Following a busy week that saw Clay Helton’s coaching staff at USC suffer key defections while also making some notable additions in defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast and defensive backs coach Ronnie Bradford, the Trojans are set to host an impressive collection of official visitors on campus this weekend.
While the list could always change between now and Friday, here’s a look at all 11 of the prospects expected to be on hand.
TE Cary Angeline (Exton, Pennsylvania/Downingtown East)
6-foot-7, 230 pounds
No. 249 in the ESPN 300 (No. 9 TE-Y)
Angeline is a big, athletic tight end who gave a verbal pledge to USC last June. He cancelled a recent official visit to Florida State and has remained a firm commit throughout the process. But with the departure of his primary recruiter, tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo, Helton and Co. will definitely be looking to ease any concerns he might have.
LB Jordan Iosefa (Honolulu, Hawaii/St. Louis)
The Trojans lost linebackers coach Peter Sirmon to Mississippi State early in the week, but Iosefa remains committed to USC and will be on campus this weekend. Returning to USC for the first time since his participation in the Rising Stars Camp, he’s a hard-hitting athlete who was being targeted as an inside linebacker by Sirmon.
WR Velus Jones (Saraland, Alabama/Saraland)
With interest from the likes of Tennessee, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Mississippi State and Michigan, there have been rumors for months that Jones might be on the verge of decommitting. But with the promotion of Tee Martin -- his primary contact at USC -- to offensive coordinator, might the Trojans hold on here? His official visit will likely play a large role in determining that.
OL Frank Martin II (Santa Ana, California/Mater Dei)
No. 198 in the ESPN 300 (No. 19 OT)
The biggest priority for Martin this weekend will be to get to know new USC offensive line coach Neil Callaway. Martin visited Texas A&M and Utah earlier in the process, but unless something unforeseen happens, he appears to be all-in with the Trojans.
ATH Trevon Sidney (La Puente, California/Bishop Amat)
No. 143 in the ESPN 300 (No. 8 ATH)
Sidney is expected to come in as a wide receiver, but he can also line up at cornerback if need be. He’s discussed the possibility of taking some more official visits down the line, but nothing has been set up in that regard, and he appears to be a solid Trojans pledge at this time.
WR Tyler Vaughns (La Puente, California/Bishop Amat)
No. 96 in the ESPN 300 (No. 13 WR)
Vaughns is an athletic, sure-handed pass-catcher who is coming off a strong U.S. Army All-American Bowl performance. He’s also scheduled to visit Alabama later this month, but says that he is still firmly committed to USC.
DT Rashan Gary (Paramus, New Jersey/Paramus Catholic)
No. 1 in the ESPN 300 (No. 1 DT)
The Trojans have a huge opportunity to make a positive impression on the nation’s top-ranked recruit in Gary. USC doesn’t have a defensive line coach on staff at this point, but Gary, who will be making the trip with his mother, has maintained steady interest in the Trojans for quite a while. He’s already visited Auburn, Michigan and Ole Miss, and he’s also still considering Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Ohio State.
DE Semisi Lauaki (Lawndale, California/Leuzinger)
Lauaki is a Utah commit who has a high comfort level with the Utes staff, but USC offered him in November and has been coming after him hard, and there is definitely some reciprocal interest. He has been to USC on a number of occasions, including for the Trojans’ recent victory over UCLA at the Coliseum.
TE Thaddeus Moss (Charlotte, North Carolina/Mallard Creek)
Moss, the son of former NFL star wide receiver Randy Moss, recently released a top 4 that included the Trojans as well as N.C. State, Texas A&M and UCLA. Another prospect whose primary recruiter was Tuiasosopo, it remains to be seen what kind of impact Tuiasosopo’s departure might have on USC’s chances here.
CB Byron Murphy (Scottsdale, Arizona/Saguaro)
No. 186 in the ESPN 300 (No. 16 CB)
Murphy is down to a final four of Arizona State, Texas A&M, USC and Washington, and will announce his decision Jan. 21. The departure of Sirmon, who played a big role in helping to set up this visit, can’t help matters for the Trojans, although Murphy has maintained significant interest in USC since his Junior Day visit over a year ago.
DE Connor Murphy (Phoenix, Arizona/Brophy Prep)
Murphy recently listed a final 5 of Alabama, Arizona State, Michigan, Oregon and USC. He’s already visited the Ducks, and he’ll also visit Alabama and Michigan later this month. With all of the coaching changes, it will be interesting to see if Helton and Pendergast can make a big enough impression this weekend to stay in the race for his services.