In one January week, USC made it known that it was going to try to be a player for the top talent in Florida in the 2017 recruiting cycle. The Trojans tossed out eight offers to Florida high school juniors, including three to Jacksonville (Calif.) Trinity Christian Academy players.
It didn’t matter that Shaun Wade was committed to Ohio State and D.J. Matthews had been a long time Florida State commit. USC was going hard after the Sunshine State’s top talent. The third member of the TCA trio, Derrick Smith, nearly committed on the spot before changing his mind and deciding to hold off on a pledge.
“I know Shaun and Derrick have big interest in USC. I have big interest in USC as well,” Matthews said.
Wade came out to visit for a spring practice and Smith was one of the names to watch at the Rising Stars Camp. But Matthews didn’t make it out for an unofficial visit this offseason.
“The communication was there for a minute, but then it veered off. I don’t know what the relationship is right now.”
Matthews has been committed to Florida State for nearly two years now and he seems content to hold steady with the ‘Noles.
“I’m done looking at schools. I’m shutting my recruitment down this weekend. I fit in the system and I didn’t commit to a coach, I committed to the school.”
But the dynamic 5-foot-11, 160-pound four-star receiver left one nugget of hope for Trojan fans when talking about his overall interest in USC, who was the one Pac-12 school he considered when trimming down his list of potential schools.
“I like that their players are going to the league,” Matthews said. “USC has put receivers in the league. They produce a lot of players, so the interest could pick up a lot.”
A little love in recruiting can go a long way, even on the opposite side of the country.
USC recruiting analyst Gerard Martinez contributed to this report.