Second lineman de-commits from USC after it’s announced Clay Helton will remain as coach

St. Margaret's lineman Kyle Juergens goes through drills during USC's Elite Camp on June 12.
(Shotgun Spratling / Los Angeles Times)

Kyle Juergens said he “had an instinct” that Clay Helton would be returning as USC’s coach. He was “really psyched about it … happy that I get to work with him next year and couldn’t be more happy to be a Trojan,” Juergens said on Thursday.

But just a few days later, Juergens’ mind had been changed. The two-way lineman from St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano announced on Twitter on Sunday night that he was renouncing his verbal pledge to the Trojans.

On Wednesday, athletic director Mike Bohn announced that Helton will continue as the Trojans’ head coach.


“After much prayerful thought and discussion with my family, coaches and mentors, I have decided to re-open my recruitment and de-commit from USC,” Juergens wrote.

He became the second lineman to de-commit from USC in three days. Offensive lineman Joey Wright of Bishop Manogue High in Reno announced he was exiting the Trojans’ 2020 recruiting class on Friday, writing that “USC is something in the past.”

The loss of the two dropped the Trojans’ class ranking from No. 71 to No. 86 with the opening of the early signing period on Dec. 18 fast approaching. All is not lost for the Trojans as 247Sports national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins and Rivals national recruiting director Mike Farrell both believe the class ranking will greatly improve, possibly even moving into the top 25 when the Trojans fill out their class.

While Juergens’ de-commitment seems surprising based on his comments, there were also signs there could be a change in his status. USC’s coaching staff had not visited with Juergens since the all-important contact period began on Dec. 1. During the 14-day contact period, coaches are permitted to make in-person, off-campus contact, often stopping by potential prospects’ schools and homes to have sit-down conversations with a player and his family.

The head coach is allowed only one in-home visit with a prospect and his family, so it was notable that Helton had taken in-home visits with local commits Joshua Jackson Jr. of Harbor City Narbonne and Kobe Pepe of Bellflower St. John Bosco on the first two days of the contact period but USC had not visited Juergens.

Juergens also had not taken and had not scheduled his official visit to USC. He plans to skip the early period and sign in February when a second signing period begins. Juergens still has time to assess his situation and determine what school he will attend. He has also been offered scholarship opportunities by Arizona State, Brigham Young, Nevada, Nevada-Las Vegas, Northern Arizona, San Diego State and San Jose State.