The hats have been selected. The ink has dried. The ceremonies are over. Class of 2020, you’re on the clock.
The recruitment of the 2019 high school football class is all but done with the first Wednesday of February — national signing day — in the books. It’s time for college coaches to fully turn their attention toward the next recruiting class. The 2020 cycle begins in earnest Thursday.
Impact players like Bellflower St. John Bosco quarterback DJ Uiagalelei and Santa Ana Mater Dei quarterback Bryce Young may have watched their teammates sign Wednesday or during the early signing period in December. The next time their schools break out the ceremony stage to sign national letters of intent, they will have all eyes on them.
The Trinity League quarterbacks are the No. 1- and No. 2-ranked quarterbacks in the 2020 class and two of the most coveted prospects in the nation. Young has committed to USC while Uiagalelei has offers from nearly every major school, including national championship participants Clemson and Alabama.
They aren’t alone. The Southland is full of talented prospects who are receiving recruiting pitches from all over the nation. Twenty-two of the top 200 prospects, per the 247Sports composite rankings, call California home. Eighteen are from Southern California.
Three Southland players enter the spring of their junior year ranked in the top 10 nationally. Upland linebacker Justin Flowe is the No. 3 overall player, Uiagalelei is No. 7 and Mater Dei cornerback Elias Ricks is No. 9. They will each try to push their way to the top of the composite rankings to become the fifth California prospect to be No. 1 in the nation in the 21 years the 247Sports rankings span. Georgia (three) is the only other state with more than two No. 1 national players. California has produced more No. 1 overall prospects than years without a player ranked in the top 10, which occurred in the 2016 and 2018 classes. The No. 11 player was from California both years.
Not many surprises
The 2019 class wrapped up without much drama in the Southland, particularly when uncommitted outside linebacker Tuasivi Nomura showed up to Corona Centennial’s signing ceremony wearing a cardinal USC T-shirt and sat behind a placard that displayed the interlocked “SC” logo beside his name.
Kyle Ford, the only unsigned Southern California player ranked in the top 250 nationally, followed through with his commitment to USC. Asa Turner (Washington), Michael Martinez (UCLA), Tarik Luckett (Colorado), Don Chapman (North Carolina) and Cade Albright (Brigham Young) all did the same.
The No. 45 player in the state, Lawndale running back Jordan Wilmore, chose Utah over Arizona State and UCLA. Antelope Valley’s Jamaal Bell chose Nevada. Darren Jones and Jordan Patterson did not sign but will be working on their academic standing so they may be able to join a program as early as the summer.
A couple of players just outside of the top 100 players in California also made their decisions. Sherman Oaks Notre Dame’s McKel Broussard signed with Texas El Paso. Mission Viejo playmaker Akili Arnold signed with Oregon State after recently decommitting from Utah State. Orange Lutheran receiver JoJo Hawkins signed with Princeton.