One Week Post National Signing Day: Did USC Take Back The West?

And who finished atop the National Signing Day rankings?
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It's officially been one week since National Signing Day wrapped up and highly coveted recruits revealed their fate for the next few years. 

USC scored again, landing another California prospect in linebacker Raesjon Davis. The Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei commit once was a LSU commit, who also considered Ohio State and others down the stretch. His final ranking in the SI99 was #49.

But was Davis commitment enough to move USC up the ranks for the 2021 recruiting cycle? Sports Illustrated's Recruiting Analyst John Garcia Jr. breaks down who finished atop the list.

"If we are talking individual wins the highest ranked SI99 prospect to make a decision was Tywone Malone the No.16 overall prospect. He signed with Ole Miss over Texas A&M who had a big day in their own right" said Garcia Jr. 

Malone is a big and athletic defensive lineman with positional versatility. He has the size, bulk and strength to 2-gap for a defensive front, yet he also possesses the athleticism and range to factor as a gap-penetrator. 

He plays with a high-hat and must improve his leverage consistency, but offers many interesting traits to work with and develop to reach his high ceiling. Malone can fit as a 5-technique or 4I in a 30-front or 3-technique in a 40-front, while also potentially rushing as a nose tackle in sub-packages as he adds to his toolbox.

Beyond this big win for Lane Kiffin's Rebels, the Michigan Wolverines finished at the top of the 2021 recruiting cycle in Garcia Jr.'s opinion. 

"If we are talking about a program that did the most to move up the rankings, I'm looking at the Michigan Wolverines. They were outside the [SI99] Top 10 as we started the day and they went at it really immediately."

Garcia Jr. went onto mention, "flipping Michigan State defensive tackle commitment Rayshaun Benny and then they flipped a Colorado defensive line commitment Ike Iwunnah out of the state of Texas. Not only did Michigan bolster their defensive line they took talent from other programs to do it including a rival at Michigan State."

Although Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines moved up the ranks, USC remains in the Top 10 for SI All American's recruiting list. The Trojans finished No. 9 in Sports Illustrated's Top 25.

Clay Helton's motto all year long was "take back the west", so the question remains with a 2021 class full of talent, did USC take back the west?

Garcia Jr. believes they are on the right track.

"Its about the state of California and more specifically that Los Angeles metro. Thats where you see USC really dominant. Not only earlier in the cycle with the Miller Moss' of the world but especially late."

Garcia Jr. went on to note, "the close for USC really felt like they took back the west and more importantly California and that Los Angeles metro." 

And this couldn't be more true for the Trojans. They landed three top 2021 prospects in DE Korey Foreman, CB Ceyair Wright, and LB Raesjon Davis


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