For many years now, the bugaboo of USC football has been its offensive line. Oh sure, there have been good individual guards, tackles, and centers at USC since the dominant days of Pete Carroll. Just not enough of them.
And against real tough competition, USC’s OL has shown a tendency to disappear. Just last year, the Trojan running game, despite having talent like Ronald Jones (and for awhile Stephen Carr) to carry the mail, went into complete hibernation against teams like Texas, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. When the chips were down, the Trojans couldn’t pound the rock.
Even this last superior signing effort by USC came under some criticism because the Trojans missed on some big-time targets and only signed two OLs: heralded OC Justin Dedich and OT Liam Douglas, the only 3-star to sign with USC.
Everybody who follows football recruiting was saying that the class of 2019 would be a fertile landing place for some of the “big uglies” to help re-establish USC as a dominant power in the offensive trenches. It looks like they may have been onto something.
The Trojans haven’t exactly been racking up the commitments lately — and yes, they do matter very much despite some in the media who suggest they never stick and mean little. The truth is, of course, the vast majority of commitments stick. You only are invited to focus on the ones who don’t.
USC’s latest “verbal”, and only the 2nd so far for this class, is Hesperia Oak Hills OT Jason Rodriquez, a massive 6-6, 326 pounder with a great work ethic, good footwork, humble personality, coachable attitude and already a reputation as the best athlete ever recruited out of Oak Hills.
Cal, Notre Dame, Washington, Florida, Utah, Oregon, and UCLA were among the losers for young Rodriguez, who is exactly what the doctor ordered for a program which will lose at least three OL starters after this season.
Clay Helton and Neil Callaway as well USC academics and alumni support deserve the credit here for attracting what looks like a future Trojan tackle who likes to lead by example. So, it’s only fitting he’s the first USC OL to commit. Expect him to stick too.