Oklahoma for the USC job, Riley has since lured a few players from Norman to his new destination, notably starting quarterback Caleb Williams.

With Williams following Riley to USC, along with wide receiver Mario Williams and cornerback Latrell McCutchin, Riley's recruiting ethics have come under question.


But he insists he wasn't poaching players from Oklahoma as much as he was playing by the rules that are in place.

"We didn't take players from Oklahoma. We took players from the transfer portal," Riley said in an interview on "The Herd."

"Those players and their families had to make a decision to either stay at that university — just like any other player has to make — or enter the portal where they can be recruited by anybody in the country."

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Those comments haven't been met with the warmest welcome by some in college football.

"Underneath the USC-Lincoln Riley-Oklahoma discourse is the "Grapes of Wrath — a novel about Okies who moved to California because they couldn't hack it," FOX Sports College Football Writer RJ Young tweeted. "Not everybody is built to be an Oklahoman. We prefer you just admit it."

Young was ahead of this narrative, too. On his podcast, "The #1 Ranked Show," Young said USC had fixed its program by adding Riley and Mario Williams. That was in January, even before Caleb Williams had decided to move West.

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But Young wasn't alone in his criticism, as he was joined by other college football observers.

Riley has proven that he can recruit, no matter how questionable his methods might seem to Oklahoma fans.

Now, it's time for him to bring the same winning pedigree he established at Oklahoma to USC. If he does, the spotlight in L.A. will have an entirely different focus.


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