The Ten of Troy is intended to uniquely rank 10 of the most talked about uncommitted players on USC's recruiting board. Selections are based on interest, need and buzz. Throughout the recruiting process, prospects create a swirl of attention due to on-field performances, visits or interviews. To set the scene of this evolving recruiting zeitgeist, The Ten of Troy ranks each story line accordingly.
Created by Gerard
Martinez | USCFootball.com
1. Austin Jackson | | Offensive Tackle | Phoenix (Ariz.)
Defensive tackle Marvin Wilson gets the nod as the prospect with the most buzz among Trojan fans, but with Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler both graduating, the need at offensive tackle is just as great. Austin Jackson is a much more low key recruits than Wilson having skipped the entire camp circuit last spring. Jackson is also not a fan of the recruiting process in general and has largely avoided the national hype other prospects embrace. More of regionally known name than a national one, Trojan fans still see a franchise level left tackle and a must-get in this class. A five-star regional recruit at a need position with family ties to the university? That’s the trifecta for a must-get. The only caveat is that 2017 is a very good year for offensive linemen,. Even if USC were to somehow whiff on Jackson, they would still probably end up with a good offensive line class. Signing Jackson puts it right up there with the 2014 and 2008 offensive line classes USC signed.
Primary Recruiters: Neil Callaway | Tommie Robinson
2. Marvin Wilson | | Defensive Tackle | Bellaire (Texas.)
At present date, schools like LSU, Texas A&M and Alabama are thought to have a better shot at landing Marvin Wilson than USC, but that hasn’t stopped Trojan fans from frothing at the mouth in anticipation for his official visit in January. USC needs a centerpiece defensive tackle to build around in the 2017 class. USC will take four to five defensive linemen this cycle, but very few of those prospects will be difference makers next season. Wilson has been a marquee name with recruitniks for the better part of two years, so his recruitment has plenty of buzz. However, he still has to be considered a moderate long shot to end up at USC, and this is The Ten Of Troy, not a USC fan wishlist.
Primary Recruiter: Kenechi Udeze
3. Darnay Holmes | | Cornerback | Calabasas (Calif.)
While USC head coach Clay Helton has made a point to emphasis linemen recruiting, the hottest name on the Trojans’ recruiting board right now is cornerback Darnay Holmes. After visiting USC last week with his family, Holmes entertained his final round of in-home visits this past weekend. Ohio State, USC and UCLA are Holmes’ finals choice and he will make a college commitment Jan. 7 at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Indicative of the Trojans turnaround this season, Holmes was a recruit that was almost completely off the radar for USC fans last spring. Now the Trojans are in a position to potentially steal Holmes away from long time favorite UCLA. It is one of the few battles USC is in with UCLA for a recruit this cycle. Couple the fact that Holmes would be filling the void left by Adoree Jackson for USC and Trojans fans see this as one of the first recruiting storylines which could prelude an epic run to signing day.
Primary Recruiters: Keary Colbert | Gavin Morris | Ronnie Bradford
4. Bubba Bolden | | Safety | Las Vegas (Nev.)
Bubba Bolden was committed to USC last spring, but a communication break down with the coaching staff led to a de-commitment. Since then, Colorado, Arizona State, UCLA and Ohio State have all made runs at the four-star safety. Last week Bolden announced that he had narrowed his options down to two schools. He will officially visit USC Jan. 14 and make his final decision on a college shortly after. With Leon McQuay graduating and whispers of transfers abound at the safety position, Bolden is by far the highest rated safety on the Trojans recruiting board. He could easily solidify himself as a five-star prospect at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He grew up a USC fan and always dreamed of playing for the Trojans. He was the first player to commit to USC after Clay Helton was announced as full time head coach. Bolden’s recruitment is somewhat emblematic of where the 2017 was and where it is going.
Primary Recruiters: Clancy Pendergast | Gavin Morris
5. Jay Tufele | | Defensive Tackle | South Jordan (Utah)
Defensive tackle Jay Tufele may be the best player available at his position in a year light on college-ready prospects. For most of his recruitment, USC has been on the outside looking in on Tufele’s three favorite schools. However, as the process wears on, the Trojans are making a push to be in his top two with Utah. In addition to the Utes, Michigan and Ohio State are the schools USC is battling for Tufele’s interest. He will officially visit USC in January, which will be his first time on campus. Seeing that the Trojans are making a late surge without having had a lot on in person contact with him, there is optimism that Tufele’s official visit could have a substantial impact on his recruitment.
Primary Recruiters: Kenechi Udeze | Johnny Nansen
6. Joseph Lewis | | Wide Receiver | Los Angeles (Calif.)
Joseph Lewis is the most local of local five-star recruits for USC. While the Trojans signed five wide receivers last cycle, Lewis may be better than all of the players in that class and this class. The potential vacancy left by Juju Smith provides Lewis the opportunity to be an immediate impact player at USC, which Trojan fan are all too eager to point out. Nebraska is the greatest threat to pluck Lewis out of Southern California. There are two factors working against USC in landing Lewis. One, his confidence in supplanting last year’s freshman class on the depth chart. Two, the push by other Pac-12 schools to get Lewis out of the conference. If they can't land him, they don’t want to have to play against him at USC.
Primary Recruiters: Tee Martin | Gavin Morris
7. Levi Jones | | Linebacker | Austin (Texas)
If USC loses out of Layton (Utah) four-star athlete Tayler Katoa Wednesday, the recruitment of Levi Jones becomes crucial. While there is talk that USC four-star linebacker commit Juliano Falaniko could play inside linebacker, the Trojans have very few good options in the way of immediate contributors lined up in this class. Quinton Powell and Michael Hutchings both graduate and Cameron Smith will be a junior next season. That leaves Jordan Iosefa and John Houston to hold down the MIKE and SAM linebackers spot looking ahead. Jones himself only weighs in at 215-pounds, so even he will take some time to develop physically before he can contribute. But better to start the development cycle with talented players than not.
Primary Recruiter: Tommie Robinson | Johnny Nansen
8. Greg Johnson | | Athlete | Los Angeles (Calif.)
Greg Johnson is partly making headlines with USC fans because his younger brother, Marcus, committed to the Trojans last weekend on an unofficial visit. That news will have a positive impact on USC recruiting Greg, who was on an official visit to Notre Dame when Marcus committed. USC has primarily recruited Johnson as a cornerback, which has been his position of preference. However, he could also play running back or safety in college. Johnson is a versatile local talent that USC clearly wants in their program. And while his recruitment isn’t directly linked with Joseph Lewis, they are teammates and it wouldn't hurt USC have another asset working in their favor recruiting Hawkins High School as a whole.
Primary Recruiters: Tee Martin | Gavin Morris
9. Tayler Katoa | | Linebacker | Layton (Utah)
Tayler Katoa will announce his college commitment Wednesday. Most sources have him choosing between USC and Utah. Katoa officially visited Utah last weekend and USC Nov. 26. Last season was his first playing inside linebacker, the position the Trojans are recruiting him at. Before playing inside linebacker, Katoa, 6-foot-2, 225-pounds, played quarterback and defensive end. With the recruiting dead period now in effect, USC must sit back and await Katoa’s decision. USC was his childhood favorite and it’s clear that Daniel Green’s exit from the Trojans 2017 class was made with Katoa’s potential commitment in mind. In a perfect world for USC fans, the Trojans get Katoa enrolled next month and have Levi Jones on campus in June. That appears to be plan A.
Primary Recruiter: Johnny Nansen
10. Deommodore Lenoir | | Cornerback | Los Angeles (Calif.)
Lenoir, who de-commit from Oregon last week, has set an official visit to USC for Jan. 24. Lenoir originally said he would officially visit USC Jan. 20, but canceled those plans to visit Nebraska that weekend instead. While USC offered Lenoir a scholarship last spring, the Trojans cooled on him soon after. USC contacted Lenoir after his de-commitment from Oregon, but it remains to be seen how hard they pursue him going forward. If Darnay Holmes commits to the Trojans, there’s a possibility Lenoir never takes that trip to USC. Holmes, Greg Johnson and Pasadena (Calif.) four-star cornerback Elijah Blades all appear to be the more coveted prospects right now. That is unless USC views Lenoir as a potential safety prospect.
Primary Recruiters: Gavin Morris | Ronnie Bradford