USC beats out Georgia, Alabama on SEC soil for No. 1 recruit in 2026 class

No. 1 ranked quarterback Julian Lewis is shunning his home state and choosing to play football at USC in 2026.
Lincoln Riley, USC Football
Lincoln Riley, USC Football / David Becker/GettyImages

Georgia-born-and-bred top quarterback Julian Lewis has chosen the other coast: he's committing to USC instead and will be the first recruit of the Trojans' 2026 class.

Lewis broke the news to Hayes Fawcett on Tuesday morning.

The Carrollton High School sophomore is currently listed as the top quarterback in the country according to the 247Sports Composite and chose the Trojans over other college football powerhouses including Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, and Oregon.

2026 is still a long ways away, but Lewis is expected to succeed USC five-star recruit Malachi Nelson, who in turn is expected to succeed Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams after the 2023 season.

Lewis cited his main reason for committing to USC: coach Lincoln Riley. Riley, the so-called quarterback whisperer, has coached the likes of Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, Williams, and yes, we suppose Baker Mayfield makes the list, too.

"Coach Riley being the quarterback coach and OC makes USC different than a lot of programs. He’s proven, all he does is turn his quarterbacks into the best players in college football."

Julian Lewis

USC snatch top-ranked QB Julian Lewis from Georgia's grabby hands

It's not like Lewis isn't getting enough competitive training in high school. At Carrollton, Lewis is coached by Joey King, who also took current Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence under his wing.

In Lewis' freshman season, he nearly won the championship in a glorious 4,000-plus passing yard and 48-touchdown campaign.

The general consensus in the nation is that Lewis is cream-of-the-crop elite -- but he can get even better. Lincoln Riley's knack for developing quarterbacks turned out to be the selling point for Lewis, who could technically reclassify to 2025 depending on how the rest of his high school career goes.

Riley has produced three Heisman Trophy winners in six years of coaching and will get his next top young recruit to mold in Lewis in a few years' time. Back when Lewis visited USC, Riley reportedly told Lewis they were going to have "so much fun" together.

Julian Lewis, the Peach State quarterback, snubbing Georgia and the SEC to play somewhere peachier? Sounds like a whole lot of fun indeed.

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