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Early national signing day 2020 tracker: Who’s joining USC and UCLA?

A Washington State football player walks in the tunnel area at the Coliseum during a game against USC.
A Washington State football player walks in the tunnel area at the Coliseum during a game against USC in Sept. 2018. The early national signing period for the 2021 recruiting class begins Wednesday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant hurdles for college football programs trying to deploy traditional recruiting efforts, but that’s not stopping many of the nation’s top high school football players from signing national letters of intent Wednesday with the opening of the early signing period.

For many universities, including USC and UCLA, 2021 prospect class evaluations have been made almost entirely from video. Many of the recruits haven’t played this season because of regional coronavirus restrictions. In-person interviews with prospects and meet-and-greets with parents often have been replaced by meetings over Zoom and FaceTime.

USC beat writer Ryan Kartje and UCLA beat writer Ben Bolch take a closer look at the challenges both programs have been facing:

Here are the players who have signed with USC and UCLA on Wednesday. The list will be updated as USC and UCLA announce each signing.

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UCLA: Isaiah Newcombe — Athlete; Casteel High School; Queen Creek, Ariz.

UCLA: Tyler Kiehne — Defensive end; Los Lunas High School; Los Lunas, N.M.

USC: Jay Toia — Defensive tackle; Grace Brethren High School; Simi Valley

USC: Jaxson Dart — Quarterback; Corner Canyon High School; Draper, Utah

Until this fall, Jaxson Dart was a complete unknown on the recruiting trail. As of September, the Utah quarterback had no Power Five offers. He wasn’t even ranked by 247Sports composite rankings until October.

But two months later, a meteoric recruiting rise has led Dart to USC, where on Wednesday he became the second four-star quarterback to sign with the Trojans on the first day of the early signing period.

“In the end, there was only one place my heart was telling me to go,” Dart said on ESPN2, before a curtain dropped behind him revealing a USC backdrop.

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UCLA: Ezavier Staples — Wide receiver; Millikan High School; Long Beach

UCLA: Keontez Lewis — Wide receiver; East St. Louis High School; East St. Louis, Ill.

USC: Calen Bullock — Athlete; Muir High School; Pasadena

UCLA: Quintin Somerville — Defensive end; Saguaro High School; Scottsdale, Ariz.

USC: Anthony Beavers Jr. — Safety; Narbonne High School; Harbor City

USC: Miller Moss — Quarterback; Bishop Alemany High School; Mission Hills

USC: Xamarion Gordon — Safety; Warren High School; Downey

UCLA: Kajiya Hollawayne — Quarterback; San Jacinto High School; San Jacinto

USC: Jaylin Smith — Athlete/Returner; Bishop Alemany High School; Mission Hills

USC: Prophet Brown — Running back; Monterey Trail High School; Elk Grove, Calif.

UCLA: DJ Justice — Wide receiver; Bishop Alemany High School; Mission Hills

USC: Mason Murphy — Offensive tackle; J Serra High School; San Juan Capistrano

UCLA: Thomas Cole — Offensive tackle; San Luis Obispo High School; San Luis Obispo, Calif.

USC: Julien Simon — Outside linebacker; Lincoln High School; Tacoma, Wash.

UCLA: Garrett DiGiorgio — Offensive tackle; Serrano High School; Phelan

USC: Michael Jackson III — Wide receiver; Desert Pines High School; Las Vegas

UCLA: Noah Pulealii — Guard; Palma High School; Salinas, Calif.

UCLA: Benjamin Roy — Center; Liberty High School; Henderson, Nev.

USC: Maximus Gibbs — Guard; St. John Bosco; Bellflower

UCLA: Josh Moore — Safety; Marist School; Atlanta

USC: Kyron Ware-Hudson — Wide receiver; Mater Dei; Santa Ana

UCLA: AJ Campbell — Defensive end; Copley High School; Akron, Ohio

USC: Colin Mobley — Defensive end; DeMatha Catholic High School; Hyattsville, Md.

USC: Michael Trigg — Tight end; Carrollwood Day High School; Tampa, Fla.

USC: Ty Buchanan — Offensive tackle; Calallen High School; Corpus Christi, Texas

USC: Joseph Manjack — Wide receiver; Memorial High School; Tomball, Texas

USC: Brandon Campbell — Running back; Katy High School; Katy, Texas

UCLA: Christian Burkhalter — Defensive end; Spanish Fort High School; Spanish Fort, Ala.

UCLA: Devin Kirkwood — Defensive back; Junipero Serra; Gardena

Mission Viejo High School has several players who are signing Wednesday with programs across the nation:


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