Clay Helton continues to adapt solution with USC Trojans

By RJ Young
FOX Sporting activities Higher education Soccer Author

USC coach Clay Helton has compelled himself to adapt.

Right after relying on a ball-command offense and actual physical protection to guide the Trojans to a No. 3 ranking at the close of the 2016 period, he saw the deterioration of his staff by 2018.

His software misplaced just 6 video games in 2016 and 2017 combined but then lost seven in 2018 on your own. He employed a former head mentor with an Air Raid base to operate his offense in Kliff Kingsbury, only to eliminate him to a head-coaching gig in the NFL in just a few weeks’ time.

No subject. He hired yet another offensive brain with an Air Raid base in Graham Harrell. Then he watched quarterback Kedon Slovis kind an explosive mixture with receiver Michael Pittman.

In 2019, Pittman caught 101 balls for 1,275 yards with 11 TDs in an offense in which top rusher Vavae Malepeai carried the ball just 105 periods.

Following losing his 2nd- and third-major rushers to the portal this spring, Helton expects receiver Drake London to be just as prolific as Pittman — if not far more.

When Helton appears to be at London, he sees Tampa Bay receiver Mike Evans.

“Now, we actually truly feel, to be truthful with you, that Drake’s prospective can [allow him to] line up anyplace. You are going to see him on the outdoors this yr. I actually imagine he’s heading to be extra Mike Evans-ish at the end of the day,” Helton explained on this week’s episode of “The No. 1-Ranked Exhibit.”

“I feel he is going to be Mike Evans. I’ve watched it in the spring where by we’ve moved him outside some, and male, he has been dynamic. I suggest, he is a nightmare.”

The USC offense grew from averaging 26.1 details per game (2018) to 32.5 factors for each sport (2019) to 33.3 points for every video game (2020) and the to start with major-25 finish for the method in three decades.

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Following ending 64th general and useless-past in the Pac-12 in the 247 Composite workforce recruiting rankings in 2020 and shedding the dedication of five-star QB Bryce Youthful to Alabama, Helton overhauled his recruiting department.

The Trojans bounced back again with a No. 7 finish in the 2021 staff rankings, which includes the signing of the No. 1 player in the class and previous Clemson dedicate Korey Foreman.

Now, Helton believes he’s just a couple gamers absent from rounding out a roster that can compete for national titles at the time far more, and he’s adding those people gamers through the transfer portal. One particular of individuals is Colorado transfer and receiver K.D. Nixon, who has averaged 12. yards for every capture for his occupation.

“I imagine of a K.D. Nixon, a 104-reception male from Colorado, that comes on to be ready to bolster our wideouts,” Helton claimed. “I think there’s some pieces that each individual faculty picks to carry in. We have turned into an NFL absolutely free-agent current market, to be genuine with you. And if we have the availability to get to 85, to 85 complete males on scholarships, you’ll choose all those sure males to be able to come in and help your system.”

Clay Helton’s Trojans, with QB Kedon Slovis at the helm, should be explosive via the air in 2021. (Image by Meg Oliphant/Getty Photos)

In the previous 15 decades, faculty soccer has undergone a seismic shift in how players arrive at applications.

The advent of the transfer portal is maybe the greatest of individuals shifts – with however one more nonetheless on the way in identify, image and likeness laws – and it has occur with quite a few unintended repercussions.

Alongside the redshirt rule, which allows FBS players to take part in up to four video games without the need of dropping the capacity to redshirt for the remainder of the year and the recently executed just one-time transfer rule, the transfer portal has develop into a centralized spot for what some have identified as “absolutely free company” in school football.

In this feeling, they are accurate: After a participant notifies the NCAA compliance division at his faculty that he would like to enter it and does, each individual just one of the 129 other FBS programs will know it, far too.

Gamers are usually on the lookout for a new spot, a new start off, for myriad motives. Quite a few have decried these recent rule variations, proclaiming they are damage the integrity of the match and allow for gamers to avoid level of competition and conflict on a loaded depth chart.

Certainly, there is a thrust from some coaches that moms and dads ought to consider a much more lively position in forcing their kid(s) to complete at the school they signed a letter of intent to enjoy for.

“Significant Midday Kickoff” analyst Bob Stoops described the mere thought of transferring absent from Iowa just after his freshman yr a single much too quite a few situations to his father and suffered the verbal effects.

“Experienced I left, who is familiar with where my lifetime goes,” Stoops stated on The No. 1-Ranked Exhibit, “but I certain wouldn’t have had all the opportunities I’ve experienced if I had minimize out of there. So my father supplying me some hard like went together the way. I inspire mom and dad out there, everyone listening: Don’t be frightened to give a very little bit of difficult enjoy after in a whilst if you believe it is required.”

North Carolina coach Mack Brown has taken the reverse strategy for the exact same explanation. Like Stoops, he wants gamers to have a very good time, even if getting fun might indicate no for a longer time actively playing for him.

He asks only that his players talk to him about why they are sad so he can assist them find contentment.

“Let’s have that conversation,” Brown reported on The No. 1-Rated Display. “I am going to phone the coaches. I’ll converse to him. Due to the fact we have stated we want to have exciting, and we want you to be pleased. And if you happen to be not joyful here, let’s not be mad. Let us don’t pout, let us never get offended, let’s discover you the area where by you can be happy. And then we’ll get you in the portal and enable you go where ever you want to go. And that is what we have finished.”

Helton thinks the similar. Just after signing 5-star quarterback JT Daniels in 2019, he viewed him go into the portal and arrive out at Georgia in 2020.

He doesn’t maintain a grudge, and he understands the switching earth of university football for the reason that the occupation is the identical to him, and he’s utilised it not contrary to an NFL standard supervisor.

In spring 2020 by itself, he welcomed 3 former Texas gamers in running back Keaontay Ingram, defensive again Xavion Alford and restricted stop Malcolm Epps from the portal.

“I consider that what schools will do, we will use that transfer portal form of like I try to remember Les Snead did an remarkable task with the Rams a couple a long time in the past,” Helton mentioned.

“They considered about, with them being a playoff group and they required to get the Super Bowl there, they introduced in an Ndamukong Suh. They introduced in Marcus Peters. They introduced in (Aqib) Talib, and just those acquisitions took them from a playoff workforce to a Tremendous Bowl workforce. I assume that is what you might be heading to have to do as we move ahead in this transfer portal.”

The portal may possibly be a harbinger not just of what is to appear for the activity but also for the hopes of USC soccer.

RJ Younger is a national higher education soccer author and analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @RJ_Young. Subscribe to “No. 1 Rated Display w/ RJ Young” on YouTube and where ever you get your podcasts. He is not on a StepMill.


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