Look, the Class of 2021 for the USC Trojans is already something special. It’s currently the eighth-ranked class nationally and the second-best in the Pac-12 behind only Oregon.
What would make the class seemingly historic, would be if the experts over at 247Sports got their predictions right. Those predictions I’m referring to are utilizing 247Sports patented Crystal Ball that grabs the confidence points from each of their recruiting analysts and averages out where they think each prospect will land.
And currently, the Crystal Ball favors four top-ranked prospects to land in the USC Class of 2021. They are:
No. 1 overall prospect and 12th-best prospect all-time — 5-star DE Korey Foreman
No. 66 overall prospect and No. 5 in California — 4-star ILB Ethan Calvert
No. 194 overall prospect and No. 2 in New Jersey — 4-star DE Aaron Armitage
No. 282 overall prospect and No. 27 in California — 4-star G Josh Simmons
Foreman is the man who needs no introduction. He’s already said he’ll be opting out of his senior season to enroll early in the program of his choice. He’s got at least 27 scholarship offers that we know about and seemingly every blue-blood program is in his ear what I would imagine is every day. He’s the 12th-ranked prospect all-time and almost a flawless 1.000 on the 247Sports Composite — checking in at 0.997.
His evaluation states what he’s all about:
Owns a broad, thick frame and added over twenty pounds during the offseason prior to his junior year. Tests as a good, if not elite athlete in combine settings with agility being his best area. Was the defensive line MVP and top edge rusher in one-on-one’s at the all-star camp as a rising junior, showing advanced speed-to-power and technical ability. Combines his initial quickness off the line with an array of pass rush moves and skills. Can dip and bend off the edge in addition to walking offensive linemen back with his strong hands and bull rush. Plays for a top high school program in Southern California and faces top competition on a weekly basis. Missed approximately half of his junior season with a knee injury, but showed his reactive quickness and plus play strength prior to going down. Has the skill set to be an ideal edge-setting strong-side defensive end but could potentially reach the size where he could play multiple spots along the defensive line depending on scheme and down and distance. Continues to look like one of the top overall prospects in the 2021 cycle and one of the more talented defensive linemen to come out of Southern California in several cycles. Projects as a multi-year impact starter at the Power Five level with the upside to develop into a first round NFL Draft pick.
As of right now, four lead experts at 247 have Foreman with a pledge to USC including Greg Biggins, Steve Wiltfong, Brandon Huffman and Gerard Martinez. The Trojans’ biggest competitor seems to be Clemson right now as the expert averages have Foreman going to USC 89.5% of the time and to Clemson the remaining 10.5%.
C’mon, Korey, Fight On!
Calvert should also need no introduction to those tuned into the recruiting circuit this season. He’s the third-best inside linebacker prospect for this class and the fifth-best player in California, according to 247Sports. Biggins, Wiltfong and Martinez also peg him as a USC commit and five different analysts see him staying home.
Tough, physical linebacker who has made a smooth transition from safety. Carries 230 pounds easily and shows the versatility to play any of the ‘backer positions but projects best inside. Is a big hitter who plays with an aggressive edge. Can get downhill in a hurry and shows the athleticism to run down plays from behind and is a sideline to sideline player. Is comfortable dropping in coverage and is very good manning up on tight ends and running backs down the field. Shows good instincts and is always around the football. Flashed as a receiver as a junior and could play as a hybrid h-back at the college level but projects best on the defensive side of the ball. Should be an impact upper tier Power 5 starter and future mid to high-round NFL draft pick.
Armitage is the first out-of-state player to be penciled in for the USC class, but arguably the one that the experts are the most sure about. Given confidence points of 1-10 on how confident they are they’ll commit to a particular school, 10 being the highest, all but one of the 11 experts to give a prediction feels at least a ‘6’ or higher for Armitage to commit to USC.
Plus length with good shoulder width to add size, strength. Carries 242 pounds like it is 220. Position flexibility as defensive end/3-technique ability. Agile with 4.43 short shuttle. Strong with hands. Athletic with burst. Stop-start ability. Flexibility and body control to manipulate body to get through gaps. Strong lower body. Runs down line of scrimmage and pursues backside. Has to develop technique. Relies on speed and power. Needs to play with lower pad level with more consistency. Has to continue to improve lower body flexibility and be able to bend on the needs more. Increasing upper body strength important. Multi-year starter at Top 20 program. Day 3 NFL draft pick potential.
And then there’s Simmons, from La Mesa, just northeast of San Diego. He’s the state of California’s No. 27 overall prospect for this circuit and stands at 6’6, 280. He’s got over 25 scholarship offers yet Biggins has him penciled in with a ‘7’ on his confidence points for him to pull the trigger on a USC commit.
Massive two-way lineman who could end up as a nose guard or offensive guard in college. Shows quickness of the ball, strength at the point of attack and the ability to cave in the interior of an offensive line by himself. As a guard, can overwhelm an opposing defensive lineman with his size and strength. Is a road grader as a run blocker and shows the feet to project as an excellent pass blocker as well. Needs more game experience after missing much of his junior year but has all the raw tools to be an impact upper tier Power 5 starter and future mid round NFL draft pick.
USC’s class of 2021 would not only be considered great for this year if they landed these four players, it’d be up there with the best nationally, and certainly up there with perhaps one of the best classes USC has ever put together. If they saw these four players commit alone, in addition to what they already have, this would rocket them past Oregon, past LSU and past Clemson, on the heels of Alabama and Ohio State.
Oh, what could be this year.