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Early Signing Period for the Trojans

The top recruits Clay Helton looks to nab Dec. 20-22.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most stressful but exciting times in the college football world is the signing of top high school recruits. Being a commit is one thing, but signing a National Letter of Intent (NLI), is a whole other ballpark.

This year the NCAA is doing something a little different, instead of beginning in February, early signing period for recruits is now Dec. 20-22. A little gift just in time for Christmas for coaches and fans.

Here’s a quick summary of the new changes:

  • Players can either sign early from Dec. 20-22 or wait until the regular period begins from Feb-April.
  • The new December dates work well with players that graduate early from high school wanting to enroll early at their university. Players can get the ball rolling with financial aid agreements and related paperwork in December rather than waiting until February.

USC’s Top Targets

The Trojans have five top recruits that they are hoping to sign early:

5-Star LB Palaie Gaoteote, Bishop Gorman

Gaoteote has been committed to the Trojans since February of last year, and boasts a national ranking of No. 17 in the 2018 class according to 247Sports. He is also the No. 1 rated inside linebacker and a U.S. Army All-American.

Gaoteote has also decided to cancel all upcoming visits to Ohio State, UCLA, Oregon, and Washington, as a sign of loyalty to the Trojans.

5-Star ATH Talanoa Hufanga, Crescent Valley

Hufanga an early enrollee who remains uncommitted, has been recently wined and dined by USC after his official visit to campus and in-home visit by coaches.

Similar to former Trojan Adoree Jackson, Hufanga is slated to be one of the most athletic players in the country and could contribute to multiple positions for the Trojans. He is rated No. 16 nationally in the class of 2018 with a No. 1 athlete ranking according to 247Sports.

Besides USC being high-up on his list, Hufanga also has interest from Oregon, Michigan, and UCLA. He is also a U.S. Army All-American.

5-Star S Jaiden Woodbey, St. John Bosco

The Trojans are looking to flip the early enrollee Ohio State commit who also holds interest from Oklahoma and “dream school” Florida State.

A U.S. Army All-American, Woodbey holds a 247Sports Composite national ranking of No. 27 and is the No. 2 safety in the class of 2018.

Flipping the already committed Woodbey will be no easy task for USC. He has yet to take his visit and is coming off a fresh offer from his dream school Florida State.

5-Star OT Jackson Carman, Fairfield

Early enrollee Carman has yet to commit to a school, though Ohio State, Clemson and USC are high on his list.

He holds a 247Sports Composite national ranking of No. 9, and position ranking of No. 1. Carman is a U.S. Army All-American and is booked to visit USC on Dec. 15.

Carman would be a welcome addition to the USC offensive line that has been riddled with injuries this season. Being an Ohio native, the Trojans will have to greatly impress Carman during his SoCal winter visit if they want him to leave the East Coast for the West Coast.

4-Star OT Penei Sewell, Desert Hills

Sewell, who has yet to commit to a school, took his official visit to USC on Nov. 17. He currently holds interest from Alabama, Utah, and Oregon. He bears a national ranking of No. 38 and is the No. 2 ranked offensive guard in 2018 according to 247Sports.

Like Carman, the 6-foot-5, 349 pound Sewell would add needed depth to the Trojans offensive line. Sewell is a U.S. Army All-American and is looking to enroll early. He has a brother in the 2020 class also being recruited by the Trojans.