Who plays where?
In a deep 2016 wide receivers class are several players capable of playing defensive back. Bishop Amat four-star athlete Trevon Sidney, Long Beach Poly four-star athlete Jack Jones and Gardena Serra four-star athlete Brandon Burton are three of the best local talents poised to blur how many wide outs and defensive backs USC actually signs in 2016.
Jones is the No. 1 target at cornerback locally. Sidney, who has also been labeled a possible cornerback prospect, used the last couple of months to re-establish himself as one of the state's best wide outs. Sidney is incredibly athletic player displaying acrobatic like skill with the ball in the air. USC is recruiting Sidney as a receiver and have been unabated in that thinking despite his pedestrian 40-yard dash numbers from The Opening Regional.
If USC takes four wide outs in the 2016 class as expected, Sidney would be counted among that group. Sidney might also be the only target of the group that could legitimately fill the utility role of Adoree Jackson if needed. What Sidney lacks in pure raw speed he makes up for in awareness and instincts. As for Brandon Burton, he showed some flashes at wide receiver early in the spring, but still projects more as a safety in college.
Why go out of state for a wide out?
Last year at this time, we were singing the praises of wide receiver prospects like Bishop Amat's Tyler Vaughns, Santa Margarita's Dylan Crawford, Mira Mesa's Steffon McKnight and Corona Centennial's Javon McKinley. While not every wide out target in-state has developed to expectations, it's still hard to fathom USC getting on a plane to recruit the position.
Every good player USC passes on locally will likely end up at another Pac-12 school. Certainly, providing more low hanging fruit in recruiting for UCLA, Oregon and Arizona State isn't something USC wants to do after providing the entire conference with a crack at 10 additional prospects a year when the Trojans were sanctioned.
USC is still doing well with Javon McKinley, and with all factors considered, he is really the only in-state wide receiver checking all of the boxes for the Trojans in terms of athleticism, academics and on field production. Having said that, there will still be plenty of local prospects who will be cross referenced with Velus Jones, who has yet to step foot on campus at USC. It's not so much a question of whether Jones is a good player, but so much of whether he is good enough to travel that far for.
Can USC find a tight end, or two?
With the parting ways of Bellevue (Wash.) tight end Isaac Garcia last week, USC only has five scholarship offers out to tight ends this recruiting cycle. Of course, tight end recruiting for the 2015 class should remind USC fans that not all is revealed in recruiting by May, June, July or even October. Last June, Tyler Petite was committed to Duke and USC had not offered Avon (Conn.) five-star tight end Chris Clark a scholarship. He was committed to Michigan and Las Vegas (Nev.) five-star tight end Alize Jones was committed to UCLA.
Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep tight end Jacob Mathis is a solid option without a scholarship offer from the same high school of Nelson Agholor. Salt Lake City (Utah) three-star tight end Tangaloa Kaufusi and San Diego (Calif.) two-star tight Mason Vinyard are prospects to watch out West. Vinyard plays wide out for Helix, but at 6-foot-5, 210-pounds, he is being looked at as a possible tight end in college. Vinyard and a 4.62 40-yard dash at The NIKE Combine.
And if you think Vinyard might be a stretch to play tight end, glance a few NFL rosters. Names like Julius Thomas, Daniel Fells, Gavin Escobar, Dennis Pitta, Mychal Rivera and Delanie Walker never graced Pac-12 rosters but have managed to catch on and make impacts for NFL teams. This is a position where USC must develop more in-state targets this month.
Can USC hold serve at defensive tackle?
While wide receiver is not a position where USC has traditionally gone out of state to recruit in mass, defensive tackle is. The 2015 class was an anomaly with the Trojans signing five quality defensive linemen regionally in Rasheem Green, Noah Jefferson, Jacob Daniel, Kevin Scott and Christian Rector. This year the Trojans are putting their eggs in the out of state basket.
USC's track record in signing top out of region defensive tackles isn't very good. However, with Camp and Elliott planning on unofficially visiting Los Angeles this summer, there is a reason to believe the Trojans could follow up last year's haul with another great class. The Trojans are also in good shape recruiting Murray (Utah) defensive end Maxs Tupai, who will likely play with his hand in the dirt next fall. USC will lose three defensive linemen with starting experience in 2016, so stacking good classes at this position is vital to being an annual College Football Playoff contender.
Who else is offer worthy?
These days it seems as though the May Evaluation Period is reserved for double checking on players already offered scholarships and getting ahead to the next class. USC has offered scholarships to 25 sophomores with 10 of those prospects being from California.
In the 2017 class, USC has already peppered the nation with scholarship offers. Locally, the defensive back class appears to be very strong with several players earning scholarship offer consideration from USC. That includes Corona (Calif.) Roosevelt cornerback Thomas Graham, Pasadena (Calif.) Muir cornerback Elijah Blades, Buena Park (Calif.) cornerback Elijah Gates and Harbor City (Calif.) Narbonne safety Malik Street. Of that group, Graham is the most deserving of a scholarship offer and the most likely to get one by camping with USC this summer.