To say USC has had quite an abnormal day on signing day would be a tremendous understatement. Just two recruiting cycles after signing the Pac-12’s top recruiting class following a victory in the Rose Bowl, the Trojans are lining up at the other end of the Pac-12 recruiting spectrum today. The Trojans have a recruiting class that is ranked 12th in the Pac-12 with just 11 commitments locked in for the Class of 2020.
According to the composite team rankings compiled by 247 Sports, USC’s recruiting class ranks 12th in the 12-team Pac-12 and 78th in the nation as of the time of this posting. That pits the Trojans one spot behind Bowling Green and one spot ahead of Louisiana. To be fair to USC, that is still a couple of spots higher than Missouri and Arkansas of the SEC, but those two programs are going through coaching changes. That, of course, is quite a different story for USC, where Clay Helton has been retained by a new Athletics Director.
The ongoing questions about Helton’s future may have doomed much of USC’s recruiting efforts months ago. The ongoing questioning of whether or not Helton would even be USC’s head coach put the Trojans on shaky ground compared to any number of college football programs attempting to recruit the same kind of talent USC was hoping to land. That includes talent from within the state of California.
Wednesday really drove home the idea that USC can no longer just expect to sign some of the top recruits in its state, as the state’s top six recruits all chose to go out of state to Oregon, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State. USC’s highest-rated recruit as of this post was four-star offensive guard Jonah Monheim, the 26th top recruit from California. USC has focused the bulk of this current class on the line of scrimmage with nine of its current commitments playing either offensive or defensive line. One other commitment is from a kicker. USC was hoping to get some late additions at some other positions, but the Trojans have not had much luck in that area.
It is worth a reminder that there will be some years when some schools will sign smaller classes compared to other seasons, but even this recruiting class is a stunner for USC, a top 25 team at the end of the 2019 regular season. The Trojans can fill in some gaps with transfers and additional recruits later in the recruiting cycle that will wrap up in February. Otherwise, the pressure for Helton will continue to escalate in 2020 following one of the more disappointing overall recruiting classes signed by USC.
After one of his Kansas football assistants left and created a hole in his staff, Les Miles moved quickly to fill it.
Last week, Tony Hull exited the Kansas football program. Tuesday, it was confirmed that Hull had taken a job at Hawaii. That hiring completed Todd Graham‘s first coaching staff at the Mountain West Conference school, incidentally.
The same day Hull’s Hawaii hiring was announced, Kansas football confirmed that his replacement, Jonathan Wallace, was been hired. The former Auburn quarterback/wide receiver will coach KU’s running backs. The Alabama native will also serve as special teams coordinator.
“Jonathan is a detail-oriented coach, who is also a dynamic recruiter,” the Kansas football head coach said in a statement. “He has experience with a championship-caliber football program as both a player and a coach and knows the intricacies of the offensive scheme we want to run. Additionally, he has a strong understanding of what we want to accomplish in all phases of the kicking game.”
In 2019, Wallace was the tight ends coach at Air Force. That was his first on-field job at the FBS level.
The year before that, Wallace was on the coaching staff at NAIA Bethel as wide receivers coach. That program’s head coach? Current Jayhawks offensive current Brent Dearmon.
Wallace began his coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant coach at Auburn from 2016-17. He worked with quarterbacks and wide receivers during the 2017 season.
During Wallace’s time as an Auburn football player (2012-15), Miles was the head coach at SEC West rival LSU.
Concern over his long-term health has prompted one Baylor football player to step away from the sport. Permanently.
On his personal Twitter account Tuesday, Bralen Taylor announced in a statement that he is “medically retiring from the game I love.” The wide receiver-turned-tight-end-turned-defensive end stated that he has “suffered from a number of concussions while playing” football. Taylor didn’t specify when and at what level those concussions occurred.
“This is the game that I grew up playing and loving. [T]his game has [given] me everything I have ever asked for and more,” Taylor wrote. “The brain is nothing to mess around with. [W]hile some won’t understand, [God] has already made a plan.”
Taylor was a three-star member of the Baylor football Class of 2018. He was rated as the No. 90 player regardless of position in the state of Texas.
During his brief time in Waco, Taylor played in six games. Four of those appearances came this past season. In that limited action, he was credited with three tackles and one-half of a sack.
Baylor football has gone from 1-11 in Matt Rhule‘s first season with the Bears in 2017 to 11-3 this past season. The 2019 campaign included a berth in both the Big 12 championship game and the Sugar Bowl.
Unfortunately for BU, Rhule left to take the head job with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.
The massive renovation of Clay Helton’s USC football coaching staff has taken another official step.
Last week, it was reported that USC was expected to poach Vic So’oto from Virginia. As Clint Sintim‘s hiring as So’oto’s replacement was announced a few days later, the latter’s move to the Trojans was a mere formality.
Tuesday, USC football confirmed So’oto’s addition to Clay Helton’s staff. As he did with the ‘Hoos, So’oto will serve as the Trojans’ defensive line coach.
The 32-year-old So’oto was the line coach at Virginia for the past three seasons. Prior to that, he was a defensive graduate assistant at the ACC program.
So’oto played his college football at BYU, ending his four-year career in 2010. After his NFL career ended, So’oto began his collegiate coaching career as a football intern at his alma mater.
For those unaware, So’oto is the second cousin of USC football legend Junior Seau.
LSU football has officially replaced one of the hottest young coaches in the sport.
Not long after LSU football claimed the 2019 national championship, Joe Brady left to take over as the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Earlier this month, it was reported that Scott Linehan was expected to be hired as Brady’s successor.
Tuesday, LSU confirmed that Linehan has indeed been named by Ed Orgeron as the Tigers’ new passing-game coordinator. The 56-year-old Linehan has spent the past 17 seasons he’s been a coach at the NFL level.
Linehan was out of coaching this past season.
“Scott brings a wealth of knowledge to our offense,” the LSU football head coach said in a statement. “We wanted to bring in someone who will expand our passing game and with Scott’s experience as an NFL head coach and offensive coordinator we feel this is the best move for our offense. After talking to numerous people with NFL experience and interviewing Scott we knew he was the right fit for the LSU Tigers.”
In 13 of those seasons in the NFL, Linehan served as an offensive coordinator.
- Dallas Cowboys, 2015-18
- Detroit Lions, 2009-13
- Miami Dolphins, 2005
- Minnesota Vikings, 2002-04
In the other four NFL seasons in which he wasn’t a coordinator, Linehan was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2006-08) and passing-game coordinator for the Cowboys (2014).
Linehan’s last job at the collegiate level came as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Louisville (1999-2001). From 1996-98, he was the coordinator at Washington.