USC mailbag: Getting ready for signing day

USC mailbag: Getting ready for signing day
Oaks Christian wide receiver Michael Pittman catches the first of his five touchdown passes against Bishop Amat on Nov. 21. (Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

USC will sign its 2016 recruiting class on Wednesday -- and it will either lend fans a few surprises or perhaps result in disappointment.

With 13 committed players, the class ranks 24th in the country, according to Scout and there are seven scholarships still available.


Last year, USC finished with a top-rated class.

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How much of the makeup of this recruiting class was decided by Sarkisian versus Helton? Seems like too many skill players.

— James Meiners, @JimboMeiners

USC has 13 committed players and 12 of them announced their decision when Steve Sarkisian was still coach.

Defensive lineman Oluwole Betiku from Gardena Serra is the only recruit who has committed since Clay Helton took over in September.

Of the 13 players committed, the position breakdown looks like this: One quarterback, tight end, linebacker and defensive back, two offensive and defensive linemen and five receivers.

There are still seven scholarships that can be claimed Wednesday on signing day.

Will USC fill all remaining seven spots on Wednesday?

— Brian @scfan37

It seems unlikely, unless there are a few players who have been told by coaches that they can commit if there is room available at the end of signing day.

USC is in good position for Long Beach Poly defensive back Jack Jones, but other than Jones, it seems to be anyone's guess who will sign.

Among the top targets are defensive linemen Jonathan Kongbo III from Arizona Western, Rashan Gary from Paramus Catholic in New Jersey, Connor Murphy from Brophy Preparatory in Phoenix, Maxs Tupai from Murray, Utah and Boss Tagaloa from Concord De La Salle, defensive backs Brandon Burton from Gardena Serra and Jamel Cook from Miami Central and tight end Devin Asiasi from De La Salle.

Any steam on a potential "shock" signing from out of state on Wednesday? It seems like we have gained ground on a few guys.


— David Shottenkirk, @Shotty1717

Nothing in recruiting shocks me anymore.

USC seems to be in decent position to sign defensive linemen Jonathan Kongbo III from Arizona Western and Connor Murphy from Brophy Preparatory. Both Kongbo and Murphy made official visits to USC and have hosted coaches for in-home visits.

Perhaps there could be a surprise, or two, from Florida, which has been a recruiting trend the last few years at USC.

Defensive back Jamel Cook from Miami Central and receiver Keyshawn Young from Miami Senior made official visits last weekend. However, at this point in their recruitments, those visits seem more weekend vacations rather than business trips.

Cook is a longtime Florida State commit and Young would likely have to play defensive back at USC.

Is Michael Pittman Jr. going to contribute early?

— @IHaveNoPlanB

Probably not.

Michael Pittman Jr., a receiver from Westlake Village Oaks Christian, committed to USC's 2016 recruiting class and enrolled spring semester courses in January.

Pittman, 6 feet 4 and 210 pounds, will get a jump start on the playbook and will begin to make the transition from high school to college football during spring practice — however, it will be a deep competition at receiver.

Starters JuJu Smith-Schuster and Darreus Rogers return, along with Adoree' Jackson, Steven Mitchell Jr., Isaac Whitney, De'Quan Hampton, Jalen Greene and Deontay Burnett. Ajene Harris was sidelined last season after he underwent hip surgery, but should be returning.

The Trojans also add Josh Imatorbhebhe, who has enrolled in spring courses, from the 2016 recruiting class and are expected to sign Tyler Vaughns and Trevon Sidney from La Puente Bishop Amat and Velus Jones from Saraland, Ala., on Wednesday.