Devy University: USC Trojans
By Tommy Harvey
Some programs just stack talent. Southern Cal is stocked to the brim with top tier devy prospects. QB Caleb Williams is the most known commodity, but make no mistake…he is definitely not the only one. The Trojans are loaded at all levels in their offense, and Lincoln Riley is just getting started in Los Angeles.
Caleb Williams (QB1) - 2024
Williams is the overall number 1 player in my (and most other people’s) devy rankings. At 6’1, 215lbs, he has good enough size to evade hits. Coupled with his speed and agility, Williams has elusiveness very similar to Bryce Young with more running ability than Young. Confident, strong-armed, and accurate, Williams has the intangibles and potential to be a top-5 QB in the NFL.
Malachi Nelson (QB4) - 2026
Possibly the most talented passer in the incoming freshman class, Nelson possesses enough athleticism to make plays with his legs when needed. At 6’4, 180lbs, he does need to put on a considerable amount of weight, but he has a decent frame to be able to do so. Good news…he has a year to do that before Caleb Williams heads off to the NFL. More good news…Lincoln Riley has a very good track record of placing QBs in the NFL.
MarShawn Lloyd (RB20) - 2024
A big recruiting win for South Carolina in 2020, Lloyd flashed his receiving talent and elusiveness for the Gamecocks. His main issue was staying healthy. During the preseason of his freshman season in 2020, Lloyd tore his ACL and missed the entire season. He missed more time during the 2021 and 2022 seasons due to more nagging injuries. Now at Southern Cal, Lloyd looks to reignite his draft stock in a much more dynamic offense.
Raleek Brown (RB50) - 2025
A top-50 recruit in the class of 2022, Brown is built to be an all-purpose back. At 5’8, 185lbs, he has dynamic, playmaking ability with great shiftiness and burst. He is a reliable weapon out of the backfield in the pass game, with the ability to line up in the slot from time to time. I think that could eventually be his long term strength.
Austin Jones - 2024
A very good receiving RB, Jones runs great routes out of the backfield, which gives him NFL value. His lack of breakaway speed makes me question just how much NFL value he has. He has good vision and patience, so his one-cut ability allows him to trust his blockers. He is a bit of a liability in blitz pick up. He will need to figure out better ways to get leverage as a pass blocker with his somewhat small size (5’10, 195lbs).
Quinten Joyner - 2026
A good one-cut RB with excellent straight line speed, Quinten Joyner has a good frame to grow (currently 5’11, 200lbs). He will need to work on running with a better pad level to be able to shed low tackles at this high level of college football. He will also need to be able to demonstrate a pass catching competency, since he did not display much of that in high school. Joyner is one to keep an eye on over the next couple of seasons.
Makai Lemon (WR6) - 2026
DeVonta Smith. That’s who I see when I watch Makai Lemon. His ability to separate makes him an elite playmaker on all routes. He has tremendous explosion and body control, so he is able to make nearly any catch against any defender. Lemon is my top WR in this incoming freshman class, and I am very confident in that assessment.
Mario Williams (WR11) - 2025
Williams is a smaller WR (5’9, 185lbs), but is a natural pass catcher with strong hands that takes advantage of holes in the defense. While he does not possess elite speed, he does have the ability to make plays in open space. Williams will need to develop the ability to run block and will need to gain the strength necessary to play more physically at the next level.
Zachariah Branch (WR13) - 2026
Branch could eventually rival Makai Lemon as the top overall WR in this class. His elite speed and playmaking ability is off the charts and some have compared him to Tyreek Hill. He still has a ways to go to fulfill that lofty comparison and he will need to put on some weight and gain some strength (he already plays with great leg strength), but the base is there to be a really valuable devy asset.
Dorian Singer (WR25) - 2024
Singer was a monster last season for Arizona. Now, the former Wildcat has transferred to USC and will likely be the Trojan’s WR1 in 2023. With Jordan Addison leaving for the NFL Draft, Singer should step in that #1 role seamlessly. His speed, ability to create separation, and strength to outmuscle DBs could vault him towards the top of draft boards come next spring.
Brenden Rice - 2024
The son of the GOAT Jerry Rice, Brenden Rice has the measurables (6’3, 205lbs) and opportunity in 2023 to prove he is talented enough to play at the next level. The former Colorado Buffalo is a likely starting for the Trojans and could make himself a mid-round draft pick with a good season.
Tahj Washington - 2024
Washington has quietly put up solid numbers with USC. In 2 seasons in Los Angeles, the former Memphis Tiger WR has compiled 104 receptions for 1,387 yards and 7 TDs. A solid route runner with good speed, Washington could find himself in the mid-late rounds of next year’s NFL Draft.
Duce Robinson (TE6) - 2026
An elite two sport athlete, Robinson’s future may or may not be in Football. He is also a high end baseball prospect, who could choose to forego his college career if/when he is drafted in the higher rounds of the next MLB draft. As a football player, however, Robinson is truly gifted as a tight end. Blessed with terrific size (6’6, 229lbs), speed, and strength, Robinson is a major matchup nightmare for most defensive players.
Walker Lyons (TE12) - 2026
Not as elite of an athlete as Duce Robinson, Lyons is still plenty athletic. He is a good route runner with enough speed to be dangerous in the open field and enough size (6’5, 235lbs) to out-muscle defenders. As he continues to grow with a proper strength program, Lyons will be a high end draft prospect when he is ready for the NFL Draft in a few years.