The fortunes of the USC offensive line position for the class of 2016 took a dramatic turn during the first 48 hours of the spring evaluation period with a pair of commitments from in-state prospects.
The first verbal came on Wednesday with the announcement that Nathan Smith (Murrieta, Calif./Mesa) had pledged to the Trojans.
Smith (6-foot-6, 260) brings nice height, footwork and athleticism, along with an aggressive style of play at the left tackle position. He also had an impressive offer list as he chose the Trojans over schools such as Oregon, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Miami. The next domino fell on Thursday when Frank Martin (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) scheduled an announcement time in the afternoon and then changed those plans to a morning tweet proclaiming his verbal to USC.
Martin is a familiar name to followers of recruiting in the area after being a sophomore starter for the Monarchs in 2013 with the type of ideal size (6-foot-5, 300) that is sure to attract college attention. The fact that Martin grew up a Trojans fan and did little to hide his affection for USC made him a logical choice to end up in cardinal and gold, although he was still pursued with offers by schools that included Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Michigan and Penn State.
The addition of two offensive linemen is a welcome start to the evaluation period for Steve Sarkisian and new offensive line coach Bob Connelly. The depth on the USC line is as good as it’s been in years. With eight O-line recruits brought in over the previous two years, the coaches didn’t really need to recruit for a specific position. They can simply bring in the linemen they want and figure out where to play them once they get on campus. Both Smith and Martin would seem headed to the tackle spots but you can’t rule out a look at other spots.
USC now has five verbal commitments for the Class of 2016.