Photo by Jason Caldwell

USC hosts the nation's No. 1 recruit, but which coach will host him?

The Trojans first big recruiting weekend after the dead period comes with questions on the coaching staff.

USC will host more than a dozen recruits on campus this weekend for official visits down a recruiting coordinator and an associate head coach.

Both Peter Sirmon and Marques Tuiasosopo will not be recruiting for USC this weekend. Sirmon accepted the defensive coordinator position at Mississippi State Tuesday when it appeared he would be staying put. Tuiasosopo is expected to accept the quarterback coach and passing game coordinator position this week at UCLA.

This weekend, USC is still scheduled to host several committed prospects and the nation’s No. 1 player.

Paramus (N.J.) five-star defensive tackle Rashan Gary will be on campus at USC with his mother Friday. Gary has already officially visited Michigan, Auburn and Ole Miss. The Trojans are considered a dark horse for his commitment, with Michigan and Ohio State considered the frontrunners for his services. Gary, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound Under Armour All-American, will announce his decision on a college National Signing Day.

At this point, USC has not hired a defensive line coach and only announced the hiring of defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast Monday..

USC is also scheduled to have two top cornerbacks on campus this week in Detroit (Mich.) four-star LaVert Hill and Scottsdale (Ariz.) four-star Byron Murphy.  However, while Hill is still expected to be on campus Friday, one source indicates that Murphy may end up canceling his visit to USC.

Murphy say he will announce his college decision Jan. 21, and with Arizona State considered the odds on favorite to land his commitment, the Sun Devils would more than likely prefer he cancel the trip altogether. Ironically, his former Saguaro High School teammate Christian Kirk had his last official visit set to USC before canceling that trip and committing to Texas A&M.

Phoenix (Ariz.) four-star defensive end Connor Murphy is still expected to officially visit USC. Murphy has already officially visited Oregon in November and has Michigan as well as Alabama for later this month. Michigan was considered the favorite to land his commitment early on, but USC and Arizona State have both made in roads with Murphy in recent months.

Of course, that was with linebacker coach Peter Sirmon as his lead recruiter for USC. Sirmon recruited the Southwest, Inland Empire and linebacker position for the Trojans. His absence as recruiting coordinator just days before a big recruiting weekend is another hurdle Clay Helton must negotiate before his first full season as head coach. Running backs coach Johnny Nansen is a potential replacement as recruiting coordinator for USC, although that position will likely be handled by the support staff in the interim.

USC is in play to bring in at least two more official visitors this weekend, although those plans will not be confirmed until later in the week. In addition to those recruits with pending decisions, the Trojans coaching staff will host La Puente (Calif.) five-star wide out Tyler Vaughns, La Puente (Calif.) four-star athlete Trevon Sidney, Exton (Pa.) four-star tight end Cary Angeline and Santa Ana (Calif.) four-star offensive tackle Frank Martin Friday.

Saraland (Ala.) three-star wide out Velus Jones is also scheduled to officially visit USC this weekend as a commit. Jones committed to USC sight unseen last spring and immediately became categorized as a “soft verbal.” While Tee Martin’s promotion as offensive coordinator was said to have strengthened his commitment to USC, it may have been akin to firming up Jello. 

A source told USCFootball.com this week that Jones is "50-50" on officially visiting USC this weekend. Jones has already officially visited Michigan, Oklahoma and Tennessee. He was offered a scholarship by USC before each of those schools, but distance has always been a factor hedging his pledge to the Trojans.

While wide receiver Tyler Vaughns has a trip to Alabama set up for Jan. 22, his commitment to USC appears solid. Trevon Sidney does not have any official visits set to other schools, although there have been rumblings that he could be exploring his options this month.

Cary Angeline is perhaps the most interesting, if not important commitment USC has visiting this weekend. With the tight end position at USC having little in the way of depth or impact players since the dismissal of sophomore Bryce Dixon, Angeline is a vital part of the Trojans 2016 recruiting class.

Angeline was being recruited by Marques Tuiasosopo, but as with Sirmon, Tuiasosopo will no longer coach at USC. Instead, he will make the move to Westwood and become direct competition for the Trojans for some key recruits, including Concord (Calif.) De La Salle teammates Devin Asiasi and Boss Tagaloa. Asiasi is scheduled officially visit USC Jan. 30.

Angeline has already spoken to Trojans head coach Clay Helton about the on-going coaching carousel and confirmed his visit for USC this weekend. While USC’s offensive scheme should feature the tight end position next season, Angeline will have to determine whether the Trojans will have a full time tight ends coach on staff. Expect Tuiasosopo to try to get Angeline on campus at UCLA as well.


USCFootball.com Top Stories