Friday, Kingsburg (Calif.) three-star offensive tackle Andrew Vorhees was the second offensive linemen to commit to USC in three days.
Becoming commitment No. 8 for USC in the 2017 recruiting cycle, Vorhees is another example of Clay Helton’s philosophy as Trojans’ head coach taking form. At 6-foot-6, 290-pounds, Vorhees is another big, powerfully built offensive linemen with the versatility to play multiple positions.
At The Opening Regional in Northern California, Vorhees ran a 5.24 40-yard dash with a vertical leap of 25-inches to go with a power ball throw of 40-feet. Although 290-pounds, Vorhees has almost no bad body weight, which helps illustrate how big his frame is.
Vorhees joins Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) three-star offensive center Brett Neilon as USC commits for the class of 2017. While Neilon is projected to play center for USC, he plays offensive tackle and guard at the high school level.
Vorhees, on the other hand, plays left tackle for Kingsburg, but could end up playing right tackle or guard at USC. His mauling, grinding style of run blocking on film is similar to that of Neilon, but with much more size, Vorhees simply overwhelms most defenders off the line of scrimmage.
As discussed in Brett Neilon’s Future Impact analysis piece, the offensive line is one of the few positions with a real depth of talent for USC. However, while USC goes four deep at center with three of those players being juniors, the Trojans will lose both starting offensive tackles in 2017.
Both right tackle Zach Banner and left tackle Chad Wheeler are graduating seniors. While Wheeler has been in and out of the line-up with injuries, both players have multiple years of starting experience. Behind them USC has a young group of offensive tackles in freshmen Roy Hemsley, Clayton Johnson, Nathan Smith and E.J. Price. All four players were four-star recruits coming out of high school.
Frank Martin joins the team as an in-coming freshman this summer as well. Martin could end up playing offensive tackle, although was projected as a guard his senior season coming out of Mater Dei High School.
Sophomore Chuma Edoga is the true wildcard on the depth chart for the Trojans next fall. A five-star offensive tackle out of high school, Edoga played well in relief of Zach Banner at right tackle last season.
However, this summer, Edoga has been working out with the defensive tackles. An extremely good athlete, Edoga could be that rare player who can move to either side of the football as needed. If nothing else, his move — temporary or permanent — demonstrates how deep USC is on the offensive line right now.
Expert Opinion with Scout and Fox Sports National Recruiting Analyst Greg Biggins
Although only rated a three-star prospect by Scout Media, Vorhees is a player Biggins has been a proponent of throughout the spring.
“He has a great frame and is a big kid who’s not top heavy or sloppy,” said Biggins. “He plays with a strong base and he moves well. He’s not a hyper-athletic kid, but he moves well enough to play right tackle or maybe guard.
“I’m one of those guys who doesn’t like super tall linemen playing guard. You’re just going up against a lot of defensive tackles that are 6-foot-3, 6-foot-2 and really strong. You have to get real low to block those guys. Vorhees is going to fill out and I wouldn’t be surprised if he grows another inch.
“Helton told him he could play anywhere on the line, but I see him ideally as a right tackle. If he’s not quite athletic for that position, maybe you slide him inside at guard.
“He’s a multi-sport guy who throws shot-put and he has a really, really good off the field work ethic. He probably put on 20-pounds this off-season, and like we already talked about, he has room to still grow. Great kid, great student athlete. He’s one of those kids that really wants to be at USC.”
Ironically, of his 17 scholarship offers, 10 from Pac-12 schools, USC was one of the last schools to offer Vorhees a scholarship.
“They were really behind recruiting him, but once they offered they jumped way up,” explained Biggins. “So he’s one of those kids that you’re not going to have to worry about taking a bunch of visits.
“He was going to camp at Stanford to see if they were going to offer him, but he’s canceled that trip. USC is his school all of the way. He and Brett Neilon are similar in that way.
“Neither guys are going to be taking visits. Andrew almost commit on his visit to USC a couple of weeks ago, but he decided to wait and talk about it with his family. He just felt USC was the perfect fit for him on and off the field.”
Neither Neilon nor Vorhees is rated higher than a three-star, but Biggins sees both commits as a great foundation for USC recruiting one of the better offensive line classes in the Pac-12, if not nation for 2017.
Trojans new offensive line coach Neil Callaway has garnered good reviews from recruits, but Clay Helton may be the biggest draw for the majority of offensive linemen interested in USC. The Trojans are expected to sign four-to-five offensive linemen in 2017 after taking three in 2016.
“I don’t think he happens to relate better with offensive linemen than other coaches, I just think that he’s elating well with the particular type of player they’re recruiting,” said Biggins. “Brett, Andrew, and you could even say Wyatt Davis, are all intellectual 4.0 GPA types guys.
“I think that’s Helton. He’s smart, well spoken, talks about vision and talks about what he wants USC to be on and off the field. Brett Neilon basically said that USC wants to be Stanford, but with a social life.
“They want to be everything Stanford is, but have a social scene. Neilon even said he probably wouldn’t have fit in at Stanford. Without saying it, I kind of got the same from Andrew. Helton wants to bring in high-integrity guys who are good enough in football to win national titles with.
“I don’t think Helton is going to do as well with the more typical offensive linemen who is more of a grunt. Helton connects well with those kids who are serious about academics and the families that want to know about the alumni connections of the school.”