LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lincoln Riley says he did not — and could not — discuss to Caleb Williams between the day the coach left Oklahoma and the day his once-and-future star quarterback entered the switch portal 5 weeks later.
Southern California’s new coach needed to wait patiently and stressfully for the possibility to land the centerpiece of his first recruiting class with the Trojans, alongside with two extra ex-Sooners who determined to observe Riley from Norman to the West Coast.
“There’s a long period of time where there’s zero communication,” Riley stated Wednesday whereas asserting his February signing interval class. “And then all of a sudden, Caleb and his parents make the decision to jump into the transfer portal. We had a conversation shortly after that, and I don’t think we talked even one bit of football. It was just kind of like a long-lost friend. It was good to be able to reconnect.”
Riley closed the deal with Williams for the second time, and the previous five-star recruit enrolled at USC final Friday. The quarterback’s dedication capped a bountiful haul for the Trojans within the switch portal: Riley signed 13 gamers away from different colleges, from Oregon to Virginia, restocking his first roster with elite expertise.
Riley stated he would not plan to depend on transfers this closely sooner or later. His analysis of the Trojans’ 2021 roster led him to determine spots needing fast enchancment, and his teaching workers labored aggressively to search out veteran collegiate gamers who wished to hitch them.
“This is a unique year and a unique situation,” Riley stated. “When you’re trying to really revamp a roster and fill the amount of spots that we’re attempting to fill, being able to have all these different mechanisms to use to fill that has been extremely valuable.”
USC signed two veteran Pac-12 operating backs in Oregon’s Travis Dye and Stanford’s Austin Jones, who racked up a mixed 2,318 yards of whole offense final season. They additionally grabbed three productive switch receivers: Oklahoma’s Mario Williams, Colorado’s Brenden Rice and Washington’s Terrell Bynum produced a mixed 1,115 yards receiving final season.
Mario Williams and Caleb Williams already are a decent duo, and Riley believes his new quarterback will type related bonds with his new receivers. Although Caleb Williams saved the Trojans ready for almost a month earlier than asserting his choice, Riley is aware of Williams is keen to get to work in his new residence.
“He works really hard at his craft, and he does a great job of bringing people together,” Riley stated. “I think that’s what he’s most excited about right now is to just go to class, to get with the guys, to get back just in the flow of being part of a team and part of a university.”
The Trojans’ recruiting class is a mighty haul for a short while body at a faculty that went 4-8 final season. Riley thinks the gamers have been enticed by the possibility to win shortly in a fascinating location like Southern California, the place title, picture and likeness rights will solely turn into extra useful within the unsure recruiting panorama of the longer term.
“I think the real surge (in NIL) has happened now as recruiting has gotten competitive,” Riley stated. “It’s an element, and anyone that claims it isn’t will not be paying consideration. … I believe it’s going to proceed to be one other method that we as a program can separate ourselves, and we completely plan to do this.”
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