Four-star wide receiver/defensive back Ykili Ross' committed to USC earlier today announcing his decision on national television during the Army All-American Game.
So now that we know that this 6'2", 185-pound Riverside Poly product will be a Trojan for at least the next three years, how will he fit with this team on the field?
Here's Ykili Ross' high school highlight tape which, along with his scouting report, I will be basing this piece off of:
It's sometimes hard to evaluate a high-level recruit like this based off his high school tape because he is so obviously a different level of athlete than everyone else on the field. That's why I don't see him playing much receiver at USC (he basically just out-athleted everyone in high school without showing any real route running ability or ball skills in traffic), and rather assuming a larger role on the defensive side of the ball.
Ross didn't have to catch anything in traffic or high-point any catches. Maybe he'll end up being phenomenal at this, but the point is he doesn't seem to have much experience with contested catches, making his fit on defense all the more sensible.
Ross is a physical player and willing tackler, who I can see playing a lot of safety for USC. He also has the "loose hips" (according to the linked article that includes a scouting report by Derrell Warren) to be a solid coverage safety and maybe even play some cornerback. Ross' large, 6'2" frame makes it intriguing to see if the USC staff asks him to put on any weight to become a more in-the-box type safety -- a guy who can play some linebacker and cover tight ends, kind of like a Su'a Cravens-lite.
In the highlight tape of Ykili Ross, he played a lot of off-coverage, which is understandable. His superior athletic ability meant he could afford to eyeball the quarterback and even jump routes he wasn't even responsible for covering without getting burned himself. But at USC, we've seen too many blown coverages over the past year for this to continue for him, and hopefully he can learn to break this habit.
According to Warren's report, Ross won't be the fastest player on the field for USC in the future. But he is already athletic in other ways, and if he can continue to develop himself into a physically imposing player, that'll be more than enough.