When Olaijah Griffin, Son of West Coast rap legend Warren G and star Cornerback out of Mission Viejo High School, committed to USC on National Signing Day he became the Trojans’ fourth-five star recruit in the class of 2018.
Ranked as the 28th player in the nation, the third best defensive back in the country, and the third best player in California behind only incoming Trojans JT Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown—Griffin joins a USC team loaded with talent.
However, with the struggles that the Cardinal and Gold secondary experienced last year, Griffin will be able to make an immediate impact unlike the other freshman in his class.
In 2017, USC’s secondary was very inconsistent. The unit gave up 54 passes that were for 20 yards or more, and had troubles staying healthy and maintaining depth. With the departures of key players such as Chris Hawkins and Jack Jones, the Trojans are left with only one surefire starter in returning senior Iman “Biggie” Marshall.
Senior Isaiah Langley took first team reps during spring practice and filled in for Marshall for a brief period in 2017, will most likely start alongside Marshall with senior Ajene Harris seeing time at nickleback. However, with the usual second and third unit corners of redshirt senior Johnathan Lockett and redshirt freshman Greg Johnson both returning from injuries that sidelined them for significant time last season, it could open the door for Griffin to see meaningful playing time in 2018.
During his two years on the Varsity team for Mission Viejo High School, Griffin showcased his special skills on the defensive side of the ball. In total, the six-foot 180 pound phenom amassed 75 tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles.
In addition to his success on defense, Griffin proved that he is valuable at multiple positions in any lineup. In his senior season alone, Griffin racked up 33 receptions for 875 yards along with 12 touchdowns, in addition to returning punts and kicks on special teams.
Griffin’s versatility can prove to be very valuable for the USC Trojans come this Fall, and don’t be surprised if he comes out of the 2018 College Football season being talked about as one of the most exciting and promising players in his class.