After making his first comments about the class on the Scout National Signing Day Live program, USC head coach Clay Helton talked for nearly 20 minutes Wednesday afternoon about the Trojans' 2016 recruiting class during his National Signing Day news conference. He also later spent some time over at The Lab talking about how the day went on TrojansLive!
During the news conference held in the McKay Center, Helton spent a lot of time talking about the recruiting class as a whole and how it may be able to make an immediate impact next season.
Because of NCAA rules, this was the first time that Helton (or any of the coaching staff) was allowed to speak about the position groups and specifically about the individual players that signed and sent in their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday.
Here's what Helton had to say about the offensive player groups and individuals:
Glendora (Calif.) three-star Matt Fink:
- At the QB position, Matt Fink is already with us here in the spring, graduated early. We were very impressed with Matt throughout the season with what he did at Glendora High School. We always say our quarterbacks we want to be throwers first. One of the things that he displayed not only through the season but in our camps was the ability to be an elite thrower and develop into an elite thrower he just happens to be a terrific athlete as well that is able to create. It’s a dynamic that we really appreciated in watching his film..
On Offensive Line:
- It all starts in the trenches and the three big men we signed today from Frank Martin to E.J. Price to Nathan Smith, these guys are really special. Not only are they big men, but they can move. We do a lot of zone schemes and pulling with our run schemes. Each one of these guys are ultra athletic. It’s kind of been a staple for us here at USC. To have those three join us just makes us a better team.
Lawrenceville (Ga.) Archer four-star E.J.Price:
- On the offensive side obviously it starts with the offensive line. To go to the state of Georgia and pull E.J. Price out of the state, one of the premier tackles in the country, I thought was a statement. One, of how powerful a university USC is and I’ve really thought with EJ, it was something that I was very proud of him to recognize what a USC education means for him in the future and what he wanted to do both on and off the field.
Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei four-star Frank Martin II and Murrieta (Calif.) Mesa four-star Nathan Smith:
- To add two local young man in Frank Martin and Nathan Smith, who we have had committed for a long, long time be a part of us and really come on board to help us. We’re excited about that..
On Running Backs:
Mililani (Hawaii) four-star Vavae Malepeai:
- He is from the great island of Hawaii. A young man that came late in the recruiting process. Came on a visit to us and really saw how special it was to be part of the Trojan family and how powerful an education is from USC. We are so proud to have him in our family I think he's dynamic not only as a runner but what really stood out to us is his ability to route run in the passing game and the terrific ball skills that he has. He is not only an elite runner but he's an elite receiver out of the backfield..
On Wide Receivers:
- The wideout corps that we signed has to be one of the tops in the country.
I think sometimes as a head football coach and a staff you have to look not only for the season coming up, but you also have to see what's going on in the future and with the dynamic of us possibly losing several young man after this season and how special a group this class was, we really felt that we needed to load up. When you look at Josh Imatorbhebhe, Michael Pittman, Tyler Vaughns, Velus Jones and Trevon Sidney, you’re talking about the best of the best in the country.
This group is going to be a great legacy here at USC and provide tremendous explosion not only down the field but what I was impressed with each one of them was their ability to make yards after the catch. That's what stood out to me with each one of these individuals.
- I’m really proud of the entire receiving corps that we brought in. I think they’re dynamic. Each one of them, not only are they big men, they are explosive after the catch. That’s what really stood out to us was just how dynamic they were after the catch. We’re extremely fortunate to have these guys on our football team.
- It really helps you to have those threats on the outside not only to run by a defensive back, but also to be able to throw them the ball short and let them run long. That’s kind of what we look for as an evaluation tool and these guys have it.
On Tight Ends:
On Exton (Pa.) Downingtown East four-star tight end Cary Angeline:
- We bring tremendous size to the tight end position with 6-foot-6 Cary Angeline. As a route runner and a huge target for a quarterback, we thought that he had a unique strength in being able to make plays down the field, especially from the Flex position he was able to not only put his hand on the ground, but be flexed out and be able to show that dynamic [with] both those things. We thought was extremely intriguing and we are very very glad to have him here.
On the overall class:
- If you want to be the best, you’ve got to sign the best and sometimes you have to take those gambles. When you look at the elite players that came from Florida, Georgia, Alabama ,Pennsylvania, they are far away. But we felt like it was maybe one of two or one of three schools and not only was it worth the fight because of their talent but we really felt like there was a special relationship with those young men and they understood the power of USC. We weren't just grasping at straws. We felt that we were in the lead or it was 50-50 in each one of those situations. As we looked up, it was an extremely successful day in those states.
And here's the entire news conference, if you are interested in hearing Helton's comments yoursef: