The transfer portal was busy on the first day of March adding names from the USC Trojans. Defensive back Greg Johnson and wide receiver Velus Jones, according to reports from Ryan Abraham of USCFootball.com, are the newest entries to the NCAA transfer portal this offseason. That brings the offseason transfer portal total up to 10 players for the Trojans at this point in time.
Johnson was a four-star recruit in USC’s Class of 2017. The Los Angeles native played in 10 games for the Trojans last fall after sitting out the 2017 season with a redshirt. In those 10 games, Johnson recorded 15 tackles and broke up three passes. He will have three years of eligibility remaining but will have to sit out the 2019 season if he lands at another FBS program. Of course, he could always try filing for a waiver to be eligible this fall too and hope the NCAA grants him immediate eligibility.
Jones was a three-star recruit in the Class of 2016. He has yet to find his role within the program though, and perhaps a change of scenery and a chance to break in with a new program will do him well. What makes this more troubling for USC is the Trojans now have seen four wide receivers enter the NCAA transfer portal, with Randal Grimes already having made his transfer to Minnesota official. And of course, this offseason was highlighted by the quick departure of early signing period commitment Bru McCoy, a five-star wide receiver, backing out of his decision to attend USC and later sign with Texas.
In all, there are at least 10 players currently showing up in the NCAA transfer portal from USC. Three players have officially moved on. A player in the transfer portal can officially make contact with other programs but is not necessarily officially gone from their current program. Players can withdraw their name from the portal at any time, as some players around the country have. We’ll have to wait and see how the rest of the players choosing to evaluate their options a bit more this offseason end up with their status at USC, but this has been quite a turbulent offseason for the Men of Troy.
After losing 5-star Bru McCoy to Texas, USC’s recruiting class — already its worst of this century — has suffered yet another late defection. This one came in a more conventional fashion, though at a less conventional time.
4-star wide receiver Puka Nacua on Sunday night announced he would renege on his commitment to USC in order to sign with Washington. Unlike 4-star wideout Koy Moore, Nacua is a member of the Class of 2019, allowing Clay Helton and company no time to change Nacua’s mind. He waited five extra days past Wednesday’s traditional Signing Day in order to make up his mind once and for all.
“Every school is a great opportunity to pursue football and continue my education, but I felt like University of Washington is the best fit for me,” Nacua said on KSL-TV on Sunday night. “I’m excited to head up to Seattle.”
The Orem, Utah, native boosts what is already viewed as the best recruiting class in Washington history. The 23-man group includes 15 4-stars and ranks No. 16 in the 247Sports Composite rankings. With the loss of Nacua, USC’s 2019 class includes two more players than Washington’s, but eight fewer 4-stars. The Trojans will finish the 2019 cycle at No. 20 nationally — again, the worst in recruiting’s modern era for the Men of Troy.
There is some good news though: this stone has finally sunk to the bottom of the creek. Probably.
Signing Day 2.0 arrives Wednesday, and USC isn’t exactly sprinting toward the finish line.
The Trojans already witnessed 5-star Bru McCoy reverse out of Heritage Hall after two weeks on campus, and now they’ve lost a player who figured to profit from his departure after 4-star wideout Koy Moore announced his decommitment.
“My relationship with USC became strained with the coaching changes,” Moore wrote in a note posted to his Twitter account. “I enjoyed my time as a #FightOn commitment, I love USC but the recruitment is not up to my expectations. I would like to re-open my recruitment.”
Looking past what exactly Moore seems to be seeking in his college experience, Moore’s announcement is a shot across the bow of Clay Helton‘s attempted salvage of his tenure as the Trojans’ head coach. Tee Martin was USC’s most effective recruiter — and Moore’s lead recruiter — though his loss was mitigated by the promise of Kliff Kingsbury. Graham Harrell simply does not have the name-recognition of the last two Trojans offensive coordinators, and Helton isn’t enough to a draw to hold together the class by himself.
Moore is a member of the class of 2020, so his recruitment won’t affect the Trojans’ immediate prospects, but it’s still a sign that USC’s pitiful 2018 season seems to have gotten worse instead of better as the calendar flipped to 2019. USC will ink the No. 18 recruiting class on Wednesday according to the 247Sports composite rankings, its worst of the modern era, and it appears the next class won’t be any kinder.
Don’t look now, but another USC wide receiver is on the move. In the same week that saw the highest-rated recruit in the Class of 2019 already choose to leave the Trojans, now receiver Trevon Sidney is looking for a new place to call home. As first reported by Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, via Twitter, Sidney has entered his name into the mystical and all-powerful NCAA transfer portal, making him eligible to explore his potential options in the transfer process.
Sidney appeared in nine games for USC in 2018 and caught seven passes for 104 yards. Playing in mostly a reserve role in the USC offense, it would seem Sidney is looking for a chance to play a more meaningful role in the fall. Sidney has two years of eligibility remaining.
Earlier this week, Class of 2019 wide receiver Bru McCoy officially moved on from USC before even taking part in a single practice. McCoy, who decided to transfer from USC following the abrupt departure of offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury (now the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals). Texas became the landing spot for the star wide receiver. All that is left to determine is if McCoy has to sit out the 2019 season or if he will be eligible to play right away this fall.
The crown jewel of USC’s 2019 recruiting class is all but officially gone.
Citing unnamed sources, Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports is reporting that Bru McCoy has signed a financial aid agreement with Texas and will, instead of for the Trojans, play his college football for the Longhorns. Per Thamel, “McCoy has been admitted into school at Texas and is preparing to begin classes in Austin next week.”
The report comes on the same day it was confirmed that McCoy had been granted a release by USC from his National Letter of Intent, which he signed in December. McCoy had been mulling a transfer from USC for weeks, with UT considered a likely option.
McCoy had already enrolled in USC and had taken classes the past two weeks prior to his decision to enter the NCAA transfer portal. Because of that, McCoy will need to seek a waiver from the NCAA that would grant him immediate eligibility this season; because of the timing of the Kliff Kingsbury departure for the NFL, it’s expected the wide receiver will gain that waiver.
McCoy is the highest-rated member of USC’s 2019 recruiting class, the only five-star prospect pulled in by Helton & Company this cycle. On 247Sports.com‘s composite board, McCoy was rated as the No. 1 athlete in the country; the No. 2 player at any position in the state of California; and the No. 9 player overall in this class.