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Lincoln Riley and USC Are Dominating the Transfer Portal

Ryan Phillips
USC Introduce Lincoln Riley
USC Introduce Lincoln Riley / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages
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Lincoln Riley and USC had a big week. The Trojans and their new coach continued the absolute tear they've been on since he arrived, nabbing commitments and transfers left and right. On Friday they scored another huge pickup, landing Oregon running back Travis Dye to cap quite a run over the last few days. Riley is quickly remaking his squad and USC is starting to look formidable.

Dye led the Pac-12 in yards from scrimmage in 2021, racking up 1,671. They dynamic playmaker rushed for 1,271 yards -- which was second in the conference -- and added 402 receiving. He was also second in the Pac-12 in touchdowns with 18. A smaller, quick, all-purpose player at 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, Dye is the exact kind of running back that has thrived in Riley's offense.

While Dye was the biggest name to commit to USC this week, he wasn't the only one. Last Friday Oklahoma freshman wide receiver Mario Williams transferred to USC. A dynamic playmaker, Williams was the top wideout in the 247Sports transfer rankings. Riley wasn't finished hauling in receivers. On Tuesday, Colorado wideout Brenden Rice announced he was transferring to USC as well. Rice is son of NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, is 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds and big upside as a playmaker. He'll be a sophomore in 2022.

With two receivers secured, Riley added some defensive punch. He nabbed another Colorado transfer in cornerback Mekhi Blackmon. A graduate transfer, Blackmon was an honorable mention All-Pac-12 in 2021. Then Riley pulled in another familiar player, by snagging Oklahoma freshman cornerback Latrell McCutchin. McCutchin was a four-star recruit in the 2021 class and has big-time upside.

On Thursday, Stanford running back Austin Jones joined the party, announcing his transfer to the Trojans. The junior running back was a four-star recruit in 2019, but after Stanford's 3-9 season he joined the exodus out of the program.

Then that big week of transfers was capped off by Dye's decision to join the parade on Friday.

All-in-all, Riley has reeled in 10 transfers so far and 247Sports has the Trojans ranked second in its team transfer rankings. And that's before we know what will happen with prized quarterback Caleb Williams, who most experts believe will join Riley in LA. The Oklahoma quarterback is close with Mario Williams and Latrell McCutchin, and the three were in the same Sooners recruiting class last year.

When you combine the transfers USC has received with its high school recruiting class so far, the Trojans have jumped to the 13th overall recruiting class. Without the transfers, USC's class ranks 60th, mostly because it only has eight commitments. Riley's staff is still pursuing a few highly-ranked high schoolers who could send that ranking soaring, but the class was never going to be a blockbuster after getting such a late start.

USC will be a far different team in 2022. Riley has quickly brought in players that fit his system on both sides of the ball. It has been a rapid, almost staggering transformation. If he's able to reel in Caleb Williams, USC would immediately be the favorite to win the Pac-12 next season. It would be an absolutely crazy turnaround in the few weeks since he's been on campus.

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