Lincoln Riley on the recruiting trail

USC’s new head coach looks to attract top talent back to Los Angeles.

USC welcomes Lincoln Riley, former head coach of the Oklahoma University Sooners, as the new head coach for the Trojan football team in Los Angeles, CA, on November 29, 2021 (Julia Zara)

USC hired former Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley on Nov. 28 to become the new head coach of its football program. In his five years with the Sooners, Riley led an electric offense that saw two Heisman winners and one more finalist. This signing has rocked the college football world with pundits and fans theorizing the effect Riley will have on USC recruiting efforts.

Once a recruiting powerhouse, USC has struggled to consistently sign elite football players. As of Dec. 1, USC’s 2022 recruiting class is the second worst in the Pac-12 and the 91st best in the nation according to 247 sports. Over the past five recruiting cycles, USC has only garnered commits from 30 of the top 143 players in the ESPN 300, a far cry from how USC was recruiting during their heyday.

Riley, a talented recruiter who has had success in Southern California, immediately demonstrated his pull when five-star Malachi Nelson became the first former Oklahoma recruit to commit to USC. Nelson, according to 247Sports, is the second best player and quarterback in the class of 2023.

As USC has struggled with attracting top Southern California high school players who are choosing out-of-state powerhouse schools, Riley will now look to keep those recruits in Los Angeles. Within a day of his arrival, Riley conducted an in-home visit with five-star running back Raleek Brown, who had committed to Oklahoma under Riley’s tenure.

Riley’s departure caused a mass exodus of recruits from Oklahoma. So far, seven players have publicly decommitted from Oklahoma, with others potentially joining them soon.

Several players from the USC Class of 2022 have decommitted since Riley’s arrival as head coach as well.

Below is a list of USC commits and decommits as well as Oklahoma transfers and decommits. This list will be updated as new information is available.

Oklahoma to USC commits:

  • Malachi Nelson, a top quarterback in the class of 2023, a Los Alamitos player, has now decided to stay in state and play for Riley at USC.
  • Raleek Brown, a five-star prospect and the No. 2 running back in the Class of 2022, announced his commitment to USC Thursday. Brown comes from Mater Dei High School and decommitted from Oklahoma Wednesday.
  • Makai Lemon, a five-star prospect and the No.27 player in the class of 2023, a Los Alamitos player has announced his commitment to USC and joins his teammate QB Malachi Nelson.

Oklahoma players entering the transfer portal:

New USC commits:

USC decommits:

Oklahoma decommits: