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USC Football Recruiting

Can USC pass its biggest test with 5-Star Korey Foreman?

October 20, 2020
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When Drake Jackson committed to USC on Dec. 19, 2018, most thought the Trojans were clearly the school to beat for Jackson's Corona Centennial teammate and 5-Star Weak Side Defensive End Korey Foreman‍. USC was one of the first schools to offer a scholarahip, the school he was most familiar with and the school his family would love to see him play at.

But schools like Clemson, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Ohio St. and other elite football programs offered, began pursuing him relentlessly and were annually vying for NCAA Playoff spots...USC managed to finish second in a weak PAC-12 South Division in 2019 and got embarrassed by Iowa in the Holiday Bowl.

Although Foreman's interest in USC remained, he took an unofficial visit to Clemson in January and announced his commitment on Jan. 29. The Trojans had just hired new Defensive Coordinator Todd Orlando and would add several more impressive assistants to the staff in Donte Williams, Craig Naivar, Vic So’oto, John David Baker and Sean Snyder, but uproar among USC fans was thunderous over Foreman's commitment to the Tigers.

The strong displeasure among the USC faithful was justified at the time. A month before Foreman's commitment to Clemson, the Trojans lost Elias Rick's to LSU, Justin Flowe to Oregon and several  other top priority targets also signed to play for programs appearing in much stronger shape than USC.

USC had the talent to win the Pac-12 Championship, but its defense ranked about 100th in the nation and the Trojans were lacking strong leadership across the board. That lack of leadership not only resulted in mediocre results on the field, it resulted in significant failures with recruiting. USC was failing to sign kids who were at one time silent commits and proverbial locks. For someome like me who covers USC recruiting in great detail, in was head scratching how inept the recruiting effort from some coaches had gotten. 

As unimpressive as USC’s recruiting effort was in 2019, the turnaround after adding Orlando, Williams, Naivar, So’oto, Baker, Snyder and several support group staffers like Chris Claiborne, Hayes Pullard, Armond Hawkins Jr. and others, the rapid turnaround with the culture inside the program and with recruiting was extremely impressive. 

From the time they were all hired by Helton in mid February to the end of June, the Trojans obtained verbal commitments from QB Miller Moss‍, WR Quaydarius Davis‍, LB Julien Simon‍, DB Calen Bullock‍, DB Anthony Beavers Jr.‍, Xamarion Gordon‍, RB Brandon Campbell‍, ATH Jaylin Smith‍, OL Mason Murphy‍, OL Saia Mapakaitolo‍, OL Maximus Gibbs‍, TE Lake McRee‍, DT Colin Mobley‍ and WR Michael Jackson III‍. USC has since added commitments from TE Michael Trigg‍, CB Prophet Brown‍, CB Philip Riley‍, WR Josh Moore‍, OL Ty Buchanan‍ and currently has the nation's No. 4 ranked recruiting class.

Despite no spring football, a recruiting dead period that's been in place for seven months and a Nov. 7 start to the Pac-12’s Fall Football season, the Trojans have caught the attention of several Elite prospects who weren't seriously considering them or were committed to other schools. Foreman is as high a priority as any. USC SCOOP caught up with him after Centennial’s practice on Monday to get the latest on him and USC.

“I talk to them (USC staff) as much as I can and I'm trying to build as strong a relationship as possible with them, like I am with other colleges equally,” said Foreman.”So, I'm trying to build a strong relationship with Coach Vic (So’oto) and Coach Donte (Williams)."

While his relationship with the USC staff continues to strengthen, it's impossible for Foreman to know what they'll add to the program on the field until games are played.

“That's the biggest thing right now,” Foreman said.”Me and my family will talk football, we’ll talk about big games and then we’ll talk about SC. And I have nothing wrong with SC, but I just don't how the coaches will be coaching certain players until they’re playing games. I want to see what coaches do in game situations, not just how they're coaching guys in practice. That's what I'm starting to see from other colleges as they play their season."

Coach So’oto has established solid relationships with his targets from Coast to Coast and it's no different with Foreman and his family.

“From what me and my family have seen so far, Coach Vic is a great guy,” said Foreman. “I’m blessed to have met him and have him a part of my life during this journey. And I try to build relationships with as many coaches at USC as possible, but it ultimately comes down to how they perform on the field.

"After I see them play it will eye opening, especially with them opening up against ASU. It'll be a good game to start off with and I'll be watching it on television with my family. We’ll breaking down film in my living room just like we've done with every other game."

Every coaching staff recruiting Foreman has presentations how they'll use him in their dedense, they all tell him how much they need him and what they can offer him as a football player. USC’s no different in that regard, but they’ve added a unique element to its sales pitch.

“Korey Foreman, sign on the dotted line and you'll have the keys to the city,” Foreman said. “That's how it is."

Foreman's also intrigued by potential Name and Likeness opportunities that could come as a result of playing for the Trojans.

“Everyone knows college athlete are going to start getting paid for out name and likeness starting in January,” Foreman said.”With USC being in the media capital of the country, those numbers will go up. But there are other things you need to think about as well as that aspect. Only a small group of schools offer what I'm looking for and I'm gonna to put out my top five or maybe top three soon. Those are the schools making my decision the hardest, but USC is definitely doing everything right, right now."

We concluded our conversation with Foreman with this question. Is there anything your top schools have in common? And after a brief pause, he replied....

“There's a national championship longevity in either one."

Foreman's current plan is to sign his letter of intent in December and announce his school choice in January at the 2021 All-American Bowl in San Antonio, TX

KOREY FOREMAN 2019 SEASON HIGHLIGHTS:

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Can USC pass its biggest test with 5-Star Korey Foreman?

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