For whatever hot seat USC coach Clay Helton is sitting on, the Trojans continue to do well on the recruiting trail. USC has the top-ranked class in the Pac-12 and the No. 5 class nationally after the program's latest commitment: four-star athlete Julien Simon.
The 6-foot-2, 221-pound prospect from Tacoma, Washington, gave his public verbal pledge on Sunday -- more than two years after receiving an offer, his first, from the Trojans. Simon is ranked as the No. 4 player in the state of Washington, the No. 5 athlete for the 2021 class and the No. 99 overall prospect for that cycle, per 247Sports composite rankings. He is USC's third-highest rated recruit for 2021.
In an interview with 247Sports, Simon said that he had actually informed USC of his decision in April, but only made his intentions public on Mother's Day. "I actually broke the news to the whole coaching staff on April 26 on a Zoom meeting," Simon said. "The ones that were the first to know were (grad assistant) Michael Hutchings and coach Donté Williams.
"I knew it was the right place for me when I prayed on the decision and had a heart-to-heart conversation with my family about USC," he continued. "After that day, I knew it was the right choice."
Simon could play on either side of the ball, but most likely projects as a versatile defensive player at the college level. According to his scouting report, Simon has "Position versatility, can play linebacker or safety, and can play running back or receiver. Projects best, though, at linebacker, where he can play either inside or outside. Able to diagnose plays with instincts and quickness to jump routes and break on the ball.
"Tremendous ball skills and has high volume of interceptions from his linebacker spot. Can run and get into the backfield and drop the ball-carrier or run stride-for-stride in pass coverage. Able to cover backs, tight ends and receivers. Projects as multi-year Power 5 starter and second day NFL draft pick."