Jul 29, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; A detailed view of Southern California Trojans helmet during Pac-12 Media Day at Novo Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC flips 5-star Georgia commit Justus Terry, adds to 2025 class

Southern California landed commitments from two prized 2025 defensive line prospects on Sunday.

Five-star Justus Terry, who committed to his home-state Georgia on Jan. 16, 2023, flipped his allegiance to USC. Also selecting the Trojans on Sunday was four-star recruit Isaiah Gibson.

Terry is ranked as the nation’s No. 2 defensive lineman by the 247Sports composite. Gibson is slotted as the No. 8 edge rusher.

Coach Lincoln Riley’s 2025 class now has three commits, with Julian Lewis — the No. 4-ranked quarterback — the other. All three are from Georgia.

Terry, from Manchester, Ga., visited Los Angeles this weekend. He told 247Sports that his decision to decommit from Georgia was a “no-brainer,” citing both coaching and USC’s business school among his reasons.

“Coming from a small town, I wanted to expand my life as much as possible, and I felt like USC is the right place to do that,” he said.

–Field Level Media

Apr 23, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive coordinator Alex Grinch during the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Southern California fires DC Alex Grinch

Southern California fired defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, Yahoo Sports reported Sunday.

The Trojans have lost three of their last four games and tumbled out of the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll Sunday afternoon. The most recent dismal showing was a 52-42 home loss to No. 5 Washington on Saturday night.

The Trojans also allowed 48 points in a loss to Notre Dame, 34 in a defeat to Utah and 49 in a one-point win over Cal.

USC ranks No. 121 among 130 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision in scoring defense, yielding 34.5 points per game. The team is 119th in total defense (436 yards allowed per contest).

Grinch, 43, followed head coach Lincoln Riley from Oklahoma to USC ahead of the 2022 season. He had spent three seasons as the Sooners’ defensive coordinator and was co-defensive coordinator at Ohio State in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley reacts against the Nevada Wolf Pack  in the second half at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Lincoln Riley says Oklahoma fans threatened family’s safety

Southern California coach Lincoln Riley said he was concerned for his family’s safety and hired armed security after announcing he was leaving Oklahoma for the Trojans in November 2021.

Riley said there were numerous break-in attempts at his Oklahoma home, and he received suspicious packages from people he didn’t know.

“Yeah, I had multiple … had a lot of different people trying to break into the house the days after it happened. And 95 percent of the fans and people out there at Oklahoma or anybody else are great,” Riley said on an episode of the YouTube series “In Depth with Graham Bensinger.”

“You typically always have that percentage that at times take it too far,” Riley continued. “Obviously, this was one of those instances.”

Riley had coached the Sooners for five seasons (2017-21), going 55-10 with four consecutive Big 12 titles and three berths in the College Football Playoff.

After Oklahoma’s regular-season loss to rival Oklahoma State on Nov. 27, USC announced Riley as its coach one day later in a stunner for the Sooners and their fans.

The Riley family includes two daughters that were ages 5 and 9 at the time, and the plan was to allow them to finish the fall semester at school in Oklahoma. The break-ins and other incidents, including someone getting access to the older daughter’s cell phone number, changed their plans and the entire family moved to California.

“I told my wife and the couple of people that I confided in the night we made the decision, I told them it’s going to be bad,” Riley said. “A couple of people were like, ‘Well, it’ll be a few hours, a few days, but it’ll blow by.’ I said ‘No, I’ve lived in these shoes. It’s going to be that bad.’ “

The Trojans were 11-3 in his first season in 2022 with losses to Utah in the Pac-12 Championship game and to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl. They are 3-0 this season and ranked No. 5 in The Associated Press and coaches polls.

–Field Level Media

Apr 23, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans defensive coordinator Alex Grinch during the spring game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

USC elects to retain defensive coordinator Alex Grinch

Southern California defensive coordinator Alex Grinch will return to the coaching staff under head coach Lincoln Riley in 2023, despite the Trojans’ issues stopping the ball this past season.

A multitude of miscues, including some on defense, prevented USC from preserving a late 15-point lead in the Cotton Bowl as Tulane rallied for a 46-45 victory at Dallas. But the Trojans’ issues stopping the ball were well known by then.

USC (11-3) advanced to the Pac-12 title game in a season when they gave up 27.9 points per game, which was seventh in the conference. The defense’s 415.1 yards allowed per game also was seventh.

“I know what he’s made of, I just do,” Riley said in explaining his decision Tuesday to retain Grinch. “I know what’s getting ready to happen defensively. And so, I just have a confidence and a belief there, not just in Alex, but the other guys in the room.”

Utah scored 90 total points in two games against USC, defeating the Trojans twice, including a 47-24 victory in the conference title game to earn a spot in the Rose Bowl. In USC’s three defeats, it gave up an average of 45.3 points, and that total does not include the 45 it allowed to rival UCLA in an eventual victory.

Grinch, 42, also was the defensive coordinator with Riley at Oklahoma before making the move to Los Angeles in 2022. He previously served as defensive coordinator at Ohio State (2018) and Washington State (2015-17).

“I’ve been through it enough with that guy to know, don’t bet against him,” Riley said of Grinch. “Anybody in a situation like that, where we know we need to take a big jump in all areas … (and) we need to own and fix the things we didn’t do well.”

Riley will not make any changes from the 2022 coaching staff outside of making Luke Huard the full-time inside receivers coach after he was in the position on an interim basis last season.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma State fans hold up newspapers with a picture of former OU football coach Lincoln Riley during Oklahoma's introduction before a Bedlam basketball game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022.

Bedlam Basketball

Lincoln Riley asserts he didn’t poach Oklahoma players

New Southern California coach Lincoln Riley said Tuesday that he didn’t bring any players from Oklahoma with him to Los Angeles — he got them from the transfer portal.

Riley made the comments during an interview on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd.”

Cowherd asked Riley if it was sensitive bringing OU transfers Caleb Williams, wide receiver Mario Williams and cornerback Latrell McCutchin to the Trojans.

Riley agreed that it was, but that he didn’t.

“We didn’t take players from Oklahoma. We took players from the transfer portal,” Riley told Cowherd. “Those players and their families had to make a decision to either stay at that university, just like any other player has to make, or to enter the portal where then they can be recruited by anybody in the country. That’s up to those players and their families and we have nothing to do with that.

“But once a player gets into a portal where they are open to any school in the country, we would be crazy not to take a look at and try to help our football team,” Riley went on. “All of a sudden they were good enough for us to take at Oklahoma, but now we wouldn’t give them a chance just because we’re in a new spot? That part never really made sense to me.”

Caleb Williams took over the starting job six games into the 2021 season under Riley at OU and finished the season with 1,912 passing yards and 21 touchdowns against four interceptions. Williams rushed for another 442 yards, scoring six touchdowns.

When he first entered the portal, Williams’ father, Carl Williams, said the quarterback “doesn’t have a destination” picked out.

Mario Williams, who is unrelated to Caleb, caught 35 passes for 380 yards and four TDs as a freshman in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Helmets sit on the field before an NCAA football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the TCU Horned Frogs at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. Oklahoma won 28-24. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

Another blue-chip prospect decommits from Oklahoma

DeAndre Moore Jr., one of the top wide receivers in the Class of 2023, decommitted from Oklahoma.

The four-star prospect is the sixth player from the class to decommit from the Sooners since former coach Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma in late November to take the head-coaching job at Southern California.

Six more players in the Class of 2022 also decommitted since Riley’s exit.

Moore plays at talent-rich Los Alamitos High School, just about 25 miles from USC, so a reunion with Riley there could be in the offing. Already a pair of five-star high school teammates — quarterback Malachi Nelson and wide receiver Makai Lemon — switched their commitments from the Sooners to the Trojans.

The 6-foot, 185-pound Moore announced his decision Monday on Twitter.

“Sooner Nation has been nothing short of great and I’m thankful for the love all of you showed,” he posted.

“With that being said, I am reopening my recruitment and de-committing from The University of Oklahoma.

Moore is ranked as the No. 4 wide receiver and No. 48 overall player by the 247Sports composite.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes wide receiver Brenden Rice (2) carries the ball in the second quarter against the Oregon State Beavers  at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

WR Brenden Rice, son of Jerry Rice, transfers to USC

Former Colorado wide receiver Brenden Rice, the son of legendary receiver Jerry Rice, announced Tuesday that he will transfer to Southern California.

Rice grabbed 21 receptions for 299 yards in 2021, the Buffaloes’ second-leading receiver in both categories. He led Colorado with three receiving touchdowns.

In two collegiate seasons, Rice has recorded 27 catches for 419 yards and five touchdowns. He was a three-star recruit coming out of high school.

USC hired Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley last month, leaving the Trojans to rely on the transfer portal to build a new recruiting class. Riley enticed one of his former Sooners, wide receiver Mario Williams, to transfer to USC.

He also flipped Class of 2022 running back Raleek Brown, Class of 2023 quarterback Malachi Nelson and 2023 wide receiver Makai Lemon — all five-star recruits in 247Sports’ Composite rankings — from the Sooners to the Trojans.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Spencer Rattler (7) talks with head coach Lincoln Riley before the game against the Kansas Jayhawks at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler leaving, 6 commits change mind

Quarterback Spencer Rattler said Monday he’s transferring from Oklahoma, and six high school recruits also have decommitted from the program since head coach Lincoln Riley announced he accepted the same job at Southern California.

The announcement from Rattler — who opened the season as the Heisman Trophy favorite and later was benched — was not unexpected. But now, just 16 days before the early national signing period begins, Oklahoma finds itself down three commits from the 2022 class and three more from 2023.

Bowing out of their 2022 commitments are linebacker Kobie McKinzie and offensive lineman Demetrius Hunter, both from Texas, as well as defensive lineman Derrick Moore from Baltimore. The 247Sports composite ranks all three in the top 20 at their positions.

The hits are even more significant in the 2023 class for the Sooners.

Quarterback Malachi Nelson, the No. 2 quarterback and No. 2 player in the nation, decommitted and could follow Riley to USC. He’s a local product from Los Alamitos, Calif., and behind only Arch Manning — nephew of Peyton and Eli — in the player rankings.

Also backing off the pledge to Oklahoma were a pair of Floridians — Brandon Inniss, the No. 1 wide receiver and No. 9 player in the 2023 class, and running back Treyaun Webb, who is ranked No. 5 at his position and No. 96 overall.

“In light of the recent events and changes, my family and I believe it’s best if I de-commit from OU at this time,” Nelson posted to Twitter. “I want to thank all the Sooner fans for the relentless love and support they’ve shown.”

In his statement posted to Twitter, Rattler made no specific mention of Riley, instead simply stating he’d be entering the transfer portal to pursue his academic and athletic career elsewhere.

“Sooner Nation: Thank you for allowing me to be a student-athlete at this prestigious institution,” he wrote while briefly thanking teammates and coaches. “We won several games together and made memories that I will cherish forever.”

“Thank you again, Oklahoma,” he ended his statement. “I will miss you.”

Rattler, an Arizona native, started all 11 games as a redshirt freshman in 2020 and was a first-team All-Big 12 selection. He threw for 3,031 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

In the Oct. 9 game against Texas, however, he was benched and never regained his starting job.

He will have three years of eligibility remaining, though he also is eligible to enter the NFL draft in 2022.

–Field Level Media

OU coach Lincoln Riley says he was out Tuesday dealing with a personal matter.

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Southern Cal hires Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma

Lincoln Riley, the accomplished head coach at the University of Oklahoma, is leaving the Sooners to become the next head coach at Southern California, per multiple media reports.

Riley informed his staff Sunday.

Riley, 38, excelled as an assistant coach at Texas Tech and East Carolina before being hired as Oklahoma’s offensive coordinator in 2015. He inherited the top job at the Oklahoma program when former coach Bob Stoops retired in June 2017.

The Sooners rolled to a 12-2 record and the College Football Playoff in his first season, losing to Georgia in the semifinals at the Rose Bowl 54-48 in double overtime.

Oklahoma made two more playoff appearances during his tenure and won four straight Big 12 championships, as Riley accumulated a 55-10 record in five seasons.

Riley led the Sooners to a 10-2 record and third-place finish in the Big 12 in 2020.

The Trojans job came open when USC athletic director Mike Bohn fired Clay Helton on Sept. 13, two days after Southern Cal was wrecked 42-28 by Stanford, which is now 3-9.

Helton went 46-24 at USC, with multiple seasons of double-digit wins, but the program had slipped in recent years. USC is just 4-7 this year.

The move comes as a bombshell in the sport, not only because of its high-profile nature, but also because Riley had cut off questioning about a potential move to LSU Saturday night by saying in part, “I’m not going to be the next coach at LSU. Next question.”

Those LSU rumors ended up being a smokescreen for this move, with USC not being listed as a likely destination for Riley during its own head coaching search.

ESPN is reporting that Oklahoma will pursue Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury for its vacancy.

–Field Level Media

Seth McGowan played in eight games for the Sooners last season as a freshman, rushing for 370 yards and three touchdowns.

seth mcgowan

WR Trejan Bridges, RB Seth McGowan out at Oklahoma

Wide receiver Trejan Bridges and running back Seth McGowan, suspects in an alleged armed robbery, won’t be returning to the Oklahoma football team, coach Lincoln Riley confirmed.

“They’re not members of our program anymore,” Riley said Thursday. “We wish them the very best going forward.”

Police in Norman, Okla., said last week that they were investigating the players in connection with an alleged armed robbery on April 15. In searching Bridges’ apartment the following day, they discovered a Glock .45-caliber handgun, loaded magazines, a bag of what appeared to be marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to a police affidavit obtained by The Athletic.

No charges have been filed.

Oklahoma announced the suspension of two unidentified players on April 16.

According to the affidavit, the alleged victim said McGowan sent him a message via social media asking to buy marijuana from him but was refused. The alleged victim said McGowan then came to his apartment, followed by Bridges and another man, and Bridges hit him with a gun, kicked him and threatened to kill him. The third man ransacked a bedroom and stole a backpack, per The Athletic.

Both Bridges (Class of 2019) and McGowan (2020) were four-star recruits coming out of high school in Texas, according to the 247Sports composite.

In 15 games over two seasons with the Sooners, Bridges caught nine passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns. McGowan had 571 total yards and scored four touchdowns in eight games as a freshman.

–Field Level Media