There was absolutely no doubt (in my mind) Clay Helton was on the hot seat heading into 2020. Fortunately for him, the optimism around USC recruiting may have bought him more time..
It all starts with the recent hiring of Oregon CB coach Donte Williams.
Williams has been coaching the secondary for over 10 years. His former teams range from Los Angeles Harbor college all the way to Oregon. Last year, he was part of a defense that was ranked 22 in total defense and had the 2nd most interceptions in the league.
Williams’ experience as a coach is valuable, but his most valuable asset to USC is his recruiting ability. Williams is the no. 7 2020 recruiter across the league by 247Sports. He was only the TOP recruiter in the PAC-12. His shift to USC already has ripple effects in the PAC 12. Four-star athlete Anthony Beavers Jr. decommitted from Oregon after hearing Williams left for USC. I wouldn’t be shocked if Beavers end up to USC too..
In addition, around the same time William’s joined USC, bleacher report listed USC as a “winner” in its “Early Predictions for Biggest Winners and Losers of 2021 CFB Recruiting Class“.
“I expect USC to bounce back with their 2021 class, and we’re already seeing that,” Greg Biggins of 247Sports said (via Chris Hummer). “The early buzz has been good thus far as the Trojans staff already looks more aggressive in how they’re recruiting locally and nationally, and after only having about 16 spots total in the ’20 class, they should be able to sign closer to a full class of 25 this year as well.”Early Predictions for Biggest Winners and Losers of 2021 CFB Recruiting Class
For 2021, the Trojans have commitments from 5-star quarterback Jake Garcia (No. 14 overall recruit), 4-star linebacker Ma’a Gaoteote (No. 63) and 4-star defensive tackle Jay Toia (No. 198).
Without a doubt it looks like the tides are changing for USC recruiting… With that said, recruiting alone won’t save Helton. It may buy him some time- maybe another year of mediocrity – but Helton needs to create a program that turns recruiting success into success on the field, otherwise he won’t last much longer..