USC’s jackpot echoes Carroll-era success while Washington wins on familiar ground – The Mercury News


The Hotline is delighted to provide Pac-12 fans with a regular dive into the recruiting process through the eyes and ears of Brandon Huffman, the Seattle-based national recruiting editor for 247Sports. He submitted the following report on March 28 …

The Trojans’ big stand

Back in the 2000’s, when Pete Carroll and USC reigned supreme in college football, the Trojans recruited at an elite level.

Steve Sarkisian had a monumental first class — that was key to USC winning the Rose Bowl a couple years later — and Clay Helton had some nice recruiting wins.

Even under Lane Kiffin, during the time of the NCAA sanctions, the Trojans could recruit.

But what they did last weekend will remind many of the Carroll heyday.

In a matter of hours, the Trojans landed three top 100 players in the 2025 class, with two of them in the top 20. And then, for good measure, they pulled in a rising 2026 prospect.

Made more impressive? None of the prospects are from the West Coast.

The first earthquake was felt early Sunday morning, when Georgia’s Justus Terry, the No. 2 defensive lineman in the country and the No. 13 overall player, announced his commitment to the Trojans.

Shortly after, Isaiah Gibson, the No. 1 edge rusher in the country and No. 17 overall player, announced he would be a Trojan. (Gibson’s also from Georgia.)

The Southeast-to-Southern California train kept chugging when Florida’s Hylton Stubbs, a top-10 safety and the No. 95 overall player, pledged to the Trojans.

Texas defensive lineman Gus Cordova made the trio a quartet with his commitment and then, for fun, Dominick Kelly, a Florida cornerback in the 2026 class, joined the collection.

This was USC coach Lincoln Riley’s plan all along, especially when the Trojans announced their move to the Big Ten in the summer of 2022: Their national brand and sunny location would allow them to recruit nationally and not force them to focus on Southern California.

So far in 2025 — and 2026 for that matter — so good.

UW goes back to the Golden State

While USC was cleaning up nationally, Washington went back to a state that has been very good to the Huskies, California, and a school that they’ve leaned into for years.

Running back Julian McMahan, who preps at Monte Vista High School in Danville — the same school that produced former lineman Corey Luciano and quarterback Jake Haener — announced his commitment to UW.

And he might not be the only Mustang the Huskies land.

Tight end Kellan Ford has an official visit set for Washington, and his mom played soccer at Washington. They would love to make it two-for-two there.

Outside of McMahan and the five future Trojans, though, it was a quiet week on the recruiting front for the outbound Pac-12 schools.

Acclaim for West Coast recruits

The first selection to the Elite 11 Finals, the prestigious quarterback camp held every summer, was made recently, and the pick hails from the Southland: quarterback Husan Longstreet from Centennial High School in Corona.

Longstreet is the No. 1 recruit in California in the 2025 class and the No. 5 quarterback in the country. He has offers from coast-to-coast, with a decision coming in two weeks.

Meanwhile, the Under Armour Next Camp made its first stop on the West Coast on Sunday at Mission Viejo High School, and two cornerbacks were invited to the Under Armour All-America Game: Adonyss Currie, from Quartz Hill, Calif., was selected to the 2025 game, while USC commit Brandon Lockhart, the No. 1 defensive recruit in California in 2026, was also picked.

Previous invitees to the game include Mission Viejo cornerback Dijon Lee, who will play in the 2025 game, and receiver Chris Henry, the No. 1 receiver in the country and the No. 1 recruit in the state of California’s 2026 class.

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