Lincoln Riley's move to USC shocked the college football world. As he sets about putting the once-vaunted Trojans program back together, he's bringing a lot of help with him. His coaching staff isn't yet finalized, but so far Riley has put together one hell of a group of recruiters.
Over the weekend, news broke that USC would be retaining defensive backs coach -- and interim head coach -- Donte Williams. Williams is regarded by many as the top recruiter on the West Coast. During his time at Oregon and USC he has consistently locked down top talent. He was credited with bringing in an absurd 10 commitments in 2021, including five-star Korey Foreman and nine four-star recruits. Riley's decision to keep him was wise.
While Williams has been at USC since 2020, Riley is bringing two excellent recruiters with him from Oklahoma. Outside receivers coach Dennis Simmons and defensive line/outside linebackers coach Jamar Cain are among the best recruiters in the nation. In stops at Fresno State, Arizona State and Oklahoma, Cain has proven himself on the recruiting trail.
In the 2021 class, Cain hauled in four four-star defensive linemen, while Simmons landed three four-star receivers. According to 247Sports, Williams, Simmons and Cain were all among the 30 best recruiters in the nation.
Riley has also stolen running backs coach Tashard Choice from Georgia Tech. The former NFL running back is a name to watch in the coaching ranks. He was a Broyles Award nominee this year. He was the main reason star running back Jahmyr Gibbs chose Georgia Tech in 2020. Gibbs is now in the transfer portal.
Only discussing his assistants does a great disservice to Riley, who is an excellent recruiter in his own right. USC's new head coach is among the best closers in the nation and is lauded for his ability to connect with both players and their families.
Riley has already put an excellent group of assistants around him and the staff isn't complete yet. He still has to find an offensive line coach. But what he's done so far is send a message to the college football world that USC is going to recruit the West like crazy.
If USC can get the best players out West again, it can be a power nationally again. Riley is smart enough to know that and is building the program accordingly.