USC keeps making noise on signing day under head coach Clay Helton. A few hours after landing ESPN 300 outside linebacker Levi Jones, the Trojans picked up ESPN 300 offensive tackle Austin Jackson and ESPN 300 defensive tackle Jay Tufele within minutes of each other.
Jackson selected USC over Arizona State and Washington, and along with ESPN 300 offensive tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker, he gives USC two top-10 offensive tackles. Jackson is the No. 1 prospect in the state of Arizona and becomes the first top prospect from that state to sign with USC since defensive end Devon Kennard in the 2009 class.
Tufele selected USC over BYU, Michigan, Ohio State and Utah, making him the second No. 1 prospect from Utah that the Trojans have landed in three years. Tufele took an official visit to USC in January, but Utah had the final crack at the nation’s No. 119 overall prospect with his final official visit. But the draw to USC was enough to pry him out of the state.
After not signing a prep defensive tackle in the 2016 class, the position was extremely important for the Trojans in this cycle, and Helton responded, as Tufele joins fellow ESPN 300 prospect Marlon Tuipulotu as well as three-star tackles Terrance Lang and Brandon Pili.
There is a huge hole in the middle of the USC defensive line with Stevie Tu'ikolovatu off to the NFL, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Tuipulotu and Tufele given a shot at stepping in as a starter or to provide depth as true freshmen.
Jackson puts the finishing touches on a terrific offensive line class for the Trojans, joining Vera-Tucker as well as ESPN 300 prospect Brett Neilon, four-star tackle Andrew Vorhees and three-star guard Jalen McKenzie, who is scheduled to join USC as a blueshirt. But the Trojans didn’t stop at Jackson in raiding the Grand Canyon State as USC also signed ESPN 300 athlete Isaiah Pola-Mao, the state’s No. 2 prospect.
Offensive tackle was a need for USC in this class, and a position that could see a talented true freshman step into a starting spot as the Trojans lost both starting tackles from the 2016 roster in Zach Banner and Chad Wheeler.