Uncertainty looms around USC’s 2016 recruiting class with a week until signing day on Feb. 3.
But this much we know.
Five of USC’s 25 allotted scholarships for the 2016 class were awarded to blue-shirt recruits Clayton Johnston, Deontay Burnett, Chris Tilbey, Daniel Imatorbhebhe and Taylor McNamara after the first day of training camp last fall.
There are seven players who committed to USC and since have enrolled in spring semester courses, which makes them available to participate in spring practices: Quarterback Matt Fink, offensive lineman Nathan Smith, receivers Josh Imatorbhebhe and Michael Pittman, defensive back C.J. Pollard and defensive linemen Oluwole Betiku and Liam Jimmons.
Six other players have made verbal commitments and are expected to make their intention to play at USC official on signing day: Offensive lineman Frank Martin, tight end Cary Angeline, linebacker Jordan Iosefa and receivers Velus Jones, Trevon Sidney and Tyler Vaughns.
That leaves USC with seven available scholarships, and defensive linemen seem to be a priority to fill several of those spots.
Jonathan Kongbo III from Arizona Western College in Yuma, Ariz., Rashan Gary from Paramus Catholic in New Jersey, Connor Murphy from Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix, Maxs Tupai from Murray, Utah, and Leki Fotu from Herriman, Utah, made official visits to campus this month.
Kongbo, 6-feet-6 and 265 pounds, is the nation’s top-rated junior college player and also has made official visits to Mississippi, Oregon State and Tennessee, where he was once committed.
Gary is the consensus top-rated high school player in the 2016 class. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound tackle also has visited Michigan, Mississippi and Auburn.
The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Murphy has narrowed his list of offers to Alabama, Arizona State, Michigan, Oregon and USC. The only school among the five he did not schedule an official visit to was Arizona State, and he will end the month with a trip to Alabama.
Tupai, 6-feet-2 and 250 pounds, made a trip to Oregon State last month and will make a visit to Oklahoma next weekend.
Fotu, 6-feet-5 and 255 pounds, made a commitment to Utah in September but also has visited BYU.
This weekend, USC is scheduled to host tight end Devin Asiasi and Boss Tagaloa from De La Salle on official visits.
Asiasi and Tagaloa made a trip to Michigan last weekend and also visited UCLA and Washington together.
USC made a habit the last two years of picking up signing day commitments from standout players at Long Beach Poly and Gardena Serra and could be on track to continue the trend this year.
Poly defensive back Jack Jones named Alabama, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, UCLA and USC as his top five schools last month.
Serra defensive back Brandon Burton was set to make a commitment earlier this month, with UCLA seemingly the favorite, but pushed his decision back when he was offered by USC’s new staff.
Burton will make an official visit to UCLA this weekend. He did not make an official trip to USC.