Three-star recruit Braylon Conley has chosen to play for USC, a major step in Lincoln Riley’s development of the USC Trojans’ 2024 recruiting class. This marks Riley’s first complete offseason focused on recruiting for USC, and despite the challenging aftermath of the Clay Helton era, USC is once again achieving national recognition under his leadership. USC is steadily approaching the formidable prowess of SEC elites, arguably evidenced by recruiting wins like Braylon Conley from Texas.
Conley, a defensive back from Humble, Texas, committed to the Trojans, choosing them over a slew of SEC teams which included Arkansas, Auburn, Georgia, Missouri, and soon-to-be SEC member, Texas. USC cornerbacks coach and passing game coordinator Donté Williams played a key role in Conley’s recruitment following his visit to the Trojans in May.
Institutional integrity and relationship building are clearly emerging as significant factors in USC’s recruitment. Conley holds a strong relationship with Coach Donté, recognising his expertise and praising USC’s commitment to academic excellence. He points out the importance of his role as a “student before athlete”.
Adding Conley to the mix brings USC’s recruit count to 16 so far for 2024, contributing to their rank as No. 7 overall. However, USC’s readiness to compete in the new league in 2024, parallel to their local rival UCLA, is still a matter of debate. Yet there is faith in Riley and his staff to build a successful team primarily through high school recruitment.
Acquiring a player like Conley who was on the target list of several notable SEC schools is a significant achievement for USC. While it is unclear how serious schools like Auburn and Georgia were about recruiting Conley, Texas indeed missed an opportunity to retain a home state talent. This is the kind of recruitment victory that USC will need to replicate as they continue to ascend.
To maintain their momentum, USC will need to consistently rank within the top five in recruitment. Yet, the significance of such rankings may diminish with the anticipated expansion of the College Football Playoff and the potential for Riley to recruit top quarterbacks. Landing Conley reinforces USC’s national-level recruiting ambitions. Indeed, USC is once again showcasing its commitment to developing a competitive presence in college football.