Lincoln Riley stunned the college football world when he decided to leave Oklahoma for the head coaching job at USC today. But while the majority of people were busy making jokes about how Riley said he wouldn't be the LSU coach ("no one asked him about USC"), some were focused on what actually matters most, and in college football that's recruiting.
Riley was a strong recruiter at Oklahoma. He's had a Top 15 class each of the last three years and currently has the No. 6 class in 2022.
Of course, recruiting is a fickle game and recruits will often follow a coach if he leaves one program for another. That could be especially true for Riley and USC.
According to Jason Kersey of The Athletic, Riley had secured commitments from three five-star recruits and one four-star recruit from California. It's not hard to image a scenario where all, or at least some, of those players now head to USC.
In fact, Brown already suggested he's ready to flip.
The other players have some more time to make their decision, but the fact is Riley's move will have ripple effects for both Oklahoma and USC. The Sooners have to worry not only about their impending recruits, but their currently group of players might be searching for greener pastures soon too. As for USC, they figure to get an influx of talented players who want to play for Riley.
Riley carries a ton of cache in the recruiting world, having coached Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray to Heisman wins and No. 1 draft picks and helping Jalen Hurts rebuild his resume to the point where he was a second-round pick with the Eagles. All three are current starters in the NFL. Throw in the appeal of playing in Southern California and you have the potential for a quick turnaround for the Trojans.
In-home visits start today (coincidence? I think not) and you can bet Riley is going to be flying around the country trying to get as many Oklahoma recruits as possible to flip to USC. He also has a commitment from five-star defensive lineman Gabriel Brownlow-Dindy in the class of 2022 and nine other four-star recruits. It sounds like Brown might already be ready to stay home and perhaps he can get a few others to join him.
You know Riley is going to try his best to steal some recruits from his former employer and there's reason to believe he'll be successful doing so.