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#pounditThursday, July 18, 2024

Lincoln Riley gets third top recruit to flip from Oklahoma to USC

Lincoln Riley does Fight On sign

One of the reasons the USC Trojans targeted Lincoln Riley as head coach is because he’ll be able to recruit with the heavyweights and attract top talent to the school. So far, Riley is delivering.

Wide receiver Makai Lemon, a five-star recruit in the class of 2023, announced Friday that he would decommit from Oklahoma and follow Riley to USC.

Lemon becomes the third five-star recruit to flip from Oklahoma to USC since Riley’s hiring. 2022 four-star running back Raleek Brown announced Thursday that he would also attend USC, while standout 2023 quarterback prospect Malachi Nelson became the first to make the switch on Tuesday after widespread speculation that he would do so.

Notably, all three players play their high school football in Southern California. Riley had initially succeeded in luring them out of state, then kept them from leaving California after taking the USC job. This is significant, as one of the major criticisms of some of Riley’s predecessors at USC was their inability to keep elite high school players from leaving the state. If Riley can continue to secure commitments from players in the talent-rich region, USC will be nationally relevant again very quickly.

There had been talk that Riley might be able to flip top 2023 wide receiver prospect DeAndre Moore, another Southern California-based recruit who had committed to Oklahoma. Moore has so far made clear, however, that he intends to honor his commitment to the Sooners.

Photo: Nov 29, 2021; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Lincoln Riley poses with Fight on sign during a press conference to introduce Riley as Southern California Trojans head coach. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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