Opportunity to play right away for incoming USC defensive linemen

No. 1 overall recruit Rashan Gary visited USC in January. Miller Safrit/ESPN

National Signing Day is February 3, and as attrition, NFL draft departures and defections continue to shape each team's roster, we'll be looking at the biggest area of need for each team, and what kind of help might be on the horizon on the recruiting trail.


Trojans' biggest area of need: New defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast will be tasked with revamping the defensive line, which loses all three starters -- Antwaun Woods, Delvon Simmons and Greg Townsend Jr. -- and another key piece in Claude Pelon.

The position group is an area the Trojans addressed a year ago, signing five defensive linemen, but there is an immediate need for added depth. USC is expected to return seven scholarship defensive linemen, but only two -- Kenny Bigelow and Malik Dorton -- have been with the program for more than one season and neither of made much of an impact this year.

Noah Jefferson (23 tackles) and Rasheem Green (19 tackles) impressed as true freshmen and are good bets to earn starting jobs next year. It’s hard to say what, exactly, to expect from Kevin Scott and Christian Rector who will come off redshirt seasons, but they’ll be counted on to move into the rotation and the same goes for Jacob Daniel, who appeared in three games as a true freshman. Any defensive linemen USC signs will have the opportunity to earn early playing time. -- Kyle Bonagura

Help is on the way?: ESPN 300 defensive end Oluwole Betiku should have an opportunity to earn playing time as a true freshman, as the 6-foot-4, 246-pound defender has the athleticism to get after the quarterback early in his career. Three-star defensive end Liam Jimmons is scheduled to join Betiku at USC as an early enrollee, while defensive tackle Keyshon Camp is another ESPN 300 prospect who will join the defensive line this fall. The most important prospect still on the board is the most important prospect in the country, as No. 1 overall recruit Rashan Gary took an official visit to USC in January and the Trojans are hoping they can do enough to overcome Michigan, Ole Miss and the other programs in Gary's final group. ESPN 300 defensive tackle Boss Tagaloa, ESPN 300 defensive end Maxs Tupai, ESPN JC 50 defensive end Jonathan Kongbo and four-star defensive end Connor Murphy are all still priority targets as well. -- Erik McKinney