<
>

USC recruiting weekend visits

With the Clay Helton era now formally underway at USC, the Trojans are set to host their first big crop of Class of 2016 official visitors this weekend. Comprised entirely of projected mid-year enrollees, it’s an impressive collection of talent, with five prospects currently committed to USC included, as well as two other players that the Trojans would love to add to the fold.

Of course, there’s always a chance that one or two more surprise targets could be added to the list at the last second, but here is a look at all seven of the confirmed visitors as it stands now.

DE Oluwole Betiku (Gardena, Calif./Serra)

6-foot-4, 246 pounds

Uncommitted

No. 21 in the ESPN 300 (No. 4 DE)

Betiku is a phenomenal talent with tremendous physical tools. Having de-committed from UCLA in October, he’s been in close contact with Helton and Co. in recent weeks, and the Trojans appear to be gaining some real momentum in his recruitment. There is no defensive line coach currently in place for the Trojans right now, so that will likely be a big topic of discussion, but the news of Helton’s hiring has had a positive effect on Betiku, and with so many former Serra stars already at USC, he has a high comfort-level with the school. Florida State, Texas A&M and Notre Dame appear to be the Trojans’ main competition.

QB Matt Fink (Glendora, Calif./Glendora)

6-3, 185

USC verbal commit

No. 44 in the ESPN 300 (No. 3 QB–Dual-threat)

Fink committed to the Trojans this past June after receiving an offer from former Head Coach Steve Sarkisian earlier in the spring. Holding a close relationship with Helton, he was thrilled to hear that he was hired on as the full-time head coach. A dual-threat passer who is known for his athleticism and playmaking ability, Fink is considered to be somewhat raw at this point, with a very high ceiling.

DL Liam Jimmons (Huntington Beach, Calif./Huntington Beach)

6-4, 250

USC verbal commit

Jimmons earned an offer from the Trojans immediately following a standout showing at the Lineman Camp at USC this past summer, and he committed one day later. Possessing the frame to add more weight, he likely projects to defensive end for the Trojans. Choosing USC more for its academic reputation and proximity to home than anything else, Jimmons has never wavered in his commitment to the Trojans.

WR Michael Pittman (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian)

6-4, 205

Has signed financial-aid papers with USC

No. 289 in the ESPN 300 (No. 50 WR)

A former UCLA pledge who de-committed and flipped to the Trojans in July, Pittman was among Helton’s most vocal supporters leading up to his hiring. Throw in the fact that his future position coach, Tee Martin, was retained, and it’s safe to say that he’s 100 percent solid with the Trojans. A tall target with big-play ability and soft hands to boot, he’ll bring a unique set of skills to the USC wide receiver corps.

S C.J. Pollard (Gardena, Calif./Serra)

6-1, 183

Has signed financial-aid papers with USC

No. 270 in the ESPN 300 (No. 16 S)

Pollard is a rangy safety prospect who can also line up at cornerback. The Trojans are currently without a permanent defensive backs coach following the firing of Keith Heyward, but Pollard -- whose father played for the Trojans – still looks to be all USC. He did recently take an official visit to Arizona State, but that looks to have been taken for insurance purposes more than anything else.

OL Nathan Smith (Murrieta, Calif./Mesa)

6-7, 273

Has signed financial-aid papers with USC

Smith is an aggressive, physical blocker with the ideal frame for a tackle. Like Pollard, he recently took an official visit elsewhere – to Nebraska – but remains firmly committed to USC. That fact was shored up earlier this week with an in-home visit from Helton that went extremely well. The topic of USC’s vacant offensive line coaching position is sure to come up on his trip.

S/CB Troy Warner (San Marcos, Calif./Mission Hills)

6-2, 185

BYU commit

The most recent addition to this list, Warner just received an offer from USC this past Wednesday night, and he immediately scheduled an official visit. A versatile athlete with good size, he can play safety or cornerback. Warner is currently committed to BYU where his brother, Fred, plays, after having previously given a verbal pledge to Oregon earlier in the process. The new offer from the Trojans has definitely shaken things up, however, and the fact that BYU is currently without a head coach can’t be helping matters for the Cougars.