Student Sports

What Clay Helton had to say about his defensive recruits on National Signing Day

Head coach Clay Helton breaks down USC's 2016 defensive recruiting class by position group and individual recruits.

For nearly 20 minutes in the McKay Center Wednesday afternoon, USC head coach Clay Helton talked about the Trojans' top 10 ranked recruiting class during his National Signing Day news conference. He also spoke with Scout for the National Signing Day Live production and later on the TrojansLive! radio show:

At his various stops along the way, Helton spent time discussing the 2016 class as a whole and the vision he has for the program as the Trojans slowly climb to the 85-scholarship threshold that the Trojans have been below since the NCAA dealt them sanctions. The depth continues to get better for USC and that has come with an infusion of very talented players.

Due to the NCAA's restrictions, Wednesday after the school had received players National Letter of Intent was the first time that the coaches were allowed to speak about individual recruits that will be summer and fall entrants. Here's what Helton had to say about the individual defensive recruits and their position groups:

On the Overall Recruiting Class and Day:

- It’s a great day to be a Trojan. We’re really excited about the 20 young men that we were fortunate enough to sign today. Men of great character and obviously of great talent.

- Very, very proud to welcome these young men into the Trojan Family. It was a long process but one that ended up terrific for us. I am very pleased not only with them but I'm very proud of what our staff did throughout the recruiting process.

On Defensive Linemen:

- I’m very excited to say defensively we thought it all started in the defensive line and really captured four tremendous pass rushers in Oluwole Betiku, Connor Murphy, Liam Jimmons and Josh Fatu. Our league is a passing league and you have to be able to get to the quarterback. We really felt that these men were elite about putting pressure when we evaluated on film. Getting to the quarterback is something we dearly needed..

Gardena (Calif.) Serra five-star defensive end Oluwole Betiku:

- If I were quarterbacks in our league right now, I’d be scared. He scares me just walking up. He looks like he’s about 26 years old.

- In our league, a passing league, you have to be able to get to the quarterback and Wole has been able to do that in his career.

- You know when you play in this league you know it's a passing league and you have to find guys they can get to the quarterback and get them off their spot. That's what we saw. Just a physical presence that this guy has to get to the quarterback. Great tools and what we really were excited about is how much more room to grow. He’s not a guy that is maxed out right now. He’s got so much growth potential as a player, it's ridiculous so he deserves that fifth star. He is a very special talent.

On Linebackers:

Honolulu (Hawaii) three-star middle linebacker Jordan Iosefa:

- An elite linebacker from the island of Hawaii in Jordan Iosefa.

On Defensive Backs:

- We wanted to be able to add a couple of corners and a couple safeties.

Long Beach (Calif.) Poly five-star athlete Jack Jones:

- He is the most dynamic athlete. He reminds you of several guys that have been here before. We’ve got this guy named Adoree’ Jackson that does a great job for us. [Jones] is in that similar mode of being able to not only play defensive back, but being greedy on offense too. You love to be able to put him over there and have the chance to be able to throw him a ball or two. He’s so dynamic with the ball in his hands and as a returner. Just the ultimate weapon. We’re glad to continue the tradition of signing great athletes like him.

- One of the most elite DBs that are out there. He also can come over [to offense] like Adoree’ [Jackson] does.

- He’s so special. He reminds us of Adoree’. You sit him down, you visit with him and you vision with say ‘Where you are you most comfortable at right now?’ In his future, I really think he’s going to be so special at the DB position just like Adoree’ is. But when you look at him as a returner and when you look at him as a guy that when he touches the ball is so dynamic, he can help you on both sides of the ball. At some point in time, you’re going to lose an Adoree’ Jackson and thank goodness Jacck Jacck is here.

Miami (Fla.) Senior three-star athlete Keyshawn Young:

- You look at his dynamic of not only being a wide receiver but a DB. We really feel like he could play either side of the ball and can be a great DB.

On Jones and Young:

- At the corner position, you go get a dynamic player in Jacck Jacck Jones and then you also bring Keyshawn Young, who is a really, really terrific athlete out of the state of Florida that can not only be a defensive back but a wide receiver.

- Those two young men are very special to us because of have good of athletes they are."

Miami (Fla.) Central four-star safety Jamel Cook:

- One of the hardest hitting young men that i've seen in a long, long time. He reminds me a lot of T.J. McDonald. His length and his range to be able to cover the field was something that really jumped out at us on film.

Gardena (Calif.) Serra four-star safety C.J. Pollardl:

- We really felt was one of the more instinctive football players that we had seen all year. It’s so great to have him already here as a midterm player and carrying on the tradition of his family for years to come.

And here's the entire news conference, if you are interested in hearing the comments yourself:

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