The USC recruiting class continued to take shape last week with the commitment of three-star defensive back John Plattenburg (Houston/Lamar), reducing the number of available spots to two. Head coach Steve Sarkisian will be able to sign 19 in this class, with five of those expected to step into their first college course this week as mid-year enrollees.
Yet given limited vacancy and presence of other targets, it’s safe to assume some reshuffling is on the horizon.
New defensive line coach Bo Davis was added to the staff last week, and, while it quickly generated buzz with some Texas-based recruits, current USC commits faced more uncertainty. Three-star defensive tackle Austin Maloata (Corona, Calif./Centennial), who trails only Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra) as far as seniority in the class, said Sunday that he still considers himself a Trojan, but added he might reopen his recruitment.
ESPN 300 defensive end Malik Dorton (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) has similar plans.
“My USC visit might be on Jan. 17 or Jan. 24, but I’m still waiting to hear back,” Dorton said. “The last time I talked to one of the USC coaches, it was around Christmas. I’m lining up some options and being more open-minded. It’s tough being committed to a school for a long time and being focused on going there, but this is a business and I have to look for the best fit.”
Dorton has scheduled an official visit to Washington for the Jan. 31 weekend and will take a trip to Arizona State sometime this month. Oklahoma, where he visited Oct. 25, remains a possibility.
“The Washington coaches are coming down for an in-home visit before I take my trip up there, and Oklahoma is still an option,” Dorton said. “I spoke to the defensive line coach, Jerry Montgomery, and he told me my offer is still there and they still want me.”
Consistent with this time of year, there were rumors that three-star outside linebacker Uchenna Nwosu (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne) was another casualty of Ed Orgeron’s departure. But Sarkisian wanted the 6-foot-2, 195-pound prospect when he was at Washington, so it would be surprising to see him end up anywhere other than USC.
“I called coach Tee Martin last week and he told me the rumors were just negative recruiting,” Nwosu said. “There might be some people who claim I will never play a down at USC, but Tee told me to make sure it’s not true. If I hear anything, he wants me to call him up. Coach Sark told me I’m not going to want to take any other visits after seeing USC, which I haven’t really been able to do aside from games at the Coliseum. I’m looking forward to my official visit this weekend.”
The Trojans could have competition, though. Washington coach Chris Petersen, who aggressively recruited Nwosu at Boise State, appears to be doing the same with the Huskies.
“Washington wants me to take my visit the last weekend in January,” Nwosu said. “It’s something I have set up, but I don’t know if I’m going to take it. I have a lot of things going on that weekend, so I’m still deciding.”
Nwosu is scheduled to play in the B2G West Coast Bowl later this month in an all-star game that will also feature Jonathan Lockett (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei), Maloata and Plattenburg, among others. Maloata has been verbally committed to the Trojans since early May. Dorton pledged in August, a week before the start of the high school season.
WeAreSC recruiting roundup
The Trojans appear to have zeroed in on a top target and will at least get an opportunity to woo him this week. BYU linebacker commit Fred Warner (San Marcos, Calif./Mission Hills) scheduled an official visit to USC for this weekend, marking an important weekend for assistant coach Peter Sirmon. Warner, who is set to take his trip to BYU on Jan. 31, might also visit either Nebraska or Washington on Jan. 24.
Orgeron is no longer on staff, but fellow Louisiana native and ESPN 300 safety Mattrell McGraw (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian) said he would still be open to visiting USC on Jan. 24. “I hope to give every school a chance,” said McGraw, who recently narrowed his list to a final two of Oregon and UCLA. “I haven’t had any contact with the new staff, but I might try to reach out to them in a few days.” McGraw has scheduled an official visit to Texas A&M for this weekend and UCLA for Jan. 31. He checked out Oregon in December and intends to announce his decision on national signing day.