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After an off-season filled with negatives, could USC’s fortunes finally be turning around.

Things appear to be swinging USC’s way with the recent news of two transfers, a key player returning from the portal, and plenty of optimism after Spring camp.

NCAA Football: Southern California at Arizona Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There’s finally something to smile about at USC.

The Trojans football program has been in the news a lot during the off-season and most of the reasons have not been good. Going 5-7 in 2018, fans calling for the firing of head coach Clay Helton, hiring one of the top coaches on the market in Kliff Kingsbury, only to lose him a month later to the NFL, grabbing the commit of one of the top athletes in the nation in Bru McCoy only for him to transfer to Texas, and losing multiple players to the transfer portal. Things were not looking too great from the outside looking in.

Once spring camp hit, the tune started to change. The practice atmosphere was very different, in a positive way. New offensive coordinator Graham Harrell installed his “Air raid” offense which takes advantage of the talent the USC Trojans have on offense. The defense had some optimism despite injuries depleting the secondary. By the end of camp, the tune around USC was very optimistic. However it didn’t stop there.

Players such as cornerback Greg Johnson and wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. returned to the program after entering the transfer portal. Bru McCoy re-entered the transfer portal and returned back to USC and recently, it was announced that four-star cornerback and Florida transfer Chris Steele, will enroll at USC and join the football program. The fortunes have really changed for the Trojans. What caused it? How could things look so bleak months ago finally to look so promising?

NCAA Football: U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Four star cornerback and Florida transfer forgoes his commitment to Oregon and will enroll at USC. He joining five star athlete Bru McCoy, who will re-enroll at USC after transferring to Texas back in January.
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The tune around the program a few months ago was very different compared to now. There was a vast amount of uncertainty and instability with USC football. Coaching changes were being made around a critical time of recruiting and nobody knew what was going to happen next. The vibe around USC was negative from an outsiders stand point. All of that changed when when spring camp started.

USC tends to recruit itself and that will never change, but there’s finally some stability right now and the team has a sense of identity and direction. Which is something that couldn’t be said during the winter. They have an offensive coordinator that will utilize the talent on the roster, the scheme is a lot simpler, the vibe at practice is a fresh one, and everyone is on the same page. Everything changed when spring practice hit.

The roster getting a huge boost with the recent news of wide receivers McCoy and Jones returning added to the excitement. While it’s up in the air if McCoy will be able to see the field this season due to the transfer rules, Jones returning adds a huge speed boost to Harrell’s offense. The good news doesn’t stop there however. Former Florida Gators cornerback Steele announced his transfer to USC instead of Oregon. The four-star cornerback out of St. John Bosco in Bellflower, CA originally committed to the Trojans in July of last year, however he de-committed as the their season spiraled out of control. Steele not only adds to the depth issues at defensive back, but he will come in and compete for a starting spot at cornerback should the NCAA approve his waiver. With the additions to the roster, USC instantly becomes contenders in the Pac-12 on paper.

Things are trending up for the Trojans, however all of this won’t mean much if they don’t perform on the field. That good feeling that USC fans currently have right now could evaporate should the team struggle the first few weeks of the season. For now, the Trojans are finally in the positive light.