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Fact or Fiction: It’s time to panic about USC’s recruiting class

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Rivals national recruiting analyst Greg Smith is joined by rankings director and national transfer portal analyst Adam Friedman, Josh Henschke of and national recruiting director Adam Gorney to tackle three topics and determine whether they believe each statement is FACT or FICTION.

1. Nebraska is a darkhorse contender for David Sanders.

David Sanders Jr.

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Friedman: FACT. I don’t know if I’d call the Huskers “the” darkhorse, but they’re definitely a darkhorse. David Sanders Jr. took an official visit to Nebraska on Mother’s Day weekend, which was a massive surprise at the time. Dylan Raiola has worked very hard to recruit Sanders and he understands what each of the other main contenders for the five-star offensive tackle bring to the table.

Raiola was the top-ranked quarterback in last year‘s class and was committed to Georgia for the majority of the recruiting process but flipped at the 11th hour. Sanders is keeping all of his options open right now, but Ohio State and Tennessee do seem to be leading the pack at the moment. Nebraska has work to do to move up the list before his commitment. But, as we saw last year with Raiola, it’s hard to count Nebraska out until Sanders signs his name on the dotted line.

Smith: FACT. Nebraska is a program currently lurking in the shadows for a lot of top prospects. That’s how I’d describe the pursuit of Sanders at the moment, which would make it a darkhorse contender here.

There are a couple things working in Nebraska’s favor right now that have the Huskers in this race. First, the impact of former five-star quarterback Dylan Raiola. The quarterback has worked hard to keep Sanders’ attention after that official visit and it can be powerful that a high-profile recruit wants you to join him.

Secondly, Nebraska can be competitive when it comes to amenities and NIL. The program just opened a new $150 million facility and its NIL collective is aligned to help make the Huskers the best they can be. Nebraska isn’t leading the race right now but the program shouldn’t just be dismissed either.


2. Michigan is poised to break into the top three of Big Ten recruiting rankings.

Sherrone Moore

RELATED: Michigan soaring Rivals Team Rankings after recent additions

Henschke: FACT. Both Penn State and Rutgers have been recruiting very well in the 2025 cycle but you cannot ignore the average star rating Michigan possesses as its quality over quantity approach has helped the program soar in the rankings of late, without any signs of slowing down, either.

Considering who the Wolverines are still in on, with some decisions still outstanding, expecting Michigan to break into the top three of the Big Ten rankings isn’t as big of a hurdle as it looked to be during May. Positive recruiting momentum can oftentimes be hard to stop once the ball gets rolling.

Smith: FACT. Michigan has caught some criticism early in the Sherrone Moore era for its slow recruiting start. Even though there were some very nice commitments along the way Michigan didn’t have a lot of momentum on the trail.

Landing three four-star prospects in the last couple weeks could be a sign of things to come. Particularly, flipping defensive back Ivan Taylor from Notre Dame has the attention of prospects around the country. Michigan is still in on a lot of quality recruits including four-star offensive lineman Andrew Babalola, who I believe the team leads for right now.

Michigan will pass Rutgers in the rankings before the season starts. Penn State and Wisconsin will be a little tougher to overcome but they don’t have as many highly ranked targets left on the board.


3. It’s time to panic about USC’s recruiting class.

Hylton Stubbs

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Gorney: FICTION. There have been some very difficult decommitments for USC in recent weeks led by Justus Terry, Isaiah Gibson and Hylton Stubbs. Those are three massive prospects to lose in one recruiting class and it has not gone unnoticed but let’s not get too critical or concerned just yet. The No. 1 prospect in the entire Rivals250 – five-star quarterback Julian Lewis – remains committed. So do numerous four-stars and the Trojans have many other elite targets, plus they can utilize the transfer portal to build back at certain positions as well. USC took a shot and landed some major Southeast targets. It didn’t work out but the class is not melting down.

Smith: FACT. It feels very odd to say that the team with the No. 1 prospect in the country committed to it should panic about the class. However, this is a unique case. The recent run of decommitments is very concerning. Not just because Terry, Gibson and Stubbs are good prospects. But they are exactly the types of prospects that USC needs to get back to truly competing at a national level.

The Trojans should reel in other good prospects to replace them. Either in high school or the portal. But there is something to keep an eye on. USC is no longer in the Pac-12 and will face much tougher competition on the field. The program is currently ninth in the conference in recruiting coming out of June where many commits happen. The team does have a good average star rating and not as many commitments as the teams above them.

How USC rebounds from a tough June will be a major storyline as it enters the meat grinder that is the Big Ten Conference.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on, the leader in college football and basketball recruiting coverage. Be the first to know and follow your teams by signing up here.