Class of 2023: USC Trojans

First year head coach Lincoln Riley finished his first year in Southern California at 11-2 with an appearance in the PAC-12 championship game. The Trojans will face off against Tulane in the Cotton Bowl on January 2nd.

After a chaotic Monday, USC now has the No. 1 class in the PAC-12 and No. 12 overall in the country per 247Sports.

The Trojans have 20 verbal commits ahead of the early signing period from a combined 8 different states. The feeling is that there probably won’t be too many fireworks compared to some other teams around the country, however let’s take a quick glance at USC’s top commits and one 5-star who could end up choosing to stay in SoCal.

Note: All individual player rankings, star ratings, class rankings, etc. will be based on the 247Sports composite rankings.

Los Alamitos (Calif.) Los Alamitos five-star quarterback Malachi Nelson flipped his commitment from Oklahoma and followed Lincoln Riley almost immediately after he accepted the head coach job at USC.

Nelson will have a great opportunity to come in as a freshman, take full advantage of a redshirt season as the backup to Caleb Williams, and be able to learn the quarterback position from some of the best teachers in college football.

Nelson is the No. 3 prospect in the 2023 class, No. 2 quarterback in the country, and No. 1 player in the state of California.

Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman five-star wide receiver Zachariah Branch is one of the fastest prospects in the country with elite track speed and has proven time and time again that he’s an incredible receiver.

Branch didn’t publicly commit to USC immediately after Lincoln Riley’s arrival, but it didn’t take long. Choosing the Trojans over offers from Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Texas, and plenty others didn’t come as a huge surprise as his older brother, Zion, just finished his freshmen season at USC.

Branch is the No. 5 prospect in the 2023 class, No. 1 wide receiver in the country, and No. 1 player in the state of Nevada.

Los Alamitos (Calif.) Los Alamitos five-star wide receiver Makai Lemon is another player who almost immediately flipped his commitment from Oklahoma to USC following the bombshell news that Lincoln Riley dropped in college football last year.

Lemon and Nelson have had plenty of time to develop their chemistry during their time in high school together and will be able to click on the field together in the Coliseum. Lemon will also be able to learn from an abundance of experienced receivers at USC and perfect his craft during his freshman year.

Lemon is the No. 34 prospect in the 2023 class, No. 5 wide receiver in the country, and No. 5 player in the state of California.

USC was one of the best when it came to transfer portal recruiting last year and in 2022 they’re off to a fast start again with 6 commitments so far.

The top remaining target for USC who is expected to come off the board this week is Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco five-star EDGE Matayo Uiagalelei who is down to a final three of Ohio State, Oregon and the Trojans. It’s been reported that the allure of staying close to home is playing a part in this recruitment, but definitely don’t count out the Ducks or Buckeyes in the very end.

Trojan fans should absolutely be excited about the program’s trajectory when it comes to recruiting both high school prospects and transfer portal targets as the idea of playing in Southern California and in the BIG 10 is excellent sales pitch.

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