Having lived in California and being a USC commit, Hayes has mentioned it often to Peoples-Jones. But the 2017 Detroit (Mich.) Cass receiver never had the chance to check it out himself…until the pair of four-star prospects made the trek from Michigan to Southern California for USC’s Rising Stars Camp.
“It was a great experience. I heard a lot of good things about California. It was just very reaffirming to be able to get out there and see it with my own eyes,” Peoples-Jones said. “[Hayes] helped me get on USC’s radar, so I just wanted to go out there with him. Let him show me around since he’s a commit.”
Peoples-Jones said he enjoyed working with the USC coaching staff and wide receivers coach Tee Martin in particular.
“He’s a very good coach. I learned a lot. Just working with more of the USC coaching staff. It’s just building a relationship at this point.”
Peoples-Jones also tried to get a feel for the life outside the football field that Southern California has to offer.
“Academics, the history of producing great receivers, the environment — Los Angeles is a beautiful city. Those are a couple things I took close consideration of.”
While Peoples-Jones may never have considered a future at USC a year or two ago, the Trojans are now firmly entrenched as a program he is tracking.
“’I’m very interested in USC. It is a school I’m going to continue to look at and evaluate, as long as they evaluate me. Right now, I’m evaluating every school that has offered me.”
That evaluation list includes USC, who offered Peoples-Jones a scholarship in April, but it’s a pretty long list since Peoples-Jones has been raking in the offers this offseason.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Peoples-Jones is currently rated the top 2017 receiver in the Midwest and the No. 25 overall recruit in the nation. And he’s one of the handful of underclassmen that were invited to The Opening Finals this week, giving him a pair of West Coast trips in quick succession.
But don’t expect this to be the last time Peoples-Jones comes West. He already is considering another trip to Los Angeles in the future.
“I plan to visit [USC]. Don’t know when yet, but yea I definitely plan to visit again.”
Here's some Donovan Peoples-Jones highlights from the title game last year, being hosted at Detroit's Ford Field: